Monday, January 23, 2006

Epiphany at the Whole Foods Fish Counter

This past Friday I decided to undertake the task of serving fish for dinner. I had never done it before, and figured I already had a handle on the non-swimming was time to tackle the mackerel.

Or haddock, as it were.

One of my co-workers insisted that I would not find fresher fish anywhere other than Whole Foods, so to Whole Foods I went (and my virgin voyage at that!). When I walked into the store, I was instantly overwhelmed. Stacks of organic carrots and green veggies taller than I am, mounds of apples and oranges, not to mention the platform upon platform of fresh flowers. What's a gal used to brown broccoli and bruised pears to do?

After wandering blindly amongst the root vegetables for a while, I stumbled across the fish counter and instantly set about picking my prey. The thing was, everything had scales still on it except the cod..and I didn't really want cod. But, I was resigned NOT to have to debone or descale anything, so I began to order me a pound of cod.

But then I figured, why not show what a fish moron I am and maybe this nice lady behind the counter can help me.

So when my turn came I told her "Listen, I am kind of new to fish so forgive me if this sounds stupid but is the cod the only thing that comes without scales?"

The lady, looking bemused but surprisingly not condescending, said to me "Of course not, honey! You pick whatever you want and I will take off the skin for you!"

"Really? Can I get a pound of haddock? I mean can you even bake haddock?"

"Honey let me tell you how you can bake haddock...are you cooking this tonight?" I nodded. And she proceeded to give me an easy, no frills but delicious recipe for a nice breaded and baked haddock dinner. AND she took the skin off (it was not scales after all, as she explained quite nicely). And she cut it into two filets for me.

So, my point is this. So often people are are afraid of sounding stupid. At least I know I am. I get so caught up with wanting to seem like I know what I am doing that I don't learn anything and in the end I actually know nothing. I mean I could have just gotten the cod instead of exposing my fish naivete to the greater Newton fish buying population....but I went ahead and asked my silly questions and I ended up having a fabulous meal that night, and next time I go to the fish counter I will know what's up.


Jenny said...

ohh! sounds delish! make me dinner!!

also - isn't whole foods AWESOME!? The first one I tried was the Derby Street one. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Sarah said...

1) i will make you dinner anytime!

2)i like can't afford to be on the Whole Foods bandwagon...just the fish and asparagus for two cost me almost $30! it's fun for once in a while, but if i had to shop there all the time i think adam and i would be living off Annie's shells & cheddar!

Anonymous said...

whole foods rules. it is the only place i can find soy dream strawberry swirl my absolute favorite food of the moment. you can also buy booze as well as broccoli. two of my other favorite things. i will say this, i went to whole foods in DC over the weekend and thier whole foods puts ours to SHAME. it's bigger, better and just has WAY more to choose from. i was embarressed for us.

anyway! good work fishy fish! <3 dinkaroo deveau

Sarah said...

have you been to the one on Washington Street, Newton? it is overwhelmingly so. i was scared.

clipper829 said...

Love the Whole Foods. And you're right, the meat/fish/cheese people are so nice, even when I ask idiotic questions! My first foray into cooking salmon was definitely made possible by the nice fish guys at Whole Foods.

I shop at the one in Bedford, its closest to our house, but the big one on River St. in Cambridge rocks the house because not only is it big, it also sells booze, which is something I would travel for, since I'm lazy and I don't like making 2 stops.

kate.d. said...

that's nice that the lady at the fish counter was actually helpful. overall, though, i have to be a dissenter and say that i actually kinda can't stand whole foods!

i think my grad school experience ruined whole foods for me, because everyone i knew who shopped there also listened to NPR exclusively - "oh, mainstream radio is SO awful" - and listened to obscure german bands that "you've probably never heard of, but they are so cutting edge and great." god, spare me! the holier-than-thou thing also extended to looking down their nose at me for shopping at shaws on commonwealth instead of buying fresh and organic at whole foods in brookline.

it's amazing how much nice stuff they could afford when they were paying with mommy and daddy's trust fund, though, right? :)

Sarah said...

kate i am so with you! i don't really like whole foods least i dont really like the type who shop at the one that I went to. it's all snotty types being like "look at me buy whole wheat pasta, i am the SHIZ". um, paying $6 for an organic cookie doesn't make you the shiz. at least not in MY book ;-)

AliRose said...

Haha - "Look at me buy whole wheat pasta, I am the SHIZ."

You're hilarious Sarah, I love it, and totally agree with you and kate.d. Give me Frosted Flakes over organic granola and muesli any day.

Anonymous said...

i've never been to the newton one but the one on river street is HUGE too -danielle

Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

I've never been to a Whole Foods! I need to go... why isn't there one in the Q? ;-)

Sarah said...

the Q is too ghetto for WF. Super 88 is more our speed.

ugagirl16 said...

That sounds so good! I have never had haddock. I am a big salmon and tilapia fan though -- anything that's not too fishy. Good for you for not being afraid to ask -- I think I would be totally overwhelmed in a Whole Foods Store...but if you can do it, maybe I can too :)