A Link A Day

I usually refrain from just madly linking to other sites en masse, but there were a few links that have come up in the past few days that are too good not to share.  Enjoy!

  • AIEEEEE!!!  Through January 31st, Amazon is having a ginormous sale on Le Creuset right now!  And if you buy at least $159 worth of merchandise, they’ll throw in this handy spatula set in its own, adorable Le Creuset utensil crock — for free!  It’s normally $69, but for you?  Free!  Cute, thrifty and useful: three of my favorite words.  Le Creuset makes some of the best cookware in the world, so if you’ve been saving your pennies and waiting for a good time to buy, that time is now.

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    This darling, nearly-seven quart French oven is marked down from $295 to $219.  And it comes in a range of other colors.  Madness!

  • The Onion‘s A.V. Club has a new interview with everyone’s favorite bad-boy chef: Anthony Bourdain.  It’s long and winding and terrific fun to read.  Some nuggets of wisdom:

    Anything that improves people’s expectations of a meal is good for the world. Anything that weans even one kid or one adult away from Chili’s or T.G.I. Friday’s is definitely a win for the good guys.

    Thanks to Alison Cook for the original link on her blog.

  • An article on The Dogs of Pohnpei, in which a volunteer English teacher on a tiny, Pacific island is offered a true delicacy by one of his students: roast dog.  Does he accept this offering and eat the dog meat?  Read the fascinating article to find out.
  • And, finally, a hilarious recounting of one man’s mission to visit and drink a beverage from all 171 Starbucks stores in Manhattan in one 24 hour period.  Did he succeed?  More importantly, should a brave soul attempt this feat in Houston?  According to Starbucks’ website, there are at least 170 stores with a Houston address.  This doesn’t, however, include stores in Sugar Land, Missouri City, Kingwood, Cypress, Katy, Clear Lake, Pearland, Pasadena, etc.  And, frankly, 170 still seems like a pretty low number considering that the shopping center across the street from our neighborhood has three separate Starbucks in it…

Both of the last two links were provided by commenter Callie, but were tucked away in the comments sections of two different blog entries.  So here they are, reunited and available for all to enjoy!

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Why I Try Not To Shop At Randall’s

Or:  Why Safeway Sucks And I Want Randall Onstead Back

I had to stop by Randall’s last night on my way home, as we were out of milk and spaghetti noodles (two things which go way too fast in a household with only two people…hmm).  It was 6:30 and, inevitably, only three lanes were open for the dinnertime rush.  I got into the “Express Lane,” which never does quite live up to its moniker.

The cashier must have been new.  New or mentally-challenged.  I’m not entirely sure.  Either way, her consternation with the customer in front of me was hilarious.

Cashier (confusedly holding up a bag of tiny, pearlescent, orange fruit):  How you call?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Ah, yes.  Those are kumquats!

Cashier:  Con-kwass?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Yes, kumquats.

Cashier (visibly frustrated):  Con-kwass???

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Yes, kumquats.  With a “k.”  They’re a citrus fruit.

Cashier:  Ehhhh…..  How you say?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  KUM-QUATS.  K-U-M-Q-U-A-T-S.  KUM-QUATS.

Cashier:  I don’t know.

At this point, she sets them down and looks incredibly frustrated.  She stares around for a bit, as if trying to remember what her training manual said in Chapter 8:  When You Don’t Know What A Particular Fruit Or Vegetable Item Is, And How To Overcome This Predicament.  Her memory must have been failing her.

Cashier:  How much?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  I believe with my Randall’s card they were $3.49 a pound.

Cashier:  How much?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  $3.49 a pound.

Cashier:  Uh, okay.  I no have code.

Here is where it got really good.  Instead of calling a manager or fellow cashier for assistance, she proceeded to rip out the page from the produce code book in front of her and thrust it towards the kumquat man.

Cashier:  Here.  You find.

Jovial Middle-Aged Man (scanning the sheet):  Ah, let’s see…  K.  Kumquats.  Here they are.  The code is 40439.

Cashier:  Okay, give back.

As she enters the code enter her register, the kumquat man begins ruminating to her about his bag of fruit, which has now held the rest of us in the “Express Lane” for about ten minutes.

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  You know, kumquats are of the subgenus Fortunella in the Rutacaea family.  They’re related to oranges and grapefruits.  And they’re in the Sapindales order, which also makes them related to chestnuts!  Would you believe that?

Cashier (staring at him blankly):  Ehhhh…..   You total $34.17.

These two people couldn’t have been a more perfect paradox:

Kumquat Man, the jolly, amateur botanist, eager to buy his fruits and share his wisdom with the world.

And Cashier Woman, hating her job and all of the Kumquat Men that came with it, and with absolutely no interest in learning English or checking people out at the grocery store, let alone learning about some fruit she’s never seen before and will hopefully never see again.