Friday, May 04, 2018

Bean Sprouts ...

Sometimes, when I'm walking through the grocery store, my mind drifts to what folks from countries in struggling parts of the world would think about where we shop.

People walk for miles every day to get water. We have an entire aisle of it: distilled water, natural spring water, mineral water, carbonated water, flavored carbonated water – a dozen flavors of carbonated water – little eight-ounce bottles, 16-ounce bottles, 20-ounce bottles, gallons, three-gallon jugs with dispensers (I used to buy those when I lived in apartments; I don't remember Brita existing in those days), a station where folks can fill their own containers.

Wine? Here are 300 selections.

Cereal? Hot or cold? Bagged or boxed? How much sugar would you like? Never mind nutrition, have a bowlful of cookies and call it breakfast. There's an entire wall of coolers right over there, filled with almost any kind of milk you could want: skim, 1%, 2%, whole, organic, lactose-free, store brands, name brands, soy, almond, cashew, coconut, oat, banana, chocolate-flavored, strawberry-flavored ... .

Condiments? Here are 10 kinds of mustard, 20 brands of barbecue sauce. Don't tire yourself, Heinz has mixed ketchup and mayonnaise for you.

And yet, reliably, we can't find fresh bean sprouts. (By "we," I mean Mom and me.) We know of only one grocery store that still carries them. And every time we check the shelf, it's empty. Does the produce manager order two bags of bean sprouts each week and once they're gone, they're gone?

I know it's not the most common ingredient in cooking but nor is it exotic. There is some pretty weird-looking fruit for sale in the produce section. I can get my hands on cipollini onions. But bean sprouts elude me.

The other day, I got irked about that fact. Irked that I couldn't buy fresh bean sprouts.

And wow, how's that for privilege?

I walk through a cavernous grocery store – brightly lit, climate-controlled – where I can buy goods from all over the world (thanks, international aisle!) but I harumph that there's one ingredient not in stock?

Has our on-demand culture made me even demand-ier? I'm sure it has.

But my bean sprout lack has also reminded me, yet again, of our excessive bounty. I try to live in a place of appreciation. Every so often, though, I take a detour through a dearth of fresh bean sprouts.

I'll be on the lookout for them and menu plan accordingly.

But, as Mom pointed out, they're also sold in cans.

My needs are met, exceedingly so.

Here's to gratitude.

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