Since returning home from Qatar I have become obsessed with food.
Well, lets back up a bit. I was raised with organic produce from my parents’ garden, and ever since I read John Robbin’s book in the eighties I get ebee jeebies if meat isn’t hormone free or organic, and my stints of living in Italy turned me into a confirmed foodie. But boy oh boy, the deprivation of these things in Qatar for three years has made me utterly obsessed. Kiss-the-floor-of-Whole Foods obsessed.
Entering the Boulder Whole Foods, which had expanded since I was last there, almost put me in a trance. It’s got to be the best Whole Foods in the country.
I wander the more than 77,000 square feet reverently tracing my hand along the containers of bulk items, pausing to read the labels with as much interest as I would a page-turner novel.
So many kinds of flour! Amaranth, buckwheat, blue Corn, rye, semolina, spelt…I turn to the honey and nut butters in bulk, and I catch sight of bulk vinegars and oils, and then I see specialty “raw” granolas of hemp and cacao, which upon tasting, I cannot help but scoop into a bag.
I begin wandering in circles, overcome, stupefied. I’m photographing signs and displays and wishing someone was filming me so I could rave on a video about what it’s like to walk into this after three years in the Middle East.
Oh my! All the new stations for made to order tacos, grain & greens bowls, sushi, pizza, smoothies, gourmet sandwiches–grilled portobellos, goat cheese, arugula, and truffle mushroom spread on organic just made bread–in addition to long counters of pre-made deli items and organic salad bar.
I stop at each one, simply looking, unable to decide, constantly thinking, if I’d had this down the road from me in Doha, how good my dinners could have been! How easy it would have been to eat well! How I would have been able to feel nurtured!
Finally, I chose the grains and green bowls. The man says I can add anything I like.
The wheat berries, the quinoa, the black-eyed peas. “Are they organic?” I ask.
“Yes.” He says.
The kale, the bok choy, the broccoli, the avocados. “Are they organic?”
His replies are music to my ears. For the past three years the answer has always been “No.” Or more likely, “I don’t know.” From the poor sod from India who had no idea what I was asking.
He fills my bowl. It’s a massive amount for only six dollars. He moves to the tubs of berries and seeds. I point to the blueberries, the goji berries, “Are they organic?”
Do you know how exciting this is? I want to gush.
I take the bowl of goodness to a lovely outdoor seating area. Everyone around me is dressed in exercise clothes. I see vigorous bare legs, lean arms, soap and water faces. I am no longer surrounded by skinny Indian men, thick-faced Egyptian men, and Qatari men, elegant in their thobes and gutras.
I don’t want my bowl of greens & grains to end. I don’t want to leave Whole Foods. I want to set up a tent and sleep in there. I’d be on the news; the girl who went crazy from health-food deprivation and wouldn’t leave Whole Foods.