tonight, somewhere between getting off at central square and walking back to my place home for dinner, i knew i wanted to stop by a grocery-like place to replenish my supply of rice vinegar (everyone's pantry necessity, right?) and other tasty vittles. usually when i barrel down prospect street, the adorable little japanese supermarket yoshinoya is already closed for the evening. however, tonight it was before 8pm so it was still open, bright and yellow and with lucky white cat waving. i haven't been in yoshinoya for ages (usually i go to super 88 for asian schtuff) but it was worth a little aisle spree (finding delight in the requisite men's pocky and hello kitty candy). i felt like a kid in a fried-beancurd-bites-kimchee-greentea-icecream-squidink-ramen-wasabi-fishball store.
when i got to the shelf with the vinegar, i stopped in my tracks. bottles as far as the eye can see, of various soup bases, dressings, marinades, sauces, and add-ins. i think the japanese have as many variations on how to incorporate msg into your diet as the average american convenience store has types of toothpaste. it's just mind-bogglingly overwhelming in array of brand, flavor, size, and cuteness of mascot. i wish there were a way i could have a taste of each of the types of bottled goodnesses. america just has... ketchup. and maybe a number of fruity jams. but all these salty sauces appear so different! rice-based! garlicky! with beans! my mind raced as my tongue fainted.
then i wondered why there arent more aggressive try-before-you-buy type of marketing. i mean, especially with foodstuffs, you really can't judge it upon appearance alone (although, as we all know, appearance does count for something). i stood stymied in that aisle for like ten minutes, wishing so desperately that i could have a teaspoon of each to try. can't they put out packets, a la ketchup at fast food places? is that too tacky? too cost-prohibitive? too risky to give away for free? i wonder if there are any restaurants that provide an option to have a small bite of everything on the menu -- so that next time you know what full dishes to order for yourself. i suppose it's like buying a music sampler with 30 seconds of each track so you know which artist/song you like. except you can always listen to more music, and not necessary eat more stuff. the ingestion of food, especially, knows no second chances.
food is risky.
i turned the corner and found the aisle with a bazillion types of dry seasonings and spices and cute plastic vials which indicated their functionality with catchy colorful illustrations. so irresistible, yet so intimidating. each so small, like $4 each, and so many types. can. not. decide. this is so indicative of my personality; i'm hard-pressed to choose from a selection if i'm not 100% sure that i will take home the best choice. and so i continue churning in my infinite loop until the system crashes.
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links of the day:
fashion-incubator.com :: lessons from the sustainable factory floor (thanks kathleen!)
twink.net :: the toy piano band! (via peter)
the dot and the line :: a romance in lower mathematics (soooo cute)
and pic of the (coupledaysago) day, just because:
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don't ask my why i waited until now to share some photographs from christmas. it's part of my blog-neglect therapy. please accept as a cathartic measure.
here's my sister and mom in dallas, strutting in the christmas scarves i knit for them. the one on the left is the corkscrew scarf from loop-de-loop in berroco quest (a robot muppet), and the one of the right is a leaf scarf motif thingy from a past issue of vogue knitting in jo sharp silkroad ultra (luscious!). they really loved them, especially my mom after i told her it was cashmere, wool, and silk! the pic of my sister is at the nasher sculpture gallery (v. cool place) and my mom is posing in the dallas-fort worth airport (n.v. cool place). and, of course, niknak and i at his parents' place in portland. christmas party with tree and trimmings and the whole shebang. can you believe all of this holiday business was less than a month ago? whoa.
for new year's weekend we made an impromptu spree to the berkshires (what? we're six months late for tanglewood?) to ring in the new year with some cool, clean, contemporary art. massMoCA, to be precise. lots of picturesque snow, a fantassssttttic nye dinner at cafe latino (i remember eating there when it was eleven!), and some romantic (in a little zipcar mazda 3 hatchback amidst snow-tired 4x4 trucks) driving through the picturesque, albeit excitingly icy, mountains of southern vermont. how i wish to be back among the snow and the art and the warmth of a friendly black dog.