My Transylvanian grandmother is a resourceful old broad. She reuses almost every container that crosses her path, packing them with ambiguous foodstuffs and neglecting to remove the original labels. If she hadn’t always done it, I’d think it was intentional and meant to keep the sticky paws of visitors off of her stuff. She used to have that stereotypical Jewish grandma trait of insisting that we eat everything digestible that she had on hand, but times they are a-changin’ and our compulsive rummaging of her kitchen as adults usually involves her throwing her hands in the air and wandering off to sit somewhere. That is, of course, until we do something stupid like pick up a tub marked as feta cheese and look inside.
“What its this? It looks like soggy corn flakes…”
“GET AWAY FROM THAT AND COME SEE THESE BEAUTIFUL TETRABUDYOGO I BOUGHT FOR YOU.”
For those of you too lazy to click the link, that’s Hungarian for giant, circus-tent sized underwear.
I’ll try on whatever uncomfortably modest thing (usually undergarments or a bulky sweater) she scored at Ross for under a buck and get back to digging around in her cabinets. Sugar in the yogurt bucket, dish soap in a marmalade jar, a schnapps bottle full of corn starch, it’s a fustercluck. Thinking objectively, the habit is somewhat comforting because it implies that her memory is still good enough to recall what is where. She’ll try to defend it by telling us the story (again) of a friend of a friend’s husband who died after accidentally drinking rat poison because his wife kept it in an unmarked bottle in the liquor cabinet. “And dis is vhy I keep food labels on everytink… so I know eet’s food and not poison”.
On a recent visit, I was shocked to find a jar of Trader Joe’s wasabi mayonnaise that actually contained… get ready… wasabi mayonnaise. She’s an inspiration to me in so many ways, but letting her know what brainfart she had just inadvertently spurred seemed unnecessary. Sometime’s it’s best not to tell her what’s on my mind, like the time I refused a pair of size 11 Hushpuppies and she beat me with them from her living room all the way to my car, reminding me what an ungrateful little so-and-so of a grandchild I am.
So here’s another metacondiment. I refilled my jar of W.M. with the packet version, exactly like I gank empty bottles that once contained premium alcohol and refill them with rail garbage. Seriously. You think your guests will know the difference? They won’t. Label whores. All of them.
1 packet of Wasabi (available in premade sushi trays at the grocery store, or wrapped in a napkin at restaurants and pocketed)
2 packets of mayonnaise
Mix until thoroughly blended. Add more mayo if you’re a weenie.