There used to be a game show called Supermarket Sweep where the contestants ran around a supermarket throwing items into their carts while under the clock. I think the idea was to pick up the most expensive items so that they would win the value of the cart. For some reason, this always fascinated me.
I have a fantasy (several, actually) that reminds me of that show, only mine involves being given a certain sum of money to spend in a certain amount of time. Let’s say $100 in seven minutes. Where would you go?
Here are my local Bucks County food shopping fantasies.
Hoagies, salami, cheese, pasta and, of course, cannolis
Altomonte’s. I’d head straight to the back to order some hoagies to-go, then over to the cheese department focusing on the Italian cheeses because Altomonte’s has the best selection. Then pick up all the salami and sopressata I could get my hands on.
Next, I’d go to the frozen section and stock up on their homemade sauces, and then pick up some fresh bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta, some cannolis, and by then the hoagies should be ready. I’m sure I’d find a few more things along the way.
Lots of meat, please
This would be a little more involved, and would cost more than $100, but if someone wanted to bankroll me, I’d do the Meat Alley road trip. First stop, Haring Brothers, to pick up some strip steaks, bacon, ground beef, country style ribs, and a whole assortment of sausages. If I put my order in as soon as I arrived, I could easily assemble the rest in under 7 minutes. Oh, and I’d also throw in one or two of the Forschner knives they sell on the side shelves. Okay, so I’m definitely past the $100 limit.
Another meat stop would be Gerome’s Sausage in Levittown. First order the sausage—whatever is fresh that day, but hopefully Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone, Garlic, Wine, & Romano and their sweet Italian sausage (here’s a full listing of the sausages they make). Then I would head over to the cold case and pull out as many boxes of their homemade ravioli that I could fit in my arms. Some of my favorite flavors are Fresh Basil & Garlic (in a tomato basil dough), Sundried Tomato, and Vidalia Onion and Mushroom. Each has 12 jumbo ravioli. Dinner is done!
Indian food galore
Now here are a couple of supermarkets to run around in with a cart! I love Indian food, and I love going to specialty ethnic stores because I find all kinds of different food stuffs.
Besides buying staples like basmati rice in bulk (but which brand? There are so many!), you can find different kinds of chutneys and other Indian condiments, fresh produce, spices, and curry and biryani easy-to-make mixes.
My favorite is all the Indian frozen entrees. They are inexpensive and are great for a quick lunch. Last trip I stocked up on Aloo Tiki, a kind of potato pancake, Paneer Pakoda, and two of my favorite Indian breads—Puri and Gujarati Roti.
My favorite place in the world
I’m now going to share with you my all-time food shopping fantasy. It goes like this: a friend comes to me—someone with a very comfortable living—and says,
“We’re having a big wine and cheese party but we don’t know a thing about cheese. Could you come to Wegmans and help us pick out a good, interesting selection?”
Yes! I say. I’m your girl. No budget, you say? Even better.
Let’s start with the blue cheeses, picking out a sharp one and a mild one (and maybe one or two “in-between”). A couple of cheddars, both from the US and abroad. Some triple crème and rich bries. A cave-aged gruyere, of course, a Bucheron and maybe a Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog.
Something smoked—like a fresh mozzarella ball or a Gouda—because a lot of people like smoked stuff. Add to the cart this wonderful mixture that Wegmans’ Cheese Department makes called Caramel Pecan Topping, which is especially good over a Saga Blue, mixing the sweet and sharp. Okay, so maybe it would take longer than 7 minutes but when you’re having fun, time flies, no?
Share your food shopping fantasies! Feel free to add comments below.