Does this ever happen to you?

Joined Jun 18, 2003
This makes me laugh for some reason.
I was in the grocery store the other week shopping in the
produce isle. I heard a woman next to me talk about
star fruit, she was wondering what they were ect.
So, me, being helpful I said excuse me, and explained to her
what they were and how they tasted. You could have sworn
from the look on her face, that I just called her every nasty name
I could think of and then spit on her. I apologized and said,
I just thought she wanted to know. The same day, my boss
came back from the store shaking his head, and told the tale
of an elderly lady that was looking for green onions. He did the
nice thing and offered up the ones he just picked out.
She said, No those are not green onions! ( really snotty)
and told him he didnt know his onions. (he graduated from cia-ny
and has 20+ yrs in the biz) so he took his nice bunch of green
onions and left. So it's my idea to come up with a card that you
carry with you at all times and when you tell someone something
about food, you could back it up with the card saying at the
same time "See I really do know what Im talking about!"
You know this has happened to at least some of you. You
want to be a card carrying member of the Culinary Workers of America! (I made that up!:D )
I know, it's silly, but it still makes me laugh. I guess I have to
try to be less helpful in the grocery store. Or stop being so darn
Joined Apr 24, 2001
Sign me up for that card today!

Happens to me all the time. Especially when I shop in Chinatown. Once, when apricots were coming into the market, I noticed that the smaller ones were blushing vibrantly, had better aroma and felt just right. The ladies around me were going after the big fruit that were pale and felt rubbery to the touch. They looked at me with pity cause I swear I could hear them thinking what a fool I was for paying for what would end up in the reject pile. Cashier remarked, when I went up to pay, that I had picked out the smaller ones with the same tone the ladies outside were thinking. You should see the look I get when I pick out peaches. They buy the rock hard crunchy peaches that have no flavor. I'm going after the ones that get a bit mushy because they rejected them. Same deal with persimmons. I buy the ones that get put in the distressed bucket because they are getting a bit soft, just the way I like them. Hey, I'm paying $.29 per lb for fruit I will eat tonight while they're paying $.69 per lb for fruit they are going to have to wait at home for.

Then there's good ole mom. She put the muscats and figs I had in my basket back. Those are yellowed and a few are mushy, she said of my muscats. Look, she said, the figs are already oozing. She picked out some other green table grapes and put a few hard figs in with mine. So we had them after dinner. She said that her's were better textured and that better texture was more important than the musky aroma of the muscats. Sure mom. I guess that card will not be accepted everywhere else.
Joined Sep 19, 2003
Cards won't help! I'm in the store, in my whites. The ladies see me checking out some produce(for home) and approach.
"are you a chef?" Yes ma'am
"Do you work here?" No ma'am
"Can we ask you a question?" (you've already asked 2, but go ahead) Why, yes ma'am
"How can you tell a ripe pineapple?"
So, I begin my pineapple dissertation. I tell them that the fruit won't ripen any further after picking(and other valuable trivia) and reccomend the "Golds"{more expensive} over the "Jets"
They looked at me as if another head had just grown on my shoulders. Then Martha turned to Stewart and said. "Here's a nice soft one. I'll but that's nice and ripe!"
So now, when asked, I tell them that I'm allergic and that I don't even breathe the air around them.
On the other hand, the super market just received a makeover and now boasts an exotic produce department featuring hence unknown items like bitter melon, boniata, manioc, 7 varieties of eggplant, chilis from green bell to habanero, etc. I love to go and stand there and listen for the interesting questions, and the really entertaining answers.
Joined Jul 24, 2001
My wise business associate insists that people do not respect free advices :D

I have observed that especially when it comes to cooking, amateur cooks refuse to recognize an authority. Everybody knows the best method, the best recipe, the authentic recipe....

I used to know somebody who wasn't as serious as I am in cooking and yet he insisted on everything when we were in the kitchen.

I remember once that I asked him -furious- not to insist because what I have read what I have been telling him about a cooking method in Chef Talk and it was a chef's opinion.

He gave me a look filled with pity and replied: " What does a chef know about cooking?":eek: :eek: :D
Joined Jan 24, 2003
Pineapples are ripe when you can pull a leaf from the top without resistance
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I have gotten the "she doesn't know squat about eggs or she is fooled by the brown egg shell when I talk to AG Dept farmers"...pastured chicken eggs fed good grain are better than grocery store eggs...doesnot matter the color of the shell....and I gotta card saying I cater, teach and consult... What gets me is coming up with recipes when I generally donot use um myself.Several years ago when I did more personal cheffing around Thanksgiving when I shopped in whites people would stop me and ask how to use shtuff and how to prepare basic Thanksgiving foods...guess this was the one time a year alot of non-cooks cook. No one that flat out asked me scoffed....guess I was not giving info that was not asked for.....I actually thought about doing a proposal to the grocery about being the Holiday food expert ...ask her anything....:) how hard could it be????
Joined Aug 29, 2000
At a business dinner I once attended, we were selecting items from the menu. One person asked, to no one in particular, "What are capers? This dish has capers in it." A guy who prides himself at knowing everything, regardless of whether he does or not, answered with great seriousness, "They're a kind of mushroom."

Softly, almost under my breath, I said, "Actually, they're the pickled bud of a Mediterranean bush." He glowered at me and insisted, louder, that capers are mushrooms- very expensive mushrooms, he added. I let it go.

Amateur that I am, I have been asked about produce, cuts of meat, etc. by other shoppers in markets. Since I don't have anything like chef's whites to distinguish myself, I haven't been subjected to abuse and snide remarks. Maybe that's one small advantage to being an amateur. :rolleyes: I really hate it when someone gets their jollies from trying to bash a person they've asked advice from.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
I agree with Athenaeus- free advice is worth every cent it costs. I guess I don't bother with people who want advice when they're minds are really made up and they are looking for someone to affirm what they think they know. A woman was a customer when I worked at a steakhouse/bbq place years ago and told me definatively that the ribs were beef, not pork as it said on the menu. I came out from the kitchen at the behalf of the waiter who could not convince the lady that we were not lying, then I actually brought her into the kitchen, let her look in the walk-in where there were boxes of clearly marked "pork ribs", she then told me that the boxes were wrong!
Joined Jan 24, 2003
the boxes were wrong HILARIOUS !! id have peed myself laughing.

I tend to be gregarious,annoying,helpful & sometimes scary,because grannys jump .....when i see someone buying something worth giving a little lovin attention too in the pot ......i offer ideas to joe public.

Supermarket shoppers usualy jump,scream or think your about to sell them something. Whereas in butchers,fishmongers ,bakerys,cheeseshops & delis people usually thank me including the shopkeeper as i always suggest that they buy something that looks godd in the display,the shopkeepers delighted, the customer has some ideas & i get a discount.

Sometimes they just scream though>>>>>>>>>>>

i digress
Joined Nov 29, 2001
My "getting involved" is the bane of my daughter's existence. (She's now 15.) I simply cannot mind my own business when I see someone about to make a terrible mistake.

I was in Dean & DeLuca in NYC browsing, swearing I wasn't going to spend a fortune. A store employee was showing a customer some pepper products. I overheard the customer say, "But can I substitute this for jalapeno powder?" (which he apparently couldn't find). The employee said, "Sure, you can substitute habanero powder for jalapeno powder."

The look on my face was right out of a cartoon with my eyes bugging out three feet. I immediately turned and said, "No, you can't substitute habanero for jalapeno at a one-to-one ratio! It's many times hotter!" The guy was throwing a party and wanted to make a recipe for some kind of dip using this habanero powder. I told him to start with a very small amount - maybe 1/8 the amount. Then taste it. Then WAIT to see if heat sneaks up on him, then add a small amount more if need be. "If you do a one-to-one ratio subbing habanero for jalapeno, you'll wind up throwing the whole thing in the garbage unless you're serving a bunch of fire breathing dragons."

Both the store employee and the customer were very receptive and appreciated the input. I haven't been to a checkout counter yet that didn't turn into a produce lesson for the cashier because nothing is labeled anymore, just numbered.

When daughter was still a baby, I remember being in the box juice aisle. An elderly gentleman was trying to choose a brand to buy because his grandchild was going to be visiting. There is a mind boggling array of juice in boxes!! He had Hawaiian Punch in his hand. I picked up a brand of 100% juice, took the Hawaiian Punch out of his hand and replaced it with the real juice. I held up the Hawaiian Punch and said, "This is junk," then pointed to the real juice and said, "this is not." He had been standing in that aisle for five minutes trying to make a choice.

Thus far, I've been pretty lucky and people have been receptive. Maybe I'll keep quiet if I ever get my ***** handed to me one of these days.
Joined Jul 18, 2000
ahh yeah, the trials and tribulations of shopping in uniform.

Some people ask if you work at the supermarket, some just assume.

The stupid thing is, the question: "Are you a chef?"

how do you answer? "no im actually on my way to a fancy dress party!". Tempting as the sarcasm is, well you get the picture.

Anyway, one day i was getting some stuff for work at a supermarket (which was next door to a seafood shop), and a dear old grandma asked me which frozen fish was the best. i looked at her (im surprised my expression didnt give me away) and said; "you dont need this junk, you go next door and get a nice piece of fresh fish".

It just stuns me that someone in a professional uniform would have to field these questions.

Imagine the response if you said "are you a police officer?" etc.

bizarre huh?
Joined Jun 18, 2003
I like the comment, "No, I'm not, I just play one on tv."
I also like the comments when I sometimes have to
get supplies at costco. My boss asked me to pick up
some salmon, so I loaded all 20 packs into my cart
and went to check out. (plain clothed) I recieved several
remarks "You must really like salmon" my fave was
"your family must consist of all polar bears"
Why yes, I just shaved all my fur off this morning!
please people, just leave me alone!
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Come-on you are talking to us now!!! ;)

Admit that you adore the " OMG a real chef" comments :)
Joined Jun 18, 2003
:eek: who, me. I dont.
Ok, so in my pre chef days I couldnt wait to get the
glorious white coat.
AHHHH, the power of the coat:p
I didnt know the hours I would spend slaving
in that coat, but thats another story!
But snooping in my shopping cart,
that is going over the line!
Joined Dec 12, 2000
that's almost like the time I put an order up in the pass through, and the server came by, looked at the plate and said, cook it again and this time cook it right.

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