Out of all the terrible things that come with a global pandemic, there are a handful of silver linings. Grocery pick-up popularity is at the top of my list.
When my phone broke recently, I lost access to the precious app that kept track of my grocery list. Before the fatal drop, I could add anything to my virtual cart 24/7. Once I pulled the trigger to commit to the cart, I would simply drive up, announce my arrival through the app and await delivery of my grocery items to my open trunk.
It was so beautiful. You truly don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
I’ve been living like a caveman for over a week now, and while there are some things (ahem, social media) not having in my pocket I know are better for me, my access to grocery pick-up is not one of them. If I get to have my phone back from the repair shop as good as new, I promise I’ll never take my grocery app for granted again.
As I entered the big grocery store with a real-life cart, I have to admit I was a little giddy with the possibilities. With online grocery shopping, I look up what I want. This is good in that I don’t have to search the aisles for vegan caviar, for example; I simply add it to my cart with a click, and then someone whose job is to know where things are in the store adds it to a real life cart. Such a beautiful thing.
However, this process doesn’t allow for browsing the aisles just for the sake of seeing what’s out there. And this is exactly why I ended up with a papaya, a rutabaga and a chayote squash.
I was like a kid in a candy store. Or an adult who likes to cook who hasn’t been inside a grocery store in a really long time. I was clearly under the spell of the fluorescent lights, whining toddlers and a variety of smells, both human and otherwise.
Although I know I don’t love papaya, it’s beauty lured me in. Plus, they have all kinds of health benefits and the pea-sized seeds are edible. So I went for it.
The first (and second and maybe third) bite is a little funky. Kind of musky, not super sweet. But it grew on me, especially when combined with other fruits such as raspberries, grapes and bananas. The fruits were all competing with big flavors and textures in a fruit salad.
It was a really nice change of pace that actually outshined the pancakes they were served with. The pancakes were whole wheat with flax seed, but still, that’s high praise.
I made these recipes, and they were great. I omitted the cinnamon and blueberries in the pancakes, for no reason except that I was going for a “regular” pancake. Worked out just fine.
Try these recipes with your grocery store finds.
Whole wheat blueberry flax pancakes
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup ground flax
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ¾ cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir. Whisk together all of the wet ingredients. Add more milk if the batter is too thick. Gently fold in blueberries.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir. Cook on a griddle over medium heat until edges bubble and flip. Cook to desired golden brown. Serve warm with extra berries on top and real maple syrup.
Adapted from lemonsandzest.com.
Papaya seed dressing
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh papaya seeds
Blend the vinegar, oil, chopped onion, honey, salt, and mustard until smooth in a blender, then add the papaya seeds and pulse until they look like coarsely ground peppercorns. Toss with salad greens.
Adapted from houseofnasheats.com.
Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to [email protected] or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.