In the Trader Joe's checkout line a week ago, Margarita commented that I shop quickly.
"Yeaaah, that's because you were following me and watching," I admitted. I don't usually spend $200 in twenty minutes.
"You were supposed to pretend I'm not here!" she said. I smiled guiltily and hoped I didn't skew her grocery shopping habits results.
I've been buying pre-ground coffee beans because the electric grinder has developed an attitude. Sometimes it works but more and more often it only responds to an increasingly exact formula of pounds per square inch in just the right place at just the right angle. If the barometric pressure, humidity, or temperature in the room shifts, forget it. If Mercury goes in retrograde, no coffee.
With Margarita on my heels, I'd rushed past the Trader Joe's coffee shelf and plucked off a canister of whole beans. And this morning I got up to grind those beans. Nothing. I worked my way around the grinder, pressing on the edge and the center. I plugged it into different outlets. I STOOD ON THE COFFEE GRINDER. It did not break but neither did it grind.
I recalled hearing that in the Civil War soldiers carried small burlap bags of beans and crushed them with the butts of their rifles to make coffee. I don't own a rifle so this didn't help but it DID remind me of something. I bought a mortar and pestle when I moved into this apartment!
In what was clearly a hypnotic trance at the Linens 'n Things liquidation sale, I imagined that I'd turn overnight from being someone who doesn't cook much to someone who grinds her own spices. The heavy mortar and pestle has since sat stonily in the back of the cabinet. Until now.