I know it’s been a couple weeks (I’m beginning to sense a trend), but it’s taken me this long to get over the incident. Still, I’ve heard that, for many, writing things down and expressing one’s feelings is often very cathartic. Alas, this won’t be a very long or remotely profound post, but I will try and share my experience nonetheless.
Two weeks ago, I was robbed. It was the night of the Game of Thrones Season Three finale, and Wilf and I were headed to our friend Fred’s house to make fish tacos and partake in the epic television event. I realized en route however, that we had forgotten to buy a cabbage, so I decided to quickly run into Choices to pick one up. Once inside, I jogged over to the produce, sorted through the pile of shiny purple cabbages until I found the prettiest one, and quickly proceeded to the checkout. Which is where it happened. Completely out of nowhere, the cashier turned to me, smiling, and said, “$7.72”.
I froze. $7.72? Is that normal? Did I accidentally grab a package of fois gras? The Rosetta Stone? No, it definitely looks like a cabbage. Wait, are those amethyst crystals on the leaves? Of course while these panicked thoughts were rapidly passing through my mind, my body was calmly reacting to the situation. In the type of slow motion that befits The Matrix series, I saw myself reaching into my purse and pulling out my wallet. “Debit, please”.
Debit, please? Are you kidding? You’re about to pay nearly $8 for a Brassica. You could buy a sandwich from Meat & Bread instead. Tell her you don’t want it. Just tell her! But there I was: chip inserted, pin entered, account selected…transaction completed. The $5 bill that I was hoping to use (and get change for coffee) remained untouched as I took my card and shut my wallet back up. I turned to leave but— just to dig the knife in a little deeper— she asked, “receipt?”. In hindsight, I should have taken it. One: because I’m pretty sure that no one will actually believe this story, and two: as a souvenir from the most pathetic moment of my life. But no, I just stared at her in shock, shook my head, grabbed my roughage, and left.
I was visibly distressed upon returning to the car. However, being a fisheries economist, Wilf tried to cheer me up (a.k.a., add further insult to injury) by analyzing the situation in abstract theories of supply and demand. Apparently, my choice could easily be explained in terms of premiums and opportunity costs because, subconsciously, I knew that I wasn’t just paying for a cabbage. Rather, I was paying for the ideals associated with buying a product from a local company that is, “committed to customers, communities, and planet”. And so the cabbage represented much more than a simple vegetable. He further explained to me that my decision was largely influenced by the time constraint of being in transit, and that I valued the immediacy of the cabbage more than the time it would take to go to Safeway (“Ingredients for Life”) and buy one for less. He also slipped in something about my desire to have a pretty purple (expensive) one rather than a simple green (cheap) one, but I ignored that part. In fact, I was having none of it, and spent the rest of the drive staring out the window thinking about all the people who think it’s normal when their grocery bill includes a $7.72 purple cabbage.
What is particularly painful about this whole ordeal is that I don’t even really like cabbage. Well, I don’t dislike it, and I think it’s nice that it adds some colour and a bit of crunch to the tacos, but I would never just sit and eat a bowl of cabbage. In fact, if I went the rest of my life without ever consuming another purple cabbage, I think I’d probably be just fine. Because aside from tacos, I don’t use it in any other dishes, and I’m more of a Fresh Express Tender Ruby Reds kind of girl when it comes to salads. Anyway, there we were, post-taco dinner with nearly 3/4 of the Holy Grail left over and no clue what to do with it. Normally, I would have left it with Fred who, being both French and an excellent cook, would have more than capable of finding a delicious use for it. Unfortunately, he was leaving the following day for a conference in France, so Wilf and I were stuck with it.
Ten days later and the cabbage was still in the fridge. It was at this time that we figured we should probably try and do something with it (other than moving it around to make space for other groceries), as the greatest injustice of all would be to ignore it and let it wilt. Luckily, I am a firm believer that if you have at least three vegetables or fruits, and 1/4 cup of nuts, pretty much anything can be turned into a side dish. (It is a known fact, that the majority of my original recipes contain the term “surprise”.) Anyway, this is what I made:
Gold Digger Cabbage Surprise
- 1/2 red cabbage (hopefully not bought for more than $6/kilo)
- 1 cup pineapple, in chunks
- 1/2 medium sized onion (I used yellow because that’s what we had, but I’m sure a red one would also do the trick), sliced
- 1/3 cup pecans, toasted
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed and seasoned with paprika, salt, and pepper
1) Put the diced sweet potato on a pan, add a shake of olive oil, and bake it at 400 ºF for about 40 minutes. If it’s not tender at this point, put it back in until it is.
2) About 30 minutes after you put the sweet potato in the oven, toss the pineapple chunks and the onion in a frying pan on medium and let them cook together until the sweet potato is done.
3) Add the roasted sweet potato to the frying pan, along with the cabbage and the pecans, and cook everything together for another 7-10 minutes. (Don’t forget to turn off the oven…)
4) Serve as a side with something delicious like BBQ’d salmon or jerk chicken.
Yeah so it’s pretty straight forward. And it tasted really good. So now we only have 1/4 cabbage left…