I’m sure you’ve heard by now that food prices for basic necessities like wheat, eggs and meat are on the rise. You may have already seen the effects of this in your grocery store. Well yesterday, after shopping for bananas (really, that’s all I was there for) I thought of a great job position that grocery store operators should create. First, the story…
In my local Kroger grocery store, certain produce items like spinach and bagged salads that are close to expiring tend to go on a “Manager’s Special” and be offered at 50% of the original price. I eat lots of veggies and LOVE when I find something that I want in good condition on sale. It’s almost a game — these items are highly coveted by constant shoppers like myself, so it’s rewarding when you are one of the lucky people that gets to snatch up a sale item. Or maybe that’s just how I feel about it.
Anyway, I wandered over to this section yesterday merely to browse and saw that oyster mushrooms were on sale. As I looked them over, a European woman approached me and began to promulgate about how great mushrooms are and what an extraordinary deal it was to find an 8oz. pack on sale for $1.89 when the same size package normally costs $5.00 at Whole Foods. She was elated because her son is “berserk” about mushrooms and could not wait to show him the six (two of which were 16oz.) packages she picked up.
She then went on to describe her favorite preparation method: simply sliced and sauteed in a half cup of white wine with salt, pepper, and a healthy dollop of sour cream that you add at the end until slightly melted. “Just warm it, you don’t want it to curdle,” she explained.
When I asked about adding garlic to the pan, she said that she never does because she enjoys the taste of mushrooms too much and does not want garlic to overpower them. This was a novel concept to me as I love garlic and add it to almost everything I make.
I was entranced by this woman and how she depicted this simple but beautiful recipe. In the time it took for her to describe how her son goes berserk for golden-cooked mushrooms and divulge that the best “cheap” white wine was on sale for $3.99 just three aisles over, I made up my mind to buy those mushrooms. And the wine. How could I not after she described it to be one of the best whites she’s had in a long time, and one that she finds just as easy to help make dinner as well as drink with dinner?
I was an absolute sucker for this woman’s stories, and I made her mushroom recipe to the best that I could last night. I have to say that she was right on. If you enjoy the actual taste of mushrooms, you will love this recipe. Simple, rich, and healthy all at once. I really don’t think I had previously cooked mushrooms just to serve as mushrooms. Usually I include them as an ingredient in a main dish. But this recipe lets you savor and appreciate them just as they are.
I doubt that Kroger planted this woman by the sale produce items, but think about how they could off-set their rising food costs by hiring people like her to scope out people like me that enjoy being schlepped into a good recipe! Having a “secret buyer” of sorts (similar to a secret shopper) could help stores cycle through their inventory and reduce their waste. The nerd is coming out in me, but really, Kroger should look into that.
I really hope to see this woman again in the store. But until then, the least I can do is share this recipe.
Serves 2 to 3
8oz. sliced white or oyster mushrooms
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup sour cream
1. Slice mushrooms thinly (about 1/4″ thickness).
2. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper, cook for 1 more minute.
3. Add wine to pan. Allow liquid to start boiling and then reduce heat to low to medium-low. Cook until mushrooms are fragrant and slightly browned (about 3 – 4 minutes).
4. Add sour cream to pan and allow to liquify a little. Stir to combine. Keep heat low so the cream does not curdle.
5. Enjoy with a side of chardonnay.