Sunday, July 8, 2018

I cling to the strangest things

I have days when I wonder if I qualify as a borderline hoarder. I hang on to the strangest stuff. Like most people these days (or so I assume) we have a plastic bags stash. In fact, we have two: one for the usual plastic bags you get from the local supermarket or Target and one for the slightly smaller and flimsier bags that come from Family Dollar or Dollar General. The small bags are good for the small wastebaskets in the house; the regular bags fit the bigger burnable trash can.

So after taking the trash out the other day I reach into the bag stash to get a fresh bag for the trash can. And then I discover I don't particularly want to use the bag that made it to the top of the pile, at least not yet. It's like in the world of throwaway plastic bags, it's a keeper. Why is it a keeper? Because I'm unlikely to ever get another. The bag, pictured above, is, of course, from Arizona, but not just any part of Arizona. It's from the Bashas' market in Chinle. How likely, I ask myself, are we to ever shop at that particular Bashas again?

Actually, the odds aren't that bad. Chinle falls almost exactly midway between where the Younger Daughter lives in southern Arizona and where my mother and sister live in Colorado and sits on the shortest, most logical route, US-191. We've been through Chinle three times in the past 18 months; odds are we'll be going through there again. And if we have the Guppy we'll be camping. If we're camping, we'll probably go to Bashas. Even if we're not, it would a logical place to stop to pick up snacks or drinks.

And if we go to that Bashas, I'll once again marvel at the meat case and wish I liked mutton. You know, in the typical supermarket if you find lamb or mutton, it's in small discrete pieces neatly sealed in plastic. Little tiny lamb chops that are almost too cute to cook. Leg of lamb that was shrink wrapped in New Zealand. At the Chinle Bashas, however, there is no doubt you're looking at disassembled sheep. Not surprising, given that the supermarket is in the heart of the Navajo Nation, but a little disconcerting when you're used to seeing meat that's been packaged in a way that makes it easier to ignore the fact it used to be a live animal.

As a side note, shortly after we'd been through Chinle with the Guppy and had camped at the Cottonwood campground that's inside Canyon de Chelly Natonal Monument I read a review of the campground on a website. The person had been there about the same time we had and laid it on thick about "if you come, be sure to stock up on groceries in Holbrook or Winslow because there is no supermarket in Chinle!" Holy wah. How does a person fail to find a close to brand new modern supermarket that sits right on the major north-south highway through town? When we were there we figured out pretty fast that any town big enough to have multiple major chain hotels (Holiday Inn Express, for example), chain restaurants (Denny's, Burger King), gas stations, and that sits next to a popular tourist attraction (Canyon de Chelly) is going to have a grocery store of some sort. And it did: Bashas.

So what's the moral of this rambling on about plastic bags and travel? I need to let the S.O. be the one who deals with putting a fresh bag in the trash can. He doesn't care where any of the bags came from as long as there are no holes in the bottom.


  1. The minute I opened this blog, I recognized the written Dine' You see, I'm a registered member of the Navajo tribe. Have you ever traveled to Mexico? There you'll see open meat markets on quartz slabs and no refrigeration. You can see a whole animal being cut up. I've been to several open markets and it appears all handled the same way...the meat that is. Anyway, I grew up watching animals being butchered and we consumed everything except the hooves hahaha. One thing I notice, in watching movies, the head is always a delicacy. Watch 'The Desert Woman' with Nicole Kidman and you'll see Arabs giving her the prized roasted sheep head. On the cooking shows, Andrew Zimmerman, I see other cultures treasuring the cooked/roasted heads as a delicacy. I'm so familiar with that. Grandma roasted the sheep or goat heads in a deep fire pit with dampened burlap wrapped around the head to keep it moist. The hot ash/dirst covered head roasted for 1/2 day and it came out for supper moist, tender, and delicious. Go ahead and use the bag as a trash liner. You can always return to Chinle and get another bag :-)

    1. We will definitely be in Chinle again, although I'm not sure we'll have a reason to shop at Bashas. I love the Andrew Zimmern's series. I'm not sure I'd want to try to some of the foods he had, but he certainly does a nice job of showing that every culture has its favorite dishes that include ingredients most of us may never have an opportunity to try.

  2. I don't like to call it hording. I just prefer to call it saving good stuff that some day I may want to recycle by reusing it again. My work shed if full of some day maby recyclables.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. Rita Mizell: My wife and I spent eleven years in the remote Native villages of Alaska. At the Athabaskan Pot-latch they always serve Moose head soup - and it is delicious. Elders are sometimes given broken bones with marrow - better than butter. My wife is a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Massachusetts.

    the Ol'Buzzard


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