I mentioned that I am participating in something dubbed the Whole Life Challenge. Fifty-two days eating nothing but air. Trying to get into the spirit of the event, I went shopping at a whole foods store. From the outset, I sensed trouble, for the phrase ‘whole foods’ made no sense to me. Had I been eating ‘half foods’ my entire life?
The display case near the door had small bags of something called ‘Bark Thins’—second sign of trouble. I slipped past the bark without having to avoid stepping on any leaves or acorns.
Knowing I had to cut back on what I liked to eat, I thought I would add some flavor to what I had to eat to complete the challenge. I went to the aisle that displayed various flavors of oils in a way that reminded me of how an upmarket wine store would display its choice Beaujolais.
I inquired of the oil sommelier where I might find black truffle oil. The truffle oil was in a locked display case, in bottles the size of what you would find in your hotel minibar. When I saw that they were priced at an amount one might expect to pay for a whole truffle, I understood why the bottles were under lock-and-key. Perhaps the truffle-finding-hogs in France’s Périgord region were used to stomp the oils from the rejected tubers.
My stomach was starting to rumble, so I asked for directions to the meat emporium. The employee from whom I sought help had hair the consistency of the threads covering a coconut husk and organic metal implants threaded through both eyebrows. I asked her if she was a vegetablist. She did not attempt a smile, and reluctantly showed me to the meats.
If something without opposable thumbs flies, swims, hops, crawls, or walks, I’ll eat it. I will sauté, braise, roast, grill, poach, stir-fry, boil, broil, escallop, fricassee, parboil, or simmer anything that strikes my fancy, especially if it has hooves. I like meat—the smell, the taste, the texture, and how it appears on my plate next to a sprig of cilantro.
Permit me to ask the carnivores who may be playing along, “Have you ever walked into a dinner party and introduced yourself with anything close to the following? ‘I’m republican and a carnivore. May we slaughter the fatted calf?’” Probably not, but I was sorely tempted to ask that of my vegetarianess tour guide.
The whole foods meats did not look like they were sold in whole portions. Each piece of meat could have fit nicely on a Wheat Thin, with plenty of room left over for a gherkin. A tablespoon of au-jus would have drowned the petifore-sized comestible.
Thirty minutes into my adventure, the only item in my organic basket was my truffle oil miniature. I was tempted to purchase some raw macadamia nuts until I realized that the price was for an ounce rather than a pound.
All in all, I am looking forward to the next forty-nine days and seven hours of this exercise. As I was paying for my truffle oil, I asked the clerk if they had any organic, beef-flavored gum. She, too did not find me amusing.
Adding insult to injury, I had to pass a McDonalds on the way back to my car.