29 January, 2008

The kitchen tip I learned tonight at the supermarket

As you may or may not have heard, the various weather forecasts all seem to agree that we are headed for a snowy few days. "We" being Israel generally, and my home area of Gush Etzion specifically. I've heard a lot of crazy estimates - things like "anywhere in the country from 500 meters above sea level and higher will be white (we're 960)," and "100 kph winds," and "a meter of snow," and on and on and on. I certainly won't believe any of these until I see them, but since any snow pretty much guarantees a snow day, I'm hoping for at least one day of relaxing at home with some hot chocolate.

I also thought it might be a good idea to go shopping tonight for enough food to last through the weekend, just in case getting in to Jerusalem gets tricky. Surprisingly, I wasn't the only one who had this idea, and so my 20 minutes of shopping was concluded with another 40 minutes of waiting in line at the checkout. The thing is, I've come to notice over the years that whichever line I choose is always the slowest. Therefore, when something ridiculous happens while waiting, I feel pretty much responsible. After all, I'm the one who put the jinx of being the slowest line on them, so it's my fault that the customer in front decided to: haggle the price of every item/demand that the cashier go find the item she unsuccessfully looked for/or whatever, you get the picture.

Anyway, tonight I thought I was pretty lucky - although all the lines seemed really full, I found one with only 3 lightly filled carts. I pulled in behind the last, which was being guarded by two kids, aged around 8 and 10. They were play-fighting, and all of us surrounding adults kept looking at them and at each other, wondering if we were supposed to step in at some point. Eventually their mother showed up, and so we were saved from responsibility, but alas, she brought with her another full shopping cart. Yep, turns out that they were just holding her place in line with the partially full one. Okay, it's just the jinx, I'm still no worse off than anyone else. I'll just wait it out - no rush, everything's fine...

She went forward to bag her groceries (right, we often don't have baggers here), and left her kids in the rear to load the stuff from the cart. And it was going slow, but steady. Until... her son poorly placed a bottle of olive oil, and bam - it was on the floor. Well, okay, what can I do? It's my fault, after all.

The cashier pushed a button, and pushed some more, and eventually some clean-up kid came over. He evaluated the situation, and breathed out, "ooh-wah." He then went back past me and the other folks in line, and disappeared. A couple minutes later he came back with 2 bags of flour - he put them on the floor, and disappeared again. Now we the customers were intrigued.

We had a bunch of speculations, and we were a bit skeptical. Can flour soak up oil? Will they both just disappear? What the heck is going to happen? The kid came back, and proceeded to heavily sprinkle the flour all over the oil. It was pretty fun to watch, and he kept going back for more. He had poured out 4 or 5 kilo by the end, when I suddenly realized that I should take a picture - otherwise my kids would never believe the story:

When it was all covered, he spread it out evenly, and started trying to sweep. Lo and behold, the stuff below the top layer of flour looked kind of like dough, and although he struggled to get it with the broom (people started yelling suggestions - "you need a squeegee! use a paint scraper!") it did come up with a bit of pushing, and was swept away.

So in the end it was an educational trip. I would never have thought of sprinkling flour if a huge amount of oil suddenly spilled on the floor at home. I suppose the fact that I didn't know is a good sign - here's hoping that none of us need to use this new information.

Keep warm, everyone!


Anonymous said...

That's really interesting! I also didn't know that. Great picture.

Anonymous said...

Where were you on Friday morning when a pot of oil went flying off the stove (we seem to have a poltergeist in the house)?

toby said...

mirj, I'm so sorry - that sounds awful! Hopefully the cold weather will exterminate your poltergeist...