Today I did something I’ve avoided doing for years: I shopped at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.
Yes, it’s a famous Pittsburgh-area foodie destination; yes, they have all kinds of delicious things like amazing cheese and orgeat syrup and amazing olive oil and real Italian imported everything. It is indeed hard to fathom that one might not want to go there.
Here’s the thing: I really don’t like crowds. And the other thing I know about Penn Mac is that, on a Saturday, the crowd there is fierce.
But now, living mere blocks away, I can easily shop there on a Thursday afternoon, when it’s not crowded at all. I can stand in front of a tall shelf filled with a dozen kinds of anchovies and take my time deciding which to buy. (I bought two kinds.) I can wander through and pick up just a few things, whatever I want to fix for dinner. I can check right out — no waiting for a cashier. It’s a very civilized grocery experience, mid-week.
One prize I acquired in this maiden shopping voyage was a bottle of orange olive oil from Sicily: “fresh olives and oranges are crushed together.” I served it as a simple dipping oil with cubes of fresh bread. So, so very delicious.
I still didn’t go to the cheese counter though. One step at a time.