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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

I just went out for ice cream disguised as grocery shopping. On a Sunday. When I didn’t have to. This should prove just how badly I wanted ice cream.

I have wanted ice cream, as my repetition on the subject can attest, for weeks. Today our friends texted us a picture of ice cream they bought. Later, Ralph said he had a craving for ice cream. It seemed like the universe was stacking karma against me so I volunteered to go out and get some and he did not object.

Normally I’d swing into town to the ice cream place with the salted caramel cashew, but… it’s Sunday. It’s the whole battle traffic find parking wait on line thing, and in the end you come home with an $8 sundae that is gone in about five minutes.

I decided to go the grocery store where $8 will buy you marginally more than one sundae if you shop wisely.

So I went to Publix, and since I was there, got groceries for the week. I mean… you really don’t want me to leave the house twice in the same week, let along to go grocery shopping, do you?

As an added bonus, Breyer’s was buy one get one free. So for a total of $14 I got FOUR containers of ice cream! In a prior life, it would have been four half-gallons but since the price of nothing ever increases, a container is now one and a half quarts. Still, that is plenty of ice cream to last for the rest of the weekend, assuming we don’t also eat it for breakfast.

In other news, I really want someone to explain how food works anymore.

I want to know, for instance, why I cannot find whole milk mozzarella.

I can find part skim. I can find low moisture. I can find “fresh”, I guess as opposed to stale? I can get LACTOSE FREE, which sorry, is a thing that defies cheese. There is no such thing as vegan cheese, either. It may be a cheese-like product, or a cheese substitute, or cheese-adjacent. But either cheese is a thing or it isn’t.

I can get fat free. I can get low fat or reduced fat (of which I assume there is a difference since both exist) but not actual JUST mozzarella.

I want to start a movement. It’s going to be called the Just Food Movement.

Where you get JUST yogurt. Plain, whole milk, not adulterated, reduced, altered, flavored, JUST.

I want JUST mozzarella.

Not “creamy” mozzarella, which I can’t even imagine what they have to do to it to make it creamy. I don’t even want to speculate.

Similarly, I don’t want low-fat fat-free low-salt no-salt no-carb no-wheat no-gluten no-grain high-fiber keto vegan fair trade organic sprouted bread. I want JUST BREAD.

Bread, the way bread is.

Made with bread ingredients.

So I could not find mozzarella, but I found a package of the pre-grated stuff which, fine, whatever, not my first choice but I will use it. And THAT bag was 7 ounces. Not 8. Not 8 like every other cheese. Seven. Same price, though.

Just Food.

I swear, there is no Just Food anymore. Even basic stuff like meat. Bacon is bacon, right? I mean, if you get it from the farm it is, which is why I only buy it from a farm and never, ever, EVER from a supermarket shelf. Because then it is low fat or low salt or gluten free (is there bacon with gluten and if so why??) or free range or grass finished or any number of things.

My farm sells Just Bacon.


Supermarket eggs: Brown. White. Cage free. Non GMO. Hormone free. Antibiotic free. Free range. Organic. Organic, as opposed to inorganic eggs, I suppose.

Farm eggs: Just Eggs. In a rainbow of colors because that is how chickens work.

Another thing I can’t seem to find: Just Canned Tomatoes. Could I use fresh ones? Sure. And now that it’s the end of summer and there are about a billion tomatoes at the farmers market, I will.

But on an ordinary day why can’t I just buy a can and call it a day? I can buy tomatoes with garlic. With peppers and garlic. With basil. No-salt low-salt but never Just Tomatoes.

Even JUST milk requires ten minutes of scanning the refrigerator section. Lactose-free fat-free low-fat reduced-fat one-percent two-percent. Skim milk soy milk goat’s milk. Cashew milk coconut milk, and I am not making this up, OMEGA 3 milk. Oat milk almond milk, sweetened almond milk, unsweetened almond milk, vanilla almond milk. Dairy free milk, which don’t even get me started.

Somewhere, if you’re lucky, you may find an actual container of Just Milk.

I’m not even suggesting these variations should not exist, although some are abominations and really shouldn’t. I am merely suggesting that perhaps my Just Food can coexist peacefully alongside of them. I don’t want to buy lactose-free cheese because Just Cheese is not an option. I don’t want to buy fat free yogurt, which is more like liquid chalk than food, because Just Yogurt no longer exists.

Choice is good. So why are mine being taken away? I don’t get it. This is not new. I’ve been settling for “some version” of most things for a long time because Just-Something is rarely an option. I can’t even say it’s an expensive option. It’s a non-option. The magical unicorn of food, Just Food.

Ice cream, it turns out, is not exempt. Amid the lactose-free sugar-free low-sugar dairy-free oat-milk coconut-milk etc etc etc, I dug out a Neapolitan, a chocolate chip mint, and a cookie dough Just Ice Cream.

And, one might conclude, some thousand words later, that instead of enjoying my ice cream I am complaining about it instead. One would be wrong.

I’m complaining about it AND enjoying it, at precisely the same time. And as these are two of my favorite things, I’m calling this a win.

Photo: Just Ice Cream, like a little refrigerated miracle.