Friday, December 5, 2008
Yesterday at the grocery store a college-age boy was standing in the produce section looking confused. When I smiled at him he stopped me and asked me to help him. "I'm supposed to get parsley and rosemary," he said, "but I don't really know what I'm looking for."
It might have just been a line, but he really did seem confused. I showed him the (hideously expensive) prepackaged rosemary, labeled "Rosemary," and he said "Oh!" and nodded. But when I pointed out the parsley, he furrowed his brow. He reached out for a bunch, then drew his hand back. "This is cilantro right next to it," I said. "Don't get that." He looked at me, then back at the parsley. "Thanks," he said.
When I left the produce area he was -- I kid you not -- holding a bunch of parsley in one hand, staring at it, and scratching the back of his head with the other hand.
I wish I'd asked him what he was making (or who he was shopping for). Maybe he'd been told to get flat-leaf parsley, and they only had curly. Maybe he was high.
At a time when gourmet cooking and food snobbery is pushed on even the unwilling, it was kind of neat to remember that not everybody knows the same things. You and I could tell cilantro from parsley at fifty paces. That kid could not. So what? I wish I could make him dinner.