I have recently returned from circumnavigating the salad bar at my local Shaw’s Supermarket. Magellan may have sailed further into uncharted realms, but I doubt that he experienced as much uncertainty and ill-omen as I did amid the lettuce and tomatoes. Darwin’s voyage of discovery may have penetrated more exotic ecosystems, but his microscope cannot have encountered any specimens more fearsome, alien and repulsive than those that wriggled between the teeth of my tongs.
Aside from the usual, unappetizing array of salad bar items such as scrimshaw cauliflower and dead-man’s cucumber, there were macaroni-shaped pasta worms drowning in some sort of mayonnaise scum; rubberized eggs, too; broccoli rendered as verdigris carbuncles; mushrooms that might have been grown in the dimmest recesses of a slave ship’s hold; and various other undesirable, indescribable types of organic matter that had been lately dredged from their watery grave. These were the monsters of the deep; vegetable krakens, giant squids and sliced albatrosses that lurked beneath a bed of brined lettuce and scurvy onion.
Talk about a “nightmare life-in-death” that “thicks men’s blood with cold”, I think tomorrow I’ll hike overland to Dante Ristorante instead. I hear tell that they do a good Italian cold-cut special, even if waiting in the long lunchtime line is purgatory.