Step One

The produce section of Fry’s Grocery Store located on Tatum and Bell in Phoenix, AZ. Photo by Alexis Kuhbander

As the automatic doors slide open, the smells and aroma of fresh vegetables fill my nostrils. Bananas, tomatoes, squash, onions, eggplant, cilantro, parsley, mushrooms, broccoli, grapes, and plums line the aisle. However, none of this is what my stomach is yearning for. I walk around the various produce stands and then suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see it. A grin appears on my face as I start heading towards the incredible stack of cauliflower.

I feel my heart beat with anticipation as I grab two heads of the vegetable and place it in my shopping cart. Then, I turn my head side to side looking for the next ingredient in this beautiful creation. Onions. Squinting my eyes and panning for them over the supermarket, I make eye contact with my tearful friend. Then, I proceed to take an onion from its home on the shelf and place it in my cart. My eyes make one last pan across the produce department before I move to the next aisle.

Fresh cauliflower with a creative spin on the vegetables features. Photo by Horia Varlan on Flixr and Creative Commons. Edited by Alexis Kuhbander

As I turn the corner, I find myself with the spices. Quickly glancing at my list, I realize I do need a few of the ingredients from this section. Approaching the bottles of spices is almost overwhelming since there seems to be an unlimited supply of flavor. Rosemary, cinnamon, onion powder, dried parsley, oregano, cumin, peppercorn, and much more makes my mouth water. But I remember there is a purpose to being here, and quickly grab the spices I need; nutmeg, salt, pepper, and — — but wait. Where is the garlic powder? My eyes dart across the different brands and bottle sizes wondering if I missed where it is located. There is every kind of powder, but not the one I need. Just as the frown appears on my face, it is quickly dismissed as I lock eyes with an empty row in the abundance of aromatics. I reach my hand all the way to the back, where one bottle remains. I grasp it in my hand, pulling it out slowly not to jinx what might happen, and I am rewarded in the end. Garlic Powder.

I toss the small plastic bottle into the cart and stroll throughout the store, humming in my head. I begin to daydream about how delicious my creation will soon taste but remember I still lack some of the essentials for that to happen. I come upon the baking aisle, where I grab a bag of flour. The recipe calls for chicken broth; however, I am stuck with a difficult decision to make. Should I buy the chicken broth prepared in the box or by bouillon cubes and make the broth myself? After a serious negotiation in my head, I decide nothing sounds better than this creation being made entirely from the bottom up and buy the cubes.

Now that I’ve tacked on more cooking, I head into the next aisle quickly to get a bottle of roasted garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil. Looking over my list and checking off all that I have obtained I realize I have forgotten a couple of things from the dairy department. I start to head towards the aisle when a curious smell fills my nostrils. With a few sniffs of the air, my stomach automatically glides my cart over the bakery. Cookies, cakes, brownies, doughnuts, bagels, and more are being placed out on display for customers to buy. I sniff the air again to determine where the smell is coming from, and realize it is on a table labeled, “Freshly Baked Bread.” As I approach the pleasant smell, I toy with the idea of making the starch fit into my dinner. I grab one of the loaves and place it by my purse in the cart, so the other ingredients do not destroy its soft texture.

Then I proceed to the dairy section where I get a half-gallon of milk and some butter which finishes my shopping. The smile I have been wearing throughout most of my shopping trip remains on my lips as I head towards the checkout area. I enter a line that has a few customers ahead of me and begin to place the items on the belt when it is my turn. The cashier sees my smile and instantly sends one back my way as she takes my cash. “Making something good tonight?” she asks as she hands me back my change and a receipt. I nod my head and reply, “Oh yes, this is going to be the best soup I think I’ve ever made.” She smiles again, and we share goodbyes as I grab my bags and put them back in my cart. I walk out of the store, happily ending step one in my cooking adventure.

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