It all started so innocently. I thought it would be nice to get some good pasta, and maybe some spicy sausage for carbonara.
The rigatone and orecchiete were, of course, sensible pasta options, and I can never resist giant shells when I see them, because you can’t get those at the supermarket. And really, giant squid ink pasta tubes are an *invitation*, don’t you think? Already I find myself dreaming of inside-out tuna casserole.
Anyway, clearly one has to buy good ricotta to go in one’s pasta shells, and The Deli also has that really good cocoa I can’t get elsewhere, so it makes sense to pick some up. Also, I’m out of harissa and the cookbook I accidentally bought this morning had a recipe in it that used harissa, so that’s clearly a reasonable purchase. And I use dried mushrooms *all the time*, which is why I’m out of them. And need more. This is all 100% totally justifiable.
And then, look, someone has invented tahini with cocoa in it, sort of like tahini Nutella. Only the most incurious of individuals could ignore that. Besides, here I am in a gourmet food shop, and I haven’t bought anything more outlandish than squid ink pasta.
Those mince pie cigars I made for the cricket were actually really good, and so it makes perfect sense to pick up some more filo pastry and consider other sweet options. But – well, shredded filo pastry is not something one sees every day (unless one goes into any middle eastern shop in Coburg, and really, how many of those are there?), so maybe I should get some of that instead.
Ooh, fondant in a jar! I’ve never bought fondant in a jar! And look, bergamot jammy sweet something or other. And rose jam! I’ve never had rose jam. And if I buy them in lots of two, they are cheaper. And is that eggplant pickle? No, it’s eggplant sweets. OK, really, no food blogger worth the name could *possibly* ignore something as fascinating as eggplant sweets, now, could she?
See, not my fault at all.
OK, my house is actually full of sweets right now, but that meringue is really, really pretty. And orange and cranberry rocky road is basically healthy, don’t you think?
Anyway, the important thing is that I have escaped without spending more than $100, which would really be very, very bad of me. And I didn’t get any of the interesting cheeses, and I left all the legumes and interesting rice and grain mixtures alone, and I didn’t touch the goat’s milk ice cream or the frozen artichoke bottoms, and I stayed strong and ignored the fact that panettone was on special and that there were all these fascinating hampers and things, so really, I can go to the counter with a clear conscience.
Wait, is that a cookbook behind the counter?
It’s totally OK to look at a cookbook while the lady is running up my purchases. Looking at cookbooks is not the same thing as buying them. Nope. I have looked at *many* cookbooks in my time and quite a few of them went right back on the shelf. Even if they were fascinating Greek cookbooks. With menus.
Well, probably not the ones with menus. I do like cookbooks with menus.
I think the important thing to remember here is that I did just go to the bank and put in the cheque from the Catholics for singing on Christmas Eve, and really, the cheque does actually cover all but $10 of my purchases. And that last $10 was pasta, which, as we have already discussed, is not just justifiable but necessary. In fact, since I bought more than $1o of pasta as well as the entirely necessary sausage and ricotta and cocoa, you could even say I’ve come out ahead, financially.
(But if you did, you’d probably be lying.)
The Deli can be found at 401 Sydney Rd, Coburg, which is dangerously close to where I live. If you have more self-control than I do, it’s an excellent source of Italian goodies, grains of all kinds, sourdough breads, all sorts of gorgeous oils for cooking and salads, the most beautiful nougats I’ve ever seen, and, well, all the other items mentioned above.
If you don’t have more self-control than I do, it is still all of these things, but it’s also dangerous beyond belief to your bank account. Treat it like a farmers’ market – take only cash, and leave when you run out. She who takes out her credit card is lost…