Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mango Salsa

Yesterday for me was a perfect day. Let me just explain something. I'm a single mom. About three years ago, my dd was diagnosed with a severe mental illness. It's been stressful to say the least. On Tuesday she was placed in a residential facility. On Thursday, I woke up and said, 'Hmm, this is an interesting stage of life for me. I can do what I want now.' It was liberating. It's not to say I just turned my daughter to this facility and said 'See ya'. But I can rest now. And I can live sort of as a single woman and do things I want to do. Not that I want to sow wild oats and live wanton and crazy, but just experience life. My job is hectic and my home life as a care giver has been off the chain. There were days when showering was optional.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, I woke up and decided that I wanted to go to Eastern Market. For those of you non-Washingtonians, Eastern Market is an open air flea/farmers market in the heart of DC. I have lived in the DC area for 18 years and have never been there. Correction. I have lived in Charles County, Maryland for 18 years. Charles County is worlds apart from DC. But anyway, I took the Metro, and got off at the Eastern Market stop (Blue Line, in case you're wondering). I could've driven, but I don't drive in DC. I actually worked in DC for a number of years, but it wasn't in the heart of the city. Anyway, back to the story.

Ok, I am a shopper by nature. I love to shop. I love bargains. To say I was born to shop is akin to saying Aretha Franklin was born to sing or Michael Jordan was born to play basketball or Albert Einstein was born to theorize. This place was incredible! Where have you been all my life, Eastern Market? First of all, those of you who've never been to DC, just know that every race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, color, religion, whatever is here. Everyone speaks a different language. I grew up military, so I love that! It was so cool. Everybody's speaking at once. It's busy. And the vendor's stuff. Wow! I nearly od'd on sensory overload. There's an explosion of colors, and textures. I felt like I was in Marekesh. There were antiques, gidgets and gadgets, jewelry and purses. Oh, my the purses. There was a Marc Jacobs purse with my name written all over it. Ok, it had Marc Jacobs's name all over it, but it was meant to be mine. Maybe next time, Marc.

Anyway, after viewing the flea market, I mosied over to the farmer's market. Have you ever seen cheddar cauliflower or purple cauliflower? Neither had I. Well, I perused the veggies and because now I'm a full-flegged foodie (nice illiteration, huh?) I got some collard greens, onions, cabbage and a few walnuts and pecans. One of the farmers tried to sell me some home grown kiwis, but I wasn't falling for that. How in the heck do kiwis grow in Maryland? Can somebody 'splain that one to me? But she insisted they did, but I wasn't buyin'.

Anywho, I was getting tired and didn't want to cart too much stuff back on the Metro, so I decided to head back home. But first I had to stop in a handmade oils store. I forgot the name of it, but they sold incense and whatnot. Mostly Egyptian wares. In my previous blog I forgot to mention that I am also into soapmaking. So yes, I have all the accoutrements for that also. Anyway, this store had beautiful handmade belly dancing veils--simply gorgeous. I kept that in mind when I take up belly dancing.

So, after leaving that storefront, there's a guy standing outside of his storefront. I guess business is slow because he calls out to me, 'Hey, don't you want to buy some salsa?' My first thought is 'No.' But then I think, 'Hmm, I am a full-fledged foodie now, and this guy's kinda cute, so why not?' Now, the old me would've demurred and said softly 'No thanks' until he begged me to come into his store. The new me answered enthusiastically, 'Sure, why not.' So, I find out that there are more salsas on earth than there are people. I have not seen that many salsas in Safeway or in my entire life. So the guy gives me the grand tour of the place and I see why 'cause there's nobody in there--not a soul. Ordinarily, I'm not so interested in salsa. When I have a hankerin' for Mexican I buy Tostitos chips and salsa and call it a day. But for some strange reason at that moment I was very interested in salsas and what you can do with them.

For instance, did you know you can cook it with meat or fish? I already knew because I watch Food Network, but why spoil a good salsa tour? What's-his-name also showed me an interesting postillo mix that they sell. Postillo is corn that is marinated in lime and chili juice and it actually changes the consistency of the corn. I learned all this from What's-his-name. He was very interesting to learn from. He was, as I already noted several times, very cute. I like tall, nerdy men that speak well, and surprisingly, he fit the bill.

Well, What's-his-name told me that you could put salsa on greens which I did not know, so he goes to get me a sample. What's-his-name and I are connecting on a level. You know how it is when you connect with someone. He was just about to ask me what else I had bought (we had already established the greens) and I had already planned my 'I'm a vegetarian speech' to which he would reply, 'Oh really? Well, I respect that. I'm semi...' And then we were going to have this even deeper and more meaningful connection and conversation where we would exchange names and e-mail addresses when at that very moment everyone and their grandmother decided that they must have salsa pronto!

Now, I don't know about you, but don't you think a) it's unusual for a salsa store to exist in the first place; b) for said salsa shop to be totally empty at 10:30 on a.m. Saturday morning except for a single woman and a single man. I checked the ring finger. Shut up, I know there's a possibility he could've had a wife, girlfriend, partner, significant other. You're ruining the moment; c) at the exact moment when the two singles are about to have a deep, significant connection, everyone and their grandmother choses that specific moment to have their salsa need satiated? See, you agree with me.

So, to keep the connection going, I tried a peach chutney, but I didn't like it. What's-his-name agreed with me. It was too savory. I finally settled on the mango chutney. It was good. I actually do like chutney. My mom used to make it. So, I couldn't try anymore salsas or chutneys because my mouth was hot and dry. They had bottled water, but I refuse to pay $1.49 for water, not matter how cute the proprietor is. I settled on the Uncle Brutha's Fire Sauce No. 9 and the Eaton's West Indian Mango Chutney.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking he was not interested in me. He was just trying to make a sale on a slow day. But I don't care what you say. I was there. There was a connection. I saw it in his eyes. And so what. It only cost me $8.68 and I got another reason to test my new chef's knife and cutting board.

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