Saturday, May 16, 2009

And while we're at it, let's make beaver and poutine our nation's appetizers. And can we do something about Shania Twain.

Grocery shopping is right up there with pelvic exams and organized religions as something I try to avoid. When we lived in San Francisco you could do all your grocery shopping online, at your leisure, then some young buck would bring it to your house, unpack it, and leave. Ah, my brief, civilized dot-com days.

Back to my have-not reality this week, where I found myself leaning on a grocery cart like some geriatric alcoholic on a walker, weaving my way through Sobey's trying to find something to feed my child. I cannot tell you how uninspiring it is to cook for someone who dips his fries in his milkshake.

I usually grab something healthyish to eat as I stagger around, otherwise everything looks tasty and I wind up with a cart full of Little Debbie cake wrappers and empty tubes of Pringles. Lately, I find myself grabbing packages of pepper flavoured, hot-smoked salmon. It cures my salt cravings in a sort of healthy way, but by the time I get to the check out my fingers are all greasy and I smell like I have some weird fishy yeast thing goin' on down south. Who cares, it gets me past the snack aisle without Cheesie dust build-up under my fingernails. 

Enlightenment presents itself in many forms, especially these days, so imagine my delight when I almost knocked over a display of Extreme Beans while cruising the grocery aisles. I fell to my knees and kissed the linoleum. Well, not really, but I felt like it. 

Extreme Beans, for the unenlightened, are the pickled, green bean stir sticks bartenders worth their salt, plop in a well-dressed Caesar. Not the salad. Crunchy and delicious, with or without the vodka, the mere sight of the spicy beans had me craving a bar stool under my ass.

Shortly thereafter, serendipity kicked in when I learned from Marketing magazine that Mott's is making a big fuss over this week being the 40th anniversary of the Caesar. They're going so far as to launch a petition to make the Caesar, Canada’s official cocktail. You mean is isn't already? For Lord's sake it matches our flag! Apparently, if there's enough consumer response, the company will ask Parliament Hill to make the “national drink” official. Maybe we can get them to deport Shania Twain at the same time. 

Hey... wait a minute, maybe that's a decent platform for one of our limp-celery wanna-bes! Finally something to vote for! Why not... no one's buying the anti-red tape brigade, or the latest Liberal bout of gas. Hell, according to Stats Canada we already guzzle 350 million Caesars annually. It would be a no-brainer for the first, quick-to-react no-brainer running in our 4-donkey race.   

According to the Mott's spin the first Caesar was concocted in Calgary of all places, and was inspired by Spaghetti Vongole (tomato and clams). This is where it gets too corny for me, but after naming the drink for the Roman commander-in-chief, legend has it a Caesar was served to some British idiot who, after tasting it, cried, "That's a good bloody Caesar!" Geesh you'd think they'd concoct a better story than that.     

In my opinion, the best bloody Caesar to be found in these parts is at White Point, and I'm not just saying that because they pay me. What puts big boy pants on the White Point Caesar is their specialty-of-the-house, infused vodka. That's right. The good folks at White Point soak their vodka in a mixture of really, really hot peppers, giving the vodka a bit of a peyote-esque Mexican kick (minus the fear of hallucinations and Montezuma's). Their bartenders will also happily run to the kitchen for a dab of horseradish, which in my opinion really separates the men from the boys.

All of this just makes me miss my friends, and the apres-ski bar at Georgian Peaks, where Caesars flowed like water. Above the music and ski boot shuffling, familiar voices would repeat a line, that wasn't as funny as the delivery: "Of course I sees her, whaddya think I am, drunk?" But, big sigh, since it's just past the crack of dawn, and I am a middle-aged hockey Mom in Halifax, with no vodka, Clamato, or horseradish, and I am not enough of an alcoholic to break into the neighbour's house and steal theirs – the spicy, patriotic goodness will just have to wait. 

Until then, I'll settle for the morning paper and an Extreme Bean.   

To sign the Caesar petition go to: