Ithaca Blog

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Food World, Continued (Here and Elsewhere)

We took a little ribbing here at Ithaca Blog about our journalistic seriousness when we ran a piece on things we like to get at our prodigious and delightful local supermarkets (Food World, 16 August).

So do we feel a little vindicated now that the New York Times ran the exact same idea for a piece in their well-read newspaper yesterday ("In Search of Grocery Gems"), and it is currently their second-most e-mailed article? Yes, we do.

Of course, we are happy and delighted to help out our journalistic counterparts, and our own dear readers, with ideas and tips. So we will carry on with some further, relevant comments on comestibles for all to enjoy.

1. The Times piece mentions a brand of German cookies called Bahlsen. We like these, too. They mention a variety called Choco Leibniz, a chocolate bar butter cookie. Personally, we like a Bahlsen variety called Hit. It's a simple chocolate sandwich cookie. The wafers are light in color and consistency, so they don't coat your teeth like Oreos. Also, they are very cheap. Also, they are called Hit Cookies. You know we are non-violent at Ithaca Blog, so it is not the "bang, zoom" nature of the name we like, although we admit we did once tell our young teen, live-in nephew that they are called Hit because that's what would happen around here if we came home and found these cookies prematurely gone (he laughed). We think the name alludes to Popularity, but we like the aspect of people using foreign languages to unintended comic effect. There is a department store chain in Germany, for instance, called "Wormland".

2. Goya Cookies. We like Goya products because they are bona fide Latin New York, and they make everything you can think of, and a lot of things you would never think of. But their cookies are a fundamental. They make a flour and sugar cookie called "Maria cookies" that they sell in a pack of 15 that you can hide in your hand when walking down the hallway to the coffee pot at work, thus never need share. But if you get caught, the beauty part is that the pack only costs 33 cents. Oh, yeah.

3. Ling Ling Frozen Chinese Dumplings. All-natural, available at GreenStar and at Wegman's (in the Nature's Basket section at Wegman's). These come in different varieties (chicken ; vegetable), and are as good as any restaurant fare you will find. With some rice and steamed green beans they make a healthy and delicious dinner that you can serve to company, even though it practically cooked itself. Occasionally, GreenStar has these on monthly sale, and when they do, make room in your freezer. Also, get there fast. They do have trouble keeping them in stock.

4. Patsy's Pasta Sauce. The Times piece mentions Rao's Pasta Sauce. Both Patsy's and Rao's come from legendary NYC restaurants. Neither one is a knock-off licensing operation, selling an ordinary product under a stellar name. Presumably, this would not be wise in the world of wiseguys at which Rao's and Patsy's are central. You will pay top dollar for these sauces, but hey, whaddaya whaddaya. Money comes and goes, but good sauce is good sauce, you know what I mean? What am I gonna eat over here, Ragu? What do I look like to you? A rat piece of garbage?

5. Oatmeal. There is no need for packaged oatmeal. It's oatmeal. You put it in a pot, boil it a couple of minutes, and have a delicious, healthy, economical breakfast that is some slight salvation to winter. So-called instant oatmeal is oatmeal cut thinner, so it cooks a little faster. Putting it in a box with a picture of a Quaker does not improve oatmeal. You can't improve oatmeal. It's like trying to improve apples. Buy it in bulk, and buy some Patsy's sauce with what you saved. Or put the money on a horse. Why not? You could be walking around lucky all day and not even know it.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

1 comment:

Bibliochef said...

I put a link to yours on my blog at Cooking with Ideas; the url is