Saturday, November 28

Rider Strong

Yesterday I went on a scavenger hunt. Here's what I had to find:

Carrot Juice
Multivitamin juice
Dried fruit packets (apricots, mangoes, raisins etc)
Brazil nuts, pistachios, cashews and peanuts (small bag of each rather
than mixed please).
Fresh ham ie not processed
Diet coke (cans not bottles)
Veggie dip tray
1 x tin of Heinz spaghetti Bolognese or Ravioli (If not Heinz, at
least a brand where the tin doesn’t require
a tin opener)
2 x pre-made salad bowls you get from supermarkets. (1 vegetarian, 1
with chicken).
Pita Bread
Rye Bread
Selection of fresh Cheeses
Vanilla Soya Milk
2 x packs of Mint chewing gum

Carrot juice was easy enough to find, but Multivitamin juice is a European phenomenon - a sweet and unidentifiable super-infused concoction best used to insure that little EU-lings don't encounter scurvy - so I bought blue-and-raspberry-smoothie juice (but the substitution apparently did not qualify because it was left untouched). I bought commercially dried fruit (including orange-flavored Craisins) because of the list's use of the word "packets," which probably saved some serious money. The list's preference against mixed nuts would have been understandable enough if there was a preferred nut (as I, in my own time, exclusively buy roasted, unsalted cashews), but in requiring all nuts, separate but equal, it's hard to hold sympathy. "Fresh ham" was a new phrase for me, as I have always understood ham to be a salted rump of poor health, but Food Dimensions had slices of it "cooked" and not "cured," so I bought it and quickly removed it from its cheap-looking packaging (this worked like a drug, as there was no fresh ham to be found at the end of the night). I was supposed to buy cans of Diet Coke and Not bottles but I bought bottles to be contrary. Food Dimensions doesn't sell vegetables-with-dip trays because nobody in Bushwick hosts corporate events, so I bought a bunch of vegetables and Kraft ranch dressing; Nicky Devine, my friend who has held several food service jobs, artfully arranged the baby carrots and broccoli spears in a disposable baking pan. I was unable to find pre-made salads, especially ones with chunks of grilled chicken, so I bought two packages of the organic Baby Spring Mix greens (both of which were unopened, and I later dreamt that they were donated to a food drive despite being obvious perishables). For hummus, I bought the cheapest, plainest container at Mr Kiwi; later, when I found myself excitedly scarfing the leftovers, I wished I had purchased a Pine Nut Oil or Lemon Zest variety. The pita bread was TKO'd but the loaf of rye bread was probably a waste. For the Selection Of Fresh Cheeses, I opted away from a wheel of cheap brie, instead presenting the judges with a ball of mozzarella, a tube of basic goat, and a triangle of blue cheese (each cut from their hard plastic packaging to appear more artisanal, each still here so I can make epicurean omelets). The vanilla soy milk was not finished, and at the end of the night everyone I knew was chewing mint gum. My favorite scavenged item, however, leftover and left 'til the end (although appearing in the center of the list) was the Tin Of Heinz Spaghetti Bolognese Or Ravioli, If Not Heinz, At Least A Brand Where The Tin Doesn’t Require A Tin Opener.

When I was in college and organized a few school-sponsored concerts, I received the Riders of some fair-sized bands. Although I rarely provided any of the items requested, I'd read through them with curiosity. Bands usually asked for whiskey and beer and sometimes they'd ask for red wine. Some wanted healthy energy bars and one solo artist asked for weed. But never, ever, in the history of payment paperwork, mine and talent buyers across the world, has a musical act asked for Chef Boyardee. So I bought it. And the band didn't eat it, even though the can did not require a can opener. So if you or anyone close to you wants a once-celebrity-owned can of Chef Boyardee (ravioli of course), feel free to email me at