Confidential to the guy I unfortunately witnessed at the supermarket deli the other day: None of what you see in the deli display case could be strictly classified as “homemade.”You were standing at the far end of the deli display case, ogling the available salads. You were probably in your mid-fifties with a similarly aged woman standing near you.
Svetlana, the deli employee trying to help you, is not from this country (if the name wasn’t enough of a tip-off). Her command of the English language might be best described as “a work in progress.” However, she is pleasant, hard-working (she worked her way up from being a bagger), and generally one that tries to please the customer. I have a soft spot in my heart for Svetlana because she always tried to fit the maximum number of groceries into a bag, while limiting the weight of the bag and minimizing the chances the bag might break. When the groceries were all paid for and bagged, she always gave Sarah and I a little nod of the head and the tiniest smile. For some reason, we always found that to be more genuine than “Have a nice day” delivered by a sullen teenager.
So, there you stood, in your navy blue Lands End jacket, asking over and over again “Which of these are homemade?” while pointing at the deli display case. Svetlana did not understand your question (apparently the word homemade is not in her English vocabulary yet), but she was trying gamely to figure out what you wanted. However, since she could not answer your question, you just kept getting more and more agitated and making a truly stupendous mountain out of a non-existant molehill.
So, I’ve got news for you, dummy. None of them are homemade. It’s a supermarket deli. The very word “homemade” implies that something was made in a home. Everything you saw in the display case was made in batches where the smallest ingredient was measured in gallons. Have you tried the cookies? They are not homemade. They were made in gi-hugic batches in the bakery next to the deli. How about the rotisserie chickens? Nope. Not homemade either.
Did you happen to look up from the display case and see the industrial/institutional kitchen just beyond the deli? That is where all the deli foods are made (or even just defrosted after their journey across hundreds of miles from a factory somewhere else). Did that kitchen look like the place you would find homemade food cooking?
You see, the deli does not make homemade food. The deli sells food already prepared to people who either cannot cook, do not have time to cook, do not like to cook, or are too lazy to cook. To maximize profits while keeping prices low, everything is prepared using reasonably low-quality ingredients purchased in large quantities and prepared as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you want a homemade pie, you’re going to need to visit aisle five where the baking ingredients are kept. Once there, you can find flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pie filling. If you need a fruit salad, perhaps you could have turned your lazy ass around and chosen some fruit from the produce section directly behind you. Ten minutes with a decent quality knife and a cutting board would have produced a homemade fruit sald.
Of course, none of that would short-circuit the whole process of getting homemade food any more than yelling at Svetlana did.
So, Mr. “Which of these are homemade,” I’ll be looking out for you from now on. Clearly, you don’t quite grasp the concept of mass-produced foods, supermarkets, and what is homemade. That makes me wonder what other basic concepts of modern living have also escaped your tiny mind.