How comfortable are you when there is a free sample at the grocery store? Will you go up if there is a lady handing them out, or do you only try the products that are left alone in a covered stand in the cheese or produce section? I’ve always felt a bit awkward. Something in my head always said that the sample lady knew that I wasn’t really interested in the product. She knew I was just a greedy little kid in an adult body. You know what? Most of the time that is pretty true…the part about me being greedy, that is. However, not all sample ladies are guarding their samples. After all, they are getting paid to advertise.
When we lived in Minnesota, I got to play sample lady several times at Whole Foods Market. They made it fun, by letting us use the product in a recipe, rather than just dividing up plain whatever into small portions. Holiday weekends were especially fun, because we might be handing out samples of an entire meal (bite-sizes of course).
A few weeks ago, Kroger had a sample lady handing out samples of Boar’s Head brand cheese, mustard, and deli meat. I had purchased Swiss cheese from them before, so I didn’t really need to be convinced. Nonetheless, I walked over to chat with her. Maybe I thought I could make her feel more comfortable? Anyway, I ended up with a nice booklet of recipes using their meats and cheeses. Surprisingly, a lot of the entries look pretty realistic…as in not too strange to try out on your own family.
I’m still not perfect when it comes to eggs. Does anyone else find cooking the egg white without solidifying the yolk difficult? Well, the first recipe in the booklet is “braised eggs”. The photo looked like 3 sunny-side-up eggs in a cast iron skillet with slivers of Serrano ham and chopped chives. However, instead of just frying the eggs, you add 1/4 cup of hot water after the first minute of cooking. Over the next few minutes, the water cooks the egg whites and evaporates, leaving the yolks still a bit runny.
The Boar’s Head advertising scheme wasn’t successful. Bacon bits were substituted for the Serrano ham and Trader Joe’s Creamy Toscano took the place of their Manchego Cheese. Who needs Boar’s Head Jalapeno Pepper Sauce when you’ve got Tabasco?