Friday, January 13, 2012

The Idiot's Guide to the Supermercado

Jerry hadn't been feeling well for a few days. Thankfully, he's much better today.  There's a stomach bug going around and he appears to have had it. Among Jerry's many strengths and assets, the ability to cope with illness and/or injury (however minor) is not one. And he sees no point in suffering if he has to do it silently. Some years ago, Jerry had a very clever doctor who told him he had a catastrophic imagination. But, like everything else to do with Jerry, he can laugh at himself.  Maybe not when he's suffering the permanently debilitating effects of a stubbed toe ("It's severely broken! I know it!"), but eventually — once the toe has miraculously healed — he will laugh at himself.

Before Jerry and I met, when he was still in his 20s and living in Seattle, Washington, he "very seriously" (his words) sliced his finger "nearly off" (again, his words) while preparing dinner. He quickly rinsed the wound and then bound it tightly in a dish towel, maintaining constant pressure. He then called a friend and told him he needed to be rushed to the emergency room. When he arrived at the hospital he told the intake nurse what had happened and she carefully unwrapped the towel. They couldn't find a wound. They couldn't even find a tightly sealed seam.

"Well, let me see," Jerry said as he perused his digits, "I'm pretty sure it was this finger."

The nurse smiled and said, "I think you'll live." She then asked if he would like her to put a Band-Aid on it. Of course, he said, "yes."

But, as usual, I digress. The point of this post was to share with you my trip to the supermarket. As you by now probably already know, I do not like to cook. As you also probably already know, in my world, putting a teabag in a cup of microwaved water qualifies as cooking. So, when Jerry is feeling under the weather, if he wants a nice bowl of chicken soup, he's probably going to be making it himself. Unless he's got some in the freezer. I can rise to the occasion and reheat if absolutely necessary.


So, as I mentioned, Jerry hadn't been feeling well.  He knew some home-made chicken soup would help. But, he gave our last container of chicken soup to Teré the other day when she wasn't feeling well. He told me last night he would make some fresh chicken soup if I wouldn't mind going to the supermarket. Of course I was only too glad to go. It was the least I could do — well, sadly, it was the most I could do, truth be told.

What you may not appreciate is that, for me, going to the supermarket is just barely one tiny step away from cooking. I did become proficient at grocery shopping in Irvine (always with a very specific list from Jerry), but I have done very little of it here. Jerry knows his way around the supermarket at El Corte Inglés. I do not. He has also learned many more of the Spanish names for the products than I have, such as "nabo" for turnip. I told Jerry to make a list and I would get whatever he needed. He ended up writing a grocery list ... and drawing a letter-coded map of the store.

All I needed was a tag pinned to my snow suit (right next to my mittens), "My name is Mitchell. If lost, please return me to..." Anyway, there's no way I ever would have found the chicken broth... or the turnips.



  1. Tell him that they were all sold out apart from the packaged sandwiches section... ;-)

    My stomach taught me how to cook - it snarled and I started giving it combinations of things to keep it quiet!

  2. Okay, I'll confess.
    I'm a Jerry.
    This bit "a very clever doctor who told him he had a catastrophic imagination" is cso completely me, that I will make it a point not to show Carlos this post--I show him nearly all your posts.
    Also, Jerry's detailed list and map of the store?
    When Carlos goes without me, I give him such detailed instructions, it would almost be better if I go instead!

    Too, too funny.

  3. The Owl Wood:
    My stomach taught me how to eat in restaurants, order take-out, and to buy microwave meals and frozen pizzas.

  4. Bob:
    Well, everyone should be lucky enough to have a Jerry or a Bob in their lives.

  5. as always your post bring a smile :)

    Monkey Man ;)

  6. Monkey Man:
    Salud and thanks for stopping by! (Your photo looks so familiar...)

  7. Replies
      I sure hope to and I hope you'll do the same!

  8. OMG I am in hysterics!! "1 bunch celery - 1 bunch has usually 2 celery with all the leaves" I can't stop laughing. Bear thinks I have lost it. Priceless!! I think I may have peed my pants, but it was so worth it! I heart Jerry!!!!!

    1. Nubian:
      In Irvine, Jerry once wrote on the list "one box of sliced mushrooms" instead of saying what kind of mushrooms he wanted. They had stopped packaging those mushrooms in a box and had bagged them. I bought Porterhouse-Steak-sized Portobello mushrooms because they were the only sliced ones in a box. I need specifics.

  9. What? No little drawings of celery, onions, carrots, or chicken breasts? How ever did you identify your quarry?

  10. Walt the Fourth:
    I can at least tell a carrot from a chicken breast (usually). But, the onions were a challenge; they had different sizes in net bags.

  11. Hey, I can so relate to Jerry's injuries!! Poor guy.....I KNOW that pain buddy and I am with you ALL THE WAY!!!
    That soup does look good! I use my grandmother's recipe too but have updated and refined it somewhat.
    Hope you are both feeling better after a very hectic week. Here's to a great weekend for you both!

    1. Jim:
      Another catastrophic imagination? Poor Ron!

      Jerry made this chicken soup for The Dowager Duchess when we were in NYC last month. I think she liked it better when he made her mother's recipe. She said, "Well, Jerry, this really isn't chicken soup. It's potato and vegetable soup... with chicken."

      Jerry is feeling so much better. Thanks. I have my moments.

    2. And I'm very fortunate to have a Fritz in my life, but in our case we're both cooks, we food shop together, and we like trying out recipes on each other. In many ways the kitchen is the heart of our home.

  12. Nah...not a stomach bug at all, perhaps he overdosed on churros con chocolate.


    1. Raulito:
      Jerry might argue that it was not an OD but withdrawal from churros y chocolate. We haven't been there in well over a week.

  13. Is it terrible to say that I much prefer Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup when I am sick to Bing's homemade soup?

    And tell me about having a spouse who um...overreacts when ill. True story: Bing came to me last year with a stricken look on her face. "Honey, can you take a look at something?" I said sure. I'm crazy that way and because I am in the medical profession, I am always asked to look at something when I am with family or friends.

    She showed me a small bump in her armpit. Her lip quivered. "I guess I should have it looked at, yes? Maybe get a biopsy?"

    It was an ingrown hair.

    1. I've never even heard of Mrs. Grass Chicken Noodle Soup. It must be very high-end, exclusive, and chic.

      It sounds to me like Bing and Jerry might be related. The cure for a panic-inducing cancerous-looking growth on the arm? Just brush off the potato chip crumb.

  14. I hope after all that enormous effort by Jerry, the list and the map that is, you did the shopping successfully and that the soup was made and hat now Jerry is feeling well by now.

    1. the cuby poet:
      Jerry cooked up an excellent pot of soup and has been feeling better for a couple of days. Thanks! (And I now know my way around the supermercado at El Corte Inglés.)


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