What I learned over the weekend.
Why make it this hard?

Oh, damn it, now I'm hungry.

Which is not a rare occurrence, granted. But you know how they say you should never go grocery shopping while you're hungry? Well, on a related note, you should never read the book The Food Life: Inside the World of Food with the Grocer Extraordinaire at Fairway while you're hungry.

Fairway It's a beautiful book, first off, with tons of pictures (which I wish were in color, but you can't have everything), and it's fascinating. Author Steve Jenkins (who is also the author of The Cheese Primer) relates the details of his decades spent working for the Fairway grocery store, which has several locations in New York City, describing how he built their cheese department, as well as how all of the store's departments and managers work together. It's primarily a book about food, for foodies (I'll admit I skimmed the chapters on olive oil and vinegar, I'm not a gourmet cook and those chapters could only hold my interest for so long), but it's also one of my favorite types of books: the work memoir.*

Jenkins admits that he got the job and then fell backwards into loving it, eventually becoming a cheese expert. His love and respect for his job, the objects of his expertise, and his co-workers is inspiring. He also has the correct attitude toward shoppers, in my opinion:

"If your kid is cranky and you're on your way to Fairway or on your way home via Fairway, it is advisable to consider dropping the kid at the apartment, tying the little sweetie securely to something, and then going out to shop...If I see one of your children pick up a twenty-dollar bottle of balsamic vinegar just for the hell of it, I'm going to snatch it away from him (her, whatever), glare at you, and hope you get indignant. After all, shopping here is not a right, it's a privilege. You have to know how to conduct yourself." (pp. 111-112.)

*In addition to being a good memoir, this book also includes a ton of good-lookin' recipes.