May 08, 2004

I'm Taunted

And tortured by my own laziness. Fresh Direct has finally come to town, and I have but two months to revel in my bliss. Fresh Direct is an online grocery store that does home delivery and prides itself on the quality of its meat and produce; I have been slavering with longing for it to get to my zip code for over a year now.

It's not merely the idea of getting stuff home delivered that appeals. New York is famous for the eye-popping array of stuff you can get brought right to your door, but even back in the halcyon days of the late 90s, I don't think I used either Urban Fetch or Kozmo more than once or twice; their DVD selection kind of sucked.

For the unintiated, Urban Fetch and its ilk were based on the theoretically wondrous but actually piss-poor business models of being able to deliver, in under an hour, everything an agoraphobic pothead could desire, from Cheetos to pizza to Tekken. I think they even had foosball tables. Their problem was that in order to keep a twenty-four hour army of bike messengers on hand to instantly bring you your Mallomars and toilet paper --- items which, and let us be frank, this being New York and the proliferation of 24-hour delis being what it is, you could almost certainly have acquired by crossing the street --- they had to make up the margin with the high ticket items. That nobody ever, ever ordered. Cruel, I know, but I can't help but think how fun it would have been to tease them:

"Okay, so I'll take a six-pack of Brooklyn Brown, some Tostitos, a copy of La Dolce Vita, and a DVD player."

"What! Really? I mean, uh, Sony or Samsung?"

"Oh, I'm sorry --- did I say DVD player? I meant: Psych!"

After the entirely predictable disappearance of these outfits, the development horizon for in-house aids for the terminally lazy was bleak. Fresh Direct is the one shining bright spot. Granted, they don't attempt to have everything, but they do have groceries, and that is a matter of some significance for me.

Overtime permitting, I like to cook, but I dont do it so much during the week, primarily because, and this is a point Ill be repeating several times so feel free to skim, I am very lazy. If I don't remember to stop at the store on the way home, well, once ensconced on couch with a cool drink and the news on, going back out again for anything other than drunken revelry seems a distasteful prospect. And so I end up scrounging around the kitchen to see what I can find. Usually, I find that the takeout menus are piled in their basket on top of the microwave.

Most people would remedy this situation by doing a big shop on the weekends to stock up on meal possibilities. Me, if I find myself in the grocery store of a Sunday it's usually because I've exuberantly invited six people to dinner the evening before. I will no doubt frighten you now by admitting I actually enjoy cooking for bunches of people and do it frequently. Though I am shamelessly willing to bust out the granny cart on such occasions, the ingredients for dinner for 8 and a bulk shop for my own household are more than even its capacious and sturdy self can handle, to say nothing of the frequently self-imposed constraint of having only 45 minutes to gather everything up and return to base camp to get my appetizers on. On a few memorable occasions I've actually run out of time and have had to send forth my minions to scour the neighborhood in search of a particularly rare ingredient; I was making a Thai chicken dish once and had no less than three different people searching three different delis for lemongrass, none of them precisely clear on what lemongrass was, mind you, but all of them phoning in status reports at twenty minute intervals ---- "Nothing at the health food store on Bedford? Roger that. Return to base." "Update on Hana Food, I copy. Clean? You checked up front where they have the fresh mint in little pots? Damn. All right, abort the mission, but pick me up some lemons, would you? We'll just have to fly by wire."

So obviously you can see what it means to me to be able to sit here, widening my ass, plan out a menu and go click click click and have all the necessary ingredients for same show up on my doorstep twenty-four hours later, along with a jug of milk, some cold cuts and box of Cap'n Crunch. It's downright dangerous. I spent yesterday afternoon in a starry-eyed haze, with the sight of one potentially tasty foodstuff immediately trailing off into the construction of an entire meal: "Ohh, fresh pasta! So tasty! Light and summery, that's the ticket; couple cans of crushed tomatoes, some fresh basil, onions, garlic, a wedge of parmesan; youd want some kind of appetizer, maybe some fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, olives, oops, don't forget olive oil, a baguette for some bruschetta, a bottle of wine; maybe torta della nonna for dessert, I'll need pignoli --- I wonder if they have limoncello ----

Hey! How'd I spend sixty bucks?"

Posted by Diablevert at May 8, 2004 03:02 AM | TrackBack
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