Big Box Retail

Aahh Big Box, how do I love thee – let me count the ways. I love your wide, well-lit aisles, your massive selection, your jumbo shopping carts, your clever pricing, and oh so much more. I’m not going to lie; I enjoy my monthly visits to Costco. I really should break up with this money-pit, but I simply can’t. I also find it fascinating how a trip for paper towels can end up costing me $200!

It all starts out so innocently. I get my cart (first mistake – I really should be able to carry my single purchase to the front on my own.) I gladly accept the coupon booklet when presented upon entering the store (second mistake – letting myself be tempted into buying that pack of 57 batteries, which is on sale). I meander down each aisle (knowing full well what I need is at the back left corner of the store).

I greedily accept proffered samples (fighting my way through the quagmire of carts and grazers, to the goodies being doled out in muffin tin liners). Mmm – sushi. I think I might need some – lunch is around the corner afterall.

I can often manage to skirt the cheese aisles – although this has only been accomplished with years of practice. Not far ahead looms my nemesis – the walk-in cooler room where the fresh produce is. Now, you may think, how much harm can I do in the walk-in cooler? This is where it begins. Borne by a bag of perfect, tiny, French green beans, my food inspiration begins. The beans will soon to be joined by a package of trimmed and peeled real baby carrots, with a portion of the stem left on for that splash of green that catches my eye. This will inevitably lead me back to the meat/fish/poultry section. I must create the perfect dish to have with my perfect vegetables. Three whole chickens? Sure! A whole side of salmon? Why not. Keep in mind, there are two people that live in my household. But, I can always vacuum seal the rest, right?  Do I have enough rolls of freezer bags left? Which aisle was that in…?

After scooping up some meat and veg, it’s time to continue my browsing. I turn the corner and find the refrigerated case which contains the bean salads, hummus, tabouleh and dips. Since it’s after work, I am understandably peckish (the snacks haven’t done their job) and am looking for something to munch on while I am creating my feast at home.  Oh look – a giant tub of hummus (which deep down, I know will end up being a biology experiment in the back of the refrigerator).

I forego the hummus and make a break for the check-out line. Oh no, the frozen prepared food aisles emerge in the distance. Be strong, I tell myself, but to no avail. The sample peddlers are out here in full force – hot snacks! Oh dear, a person doesn’t really stand a chance against a hot toaster oven! Please don’t judge me.

I happily cart my purchases to the front and wait in line with my fellow shoppers. I observe the glazed looks in their eyes when I see their heaping carts, sometimes even two. Many of them contain the very samples we delighted in a mere few moments earlier.

I escape relatively unscathed this time – only $60 – but wait, I forgot the paper towel! I’ll break-up with you one day Costco, but for now, I am going to try and keep myself on a short leash and avoid your charms all together, well, at least for rest of this month.

By the way – I was able to snap my photos and escape without opening my wallet. Progress.


From Ottawa, Ontario

My food roots are from the Caribbean. I have many memories of my mother's Bajan cooking and my father's Trinidadian Sunday morning cook-ups. I like to try to impart these flavours and influences in my own dishes.

My food style is simple, fresh, and has a flair of creativity, which I try and incorporate when creating my own recipes. I love trying more challenging fare, but can appreciate the simplicity in a humble, well balanced dish.

Some of my favourite culinary experiences to date include enjoying a traditional South African dinner in a Boma while on safari; eating shark & bake on Maracas Beach in Trinidad; devouring a plate of freshly caught crab in Punta Arenas, Chile; and enjoying a perfectly grilled steak over a campfire.

During my spare time, whether at home or around the world, I can be found at a local market sourcing out new ingredients, concocting fascinating new dishes in the kitchen, or trying new fare at local restaurants to add to my blog My Macaroni Pie.

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