One of the most difficult things about being such a foodie, is holding myself back from shopping for extravagant and exotic food products. Whenever I am in New York, all I want to do is go to Dean and Deluca and look at all their amazing food creations. Of course a cheese platter there will set you back $75.00, even though it is quality cheese.
Well, I was more than blessed by a certain gift this year from my grandfather and his new wife. It was a $100.00 gift card to The Fresh Market. WOO HOO! Normally, if and when I shop there it is for very specific things. It is such a beautiful store, with beautiful food, but of course, it is a bit pricey. So, when I received this card I was well... more than excited.
I take my card and go to the store, with ideas in my head of all the meals I was going to prepare with these fancy food products. The term "kid in a candy store" was more than appropriate here. I walk by the exotic fruits and veggies, the antipasti bar, the fresh seafood that was plucked out of the Atlantic that morning with a large smile. I did not have to budget, I did not have to check prices, I could just shop. It is a feeling that I don't get too often, so I tried to soak in the moment.
People do that when they go on vacation, but a true food person, will find this to be a little trip for their pallet. As I passed all the neat and tidy aisles and shelves filled with jars of jams from France and olives from Spain, it dawned on me, I can make a lot of these things! After all, I have been making my own jam for years out of fruit that was three days away from going bad. I know how to make sweet potato pancakes and butter cookies. I know how to do it and I know how to do it without breaking the bank.
I feel that if you get a chance to shop at a store like Fresh Market, then you absolutely should. But next time you are in there, take a good look around and pick out some treats that you may be spending a good amount of money and ask your self this, "can I make that?" Um...ABSOLUTELY!!!
One thing you may see in these gourmet grocery stores, are the specialty baby food. You have to admit, they are in lovely little jars and there are interesting and beautiful graphics on the side. You reach out to pick some of these jars up, well because you want the very best for your child. I have to say, stop right there. Take your cart, go to the produce section, where you are going to find some of the most colorful and organic fruits and veggies around. Pick up different types of pears, apples, berries, citrus and greens. Mix up the varietals and see what amazing baby and toddler foods you can create. Place the food on a fancy plate and if you have one, give your child a silver spoon to eat with.
There is your gourmet meal, made with the care and love you put into it. While it is always nice to try different things and especially high end foods, always remember the most high end you can get is in your own kitchen sharing memories with your kids and loved ones.