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The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
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is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 02.22.05
Montreal

GREG DUNCAN

Check this out, eh?

Let's talk checkout lines. Specifically, let's talk about manners at the grocery store. Apparently, some folks don't have any and you know who you are.

There is an increased incidence of road rage in the food aisles and I'm fed up. So should you be.

I've established a few rules that, if everyone would obey, just might make the shopping experience a little more pleasant. I love to shop for groceries, or at least I used to.

While this may not be way up there on everyone's list of favorite things to do, I see a heck of a lot of people who do not seem to have day jobs wandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle. A line up on Monday at 10.30 a.m.?

Rule Number 1

If the express check out sign lists eight items or less and you have fifteen items, get the #$%&*x# out of the line. Can't you read?

Rule Number 2

If it's your job as a cashier to monitor Rule Number 1, Do some scolding and enforce the damn rule.

Rule Number 3

Never, ever wear your pajamas to the grocery store. This growing trend is stretching the limits of fashion and does nothing for my appetite. We are not going to admire you for wearing Sponge Bob Square Pants flannels. Victoria's Secret. maybe.

Rule Number 4

Buy your "scratch and lose" lotto tickets somewhere else. I'm sick of you people who hand pick numbers for the office pool at the IGA. You've wasted at least 6.49 minutes of my time every two days for the past twenty years and I figure you owe me most of your winnings in compensation. Go to Vegas, will you?

Rule Number 5

Take a driving lesson. If you can't navigate using a cart, get thee a basket. I've seen you using a cart as a walker for full-body support. Jiminy Crickets, woman. Why not just bring your recliner on wheels to roll around on?

You're not here to shop obviously. You are here for the view and to roll over my heels every minute aren't you?

: Rule Number 6

Banish those four -wheel drive kiddy carts. If you want to show your kids a good time take them to the park or arcade. These behemoth car carts might be okay at Disney but not in the seafood section. Just when did bringing the whole daycare to the store constitute a field trip anyway?

Bumper cars in aisle 3 anyone?

Rule Number 7

Get your grimy hands out of the olives. Do you really think I want to subject myself to your disgusting germs? There are tongs and spoons provided and I expect you to use them.

It's not a buffet for you and your slimy children and I'm sick of your double-dipping shenanigans. Thank goodness there are sneeze guards. Did I mention the hidden camera?

Rule Number 8

Scan my selections and bag my groceries, please. If I wanted to do all the work myself I'd go into the business. I'm not a trained cashier and don't want to be. If you want me to be bag boy or a checkout chick, then pay me. I'm not here to take a perfectly good job away from a deserving individual. Want me to stock the shelves, too?

Rule Number 9

This is for the store- owners -- I'm not here to run a marathon. Put the butter with the yogurt and milk. Put the cheese nearby and don't make me walk a half- mile back in the direction I just came from to get the coffee creamer. I know what you are up to you silly supermarket sly dogs, you.

I need tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Why then are you putting the paste with the tuna in the other aisle? I'll be charging you for a pair of good runners soon.

Rule Number 10

This one is for those wonderful government decision makers - change the law in Quebec to allow more than four individuals to work in the stores after 5 p.m. on a Saturday or Sunday. This stupid law is creating huge line- ups at the cash and is the primary cause of the aforementioned grocery store road rage.

We know what you are up to here. Your monopoly on Lotto, wine, beer and milk pays you higher profits when purchased at the depanneur. In fact, you earn more dollars through paid taxes when we purchase items of convenience at premium prices. Even toilet paper is a luxury in your books, right?

You finally made it though the line? Here is a good way to make up for time lost by using one of those pre-cooked chickens available everywhere.

Scalloped Chicken and Potatoes

1 lb. precooked chicken- diced
2 lbs potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
1-tablespoon flour
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (less freshly grated)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Spray a 9" x 13" glass baking dish with non-stick oil spray. Lay half of the potato slices on bottom of dish. Sprinkle evenly with flour, garlic and chicken. Top with remaining potato slices. Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, milk or broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over potato layers. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly on top. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 30 minutes more, until lightly browned on top.

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