For those of you who have not yet visited the new Food Lion store in Wake Forest, which, based on the hoard of shoppers we had to fight our way through today there can't be many, I wanted to give you a quick rundown on a few of the things you can expect at this new modern location.
One of the first things I found unique was how all the sidewalks funnel you down to the sides of the building, you know, so you can enter the vestibule through the doors that are perpendicular to the front of the building (for those of you from Iron-Duff that's a fancy way of saying that there's a porch that sticks out from the front of the house and instead of having steps that go right up the middle the steps is over on each side). Strange thing was, when we got to the side of the vestibule, there won't no doors there. So what you have to do next is, step back out into the road, avoid getting hit, and then walk back to the front of the vestibule where the doors are (porch for those of you from Iron-Duff). I must say, having an awning over that front area (covered porch for those of you from Iron-Duff) would have been really handy during today's monsoon.
Now if you're thinking that all this work just to get inside might not be worth it, fear not, once inside you will find all the groceries you came for, not to mention the opportunity to stroll through the walk-in produce cooler. This room is properly humidified and adequately cooled in order to maintain the freshest vegetables in town. Upon exiting the produce cave you will find yourself wandering through their new state of the art Deli. Folks, they've got subs, pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, sushi, and even whole fried chickens. You can imagine my excitement viewing all of the delis offerings, especially after having to spend all that time in the produce cave. Produce cooler, are you kidding me? Hey Food Lion, how bout the next time ya'll get together to design a store and some young hipster walks in the room and says you need a produce cooler over there where the beer cave used to be, ya'll do a little adult'n and put him back on night shift stocking shelves. Trust me, a few months of night shift coupled with the disruption of his delicate circadian rhythm and he'll forget all about his organic vegan ways, but I digress.
So back to the deli, where today is Super Bowl Sunday and I'm about to buy myself a couple dozen Wing Dings. I'm thinking maybe I'll get a dozen regular Wing Dings and a Dozen Spicy Wing Dings, right? So I'm looking all up and down the hot shelf and I don't see any, so I asked this nice young fellow from the deli section where I might find the Wing Dings. I assumed he worked in the deli because he was wearing a blue, fresh out of the bag, Food Lion polo with a shiny new badge. The badge even had his name on it, or at least I think it was his name, it's hard to tell when they use them old-school Dymo labelers. I say all of this to help explain what happened next, because what I heard was a statement that I assumed was simply coming from the mouth of some new kid, one who doesn't understand the retail business yet, or maybe he just isn't up to speed on all things Food Lion yet, cause what he says was, "we don't make Wing Dings anymore"!! At that very moment I gave that young man my full attention, looked him right in the eyes, and demanded that he clarify his statement! Before the poor kid could even get out three good b's of a "b-b-b-but" stutter, another fellow decided he might need to intervene. Also wearing one of them new blue polo shirts with accompanying Dymo embossed name tag, although his denoted him as the "Deli Manager", he proceeded to confirm the young lads previously stated gut wrenching news by saying, "yep, that's right, we ain't gonna make those Wing Dings anymore. We got this brand new hot bar over here where you can get em any way you want em", as he points toward a rolling buffet that's just the right height to allow children to play. After a quick look around the bar, I realized that what he meant by "any way you want em" is that you can have em any way you want em as long as the way you want em is overheated to the point that the meat's drawn up on the bone and then dip em in a sticky sweet BBQ or Orange Sauce. Folks, that ain't the way I want em!
If you're wondering what I did next, I'll tell you. I did the only thing a self-respecting man can do, I grabbed one of those to-go boxes and proceeded to pick out a dozen of those overheated drawn up on the bone diabeetus sauce covered fake chicken wings. I didn't do this because I wanted to mind you, but rather because Beth had snatched me by the arm and told me to stop my whining, leave the poor deli kid alone, do or don't get some of them dang chicken wings either way she don't care, and come on so we can finish shopping. With my wings in the buggy, I finished my pouting while pushing our cart through the land of lost promises, all the while taking care not to bump into the little old ladies blocking the aisles while they waited to hear from the store manager as to whether or not the grand opening sale price for tuna fish would still be honored next week.
Now for those of you who are concerned about me and worry as to how I could possibly survive without Wing Dings, please rest easy, for I will eventually find a gas station deli that fixes their wings just the way I like em. I would like to ask however, that if you have a spare moment, you might want to say a prayer for the poor cashier that checked us out, I'm sure she'd appreciate it. Turns out that I wasn't the only one that was disappointed in our shopping experience and wondering what the world was coming to. By the time we got home, someone else had gotten in her fair share of whining too. Now while Beth may not share my affinity for Wing Dings, she did seem to have a few pet peeves when it came to bagging her groceries, along with a few choice words for the poor cashier that did the baggin. She seemed genuinely surprised that the cashier had placed our toothpaste in the same bag with all our cleaning supplies, which included a bottle of liquid bleach. I guess it takes a lot more than bagging bleach and toothpaste together to shock me nowadays, especially when the bagger is from the same generation that's eating Tide Pods. I can see the new ad campaign now;
"Are you looking for a mouthwash that delivers Whiter Teeth and a Brighter Smile, give Clorox a try. (Also kills germs known to cause bad breath)".
Beth also took issue with the fact that the cashier bagged our raw sausage and fresh mixed greens together. It's doing crazy things like this that can often lead to deadly cross contamination. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the young lady didn't provide us with any food safety precautions, I mean, at least she did have the decency to place the two items in one of them there "blue bags" so as we would know that what was inside would need to be refrigerated once we got home. Let's face it, at some point the consumer has to accept some modicum (limited amount for those of you from Iron-Duff) of responsibility for their own food safety. We've all heard those stories about families getting sick from their own cooking, and how it could've easily been prevented had they've simply followed some sound sanitation and hygiene practices when working in the kitchen. Lets take my sausage and mixed greens issue for example. By me merely selecting the proper utensils, this young cashiers bagging faux pas poses no health risk to me or my family whatsoever. I simply start my preparation by grabbing a cast iron skillet out from underneath the stove. Next, I turn one of the big stove eyes to medium-high (6-7). To prevent any sticking, I recommend that you allow the skillet to warm for 2-3 minutes, just long enough so that you can feel the heat coming up from the skillet when you wave your hand over it but not so long that it'll burn your fingers when you touch it. Once properly pre-heated, throw that sausage in the pan and cook it until its browned on both sides yet still greasy in the middle. The browning of the outside of the sausage is the most important step, as it ensures that the pan was hot enough to burn off any germs that the sausage might have picked up from touching them nasty greens.
If you have a chance to go visit the new Food Lion, I recommend you wait a few days. If all goes well it will stop raining, they will add some awnings, and if my call to action goes well, they'll have Wing Dings back on the shelf before March Madness begins.