Hello!

Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shopping Survival and Three Elegant Snacks

Here is a challenge of Epic proportions: accomplishing holiday grocery shopping without going mad. There seem to be only two schools of thought on the issue of grocery shopping, love it or hate it. My view is that if you are going to have to spend a certain amount of your life-time in the provendering process, you had better find some way to get enjoyment out of it. These are some tips I have developed over the many years since my first personal grocery shopping trip in 1981.

First, give yourself as much time as possible. Nothing done in a rush is as enjoyable as when done in plenty of time.

Second, take time to realize how lucky you are to be able to provide sustenance for yourself and your family if you have one. It may be trite, but the truth is that if you are in there pushing a shopping cart around, able to actually purchase what is in it, you are significantly ahead of a lot of the people in the world. Remember that and be thankful.

Third, make a list and ponder what you are about when you are at the grocery. Forethought never hurts to make an activity maximally enjoyable.

Fourth, and most Epically, keep on the lookout for interesting treats and surprises and seize them as soon as they manifest themselves. They will manifest themselves. All we have to do is notice. In this regard, I noticed these three items on the shelf last week when grocery shopping rather too late at night. They are so marvelous I had to pass them along to Epicurians wherever they may be found. May I present Exhibit One...

The Ritz cracker is one of my all time favorites, and a staple of our kitchen cabinet. Whoever came up with a snow flake motif Ritz for the Holidays gets an Epic style award. Perfect for putting out on your Holiday snack plate when the unexpected but welcome pal pops by for a cocktail. You do have at least one cool Holiday plate, don't you? From my Holiday tradition, I like a classic like Spode...

or this wonderful annual edition plate from Bing & Grondahl...


both available on Ebay right now. If you tell them The Epic sent you, you can ask for a discount. The vendors won't give you a discount, but you can ask.

Getting back to the unexpected Holiday guest, what weary traveller would not experience an immediate rise in spirits while sliding a slice of summer sausage and some fine, stout, cheddar cheese onto a snow flake Ritz cracker? Can you tell I am having a Wisconsin Holiday flashback? Typical for me this time of year. But life is not all savory. The sweets have their honored place as well. Take, for example, Exhibit Two...

I admit it. When I saw this package on the shelf I almost skipped about. If I ever did skip about, that is. It was a close as I come to skipping about in any event. Not only a snow flake motif but peppermint cream!!! With peppermint sprinkles inside!!! Reports from my 12 year old son and his pals say that this cookie is almost beyond comparison. Almost, that is, until they tried the top of the line. Exhibit Three...

The mint creme Oreo coated with mint fudge. I am stopping this now. I cannot take any more. Suffice to say, a mix of these three treats on your Holiday guest plate should serve to delight any but the most jaded health-food requiring visitor. And if the visitor demands health-food, why are they paying a visit during the Holiday Season anyway?

Hm. Taking one's time. Giving some thought in advance. Being grateful for what you have. Staying alert for the treats and surprises and capturing them when they appear. Now that I think of it, not bad ideas for creating our pleasures in any context. Or in any season, Holiday or no. Call me sensuous. I can take it.

10 comments:

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Great advice. I HATE grocery shopping. I have to make it into my spiritual practice because I hate it so much. I don't like the crowds and lines and I don't like lugging the groceries from the car in several trips (I'm getting very irritated just writing about this lol) So I usually go to yummy.com and have my groceries delivered. So much easier for me.

But your advice about being grateful and thankful has put me in my place and has helped with my negative attitude towards the matter- thank you!

Keith said...

I just came across your blog. I really like it. Good job you're doing with it. Hope you're enjoying the weekend.

M.Lane said...

DC, you are very welcome! But I have to admit that if I lived anywhere there was grocery delivery I would use it.

Keith, thank you so much! And welcome to The Epic.

ML

vicki archer said...

Great Post...I'll will definitely call you sensuous...Anyone who can make a Ritz cracker and an Oreo biscuit a must have is a true romantic. Happy shopping, xv.

Petunia said...

Good words of advice! I have one to add - a friend of mine compiles her grocery lists categorized into the floorplan of the supermarket. For example, she puts fruits and veggies on the list first, then household cleaning materials, then meat/dairy, then dry goods, etc etc. I have not yet achieved that level of organization, but a girl can dream!

heavy tweed jacket said...

Excellent post for the season. Shopping takes time, and an allotment of ample time is necessary. We went shopping yesterday and really enjoyed ourselves, because we took time. Those Ritz crackers are great. I just need some of classic port wine cheese to spread on them!

longwing said...

I will try the ritz with port wine cheese also. It's good to have a few nice snacks that no one else in the house will touch.

EsseQuamVideri said...

MLane,

I think your thoughtful approach to the grocery is great. I don't think I wrap my brain around those Oreos, though!

Merry Christmas!

EQV
atthemeadows.com

Easy and Elegant Life said...

'Tis the season for peppermint ice cream too! a favourite that really would be right at home during the dog days in Richmond, but I'll take it whenever.

M.Lane said...

Vicki, thanks! I confess to being an awful romantic, mais c'est la vie...

Petunia, a list? Hm, let's see...Wisconsin beer, vodka, cheese, scotch, steaks, oreos...just kidding. Sort of. If I made a list like your friend, I'd forget to bring the list!

HTJ, as a Chicago man you [and I from north of there] must have the port wine cheese in the brown ceramic crock!!! You MUST!

Longwing, see my Wisconsin comment to HTJ re the cheese. I don't have the problem of nobody touching the snacks. The oreos were gone in about two hours and I didn't get a single one.

EQV, Same to you, and thanks!

Easy, you are KILLING me with the peppermint stick ice cream. It is one of the finest creations of mankind.

Thanks all, for your visits and comments!
ML