Raisins (or, How I Discovered My Inner Foodie)

I don’t usually think of myself as much of a foodie. In order to address some health conditions, I’m on a pretty rigorous diet, which has taken a lot of previously loved foods – tomatoes, bread, ice cream, chocolate – out of the mainstay in my diet.

For a long time I thought that I didn’t like food at all: I wished I could simply take a pill and move on with my day. As you can imagine, this has kept me on the fringe of some parts of the Jewish environmental movement. I’m not one for conversations about making the most delicious foods… when they always seem to include tomatoes. Conversations about food have usually left me defeated and upset.

But last week I had an experience that made me think again about whether I’m a person who enjoys food. This story is about raisins.

Since I have started my complicated diet, I’ve also started shopping at Whole Foods. I realize that it’s more expensive, but there are a few things that I get at Whole Foods that I can’t get elsewhere, at least not at 9 pm when I’m shopping, such as goat milk, fresh ginger, canned beans that don’t taste like they have been sitting for a year in a can, and (occasional oh rare treat!) kosher goat cheese.

We don’t do all of our family shopping at Whole Foods, only the essentials that I can’t get elsewhere. And some items, like the delicious dried fruit ($7.00 for 4 oz) were so expensive that we had to buy a food dehydrator to stop me from buying them. And then, there are raisins.

At Whole Foods they sell the most delicious raisins I’ve ever tasted. They are plump, juicy, gigantic raisins. They come in red, green and black. They are organic. They are in an entirely different category than the tiny Sunmaid raisins you buy at Giant. They are amazing.

These raisins have become a staple of my diet. I use them for oatmeal, granola, corn bread, and just for munching. And so, even though they cost more than your average raisins, I splurge and enjoy them.

A few weeks ago I was in Whole Foods, checking out behind a very nice older woman. She saw the items in my cart, and said in friendly way, “I always price check when I shop here.”

I said, in a friendly response, “I’m on a complicated diet and there are things I can only get here, so that’s what I buy here.” I pointed out the quarts of goat milk I was buying.

She said, “Yes, but then once you’re in the store, you can’t resist.”

She stepped up to pay and I found myself pondering what she had said. I wasn’t buying anything that I considered easy to find in another store. Finally I realized it was the raisins that she was pointing to: an item that could easily be purchased elsewhere at much less price.

It was too late, as she headed out the door, for me to say, “But have you tasted these raisins?? Because they are NOT what you would buy at a different store!”

And that’s how I realized that I have an inner foodie, too.

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