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Thanksgiving on a pizza - Joel Hall

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I made my once-a-season pilgrimage to Whole Foods Market. Almost impossible to find on the Southside, the organic grocery store chain carries something I can never seem to find most places -- finely-granulated sea salt.

I never used to need finely-granulated sea salt until I took my mother's advice and invested in a neti pot.

Ever since having my adenoids removed at the age of seven, I have been plagued by terrible sinus infections. At least four times a year, I would have to go to the hospital for a round of antibiotics in order to feel alive again.

The neti pot closely resembles Aladdin's lamp, but instead of rubbing the side and waiting for a genie to appear, you take a warm, salt-water solution, put the spout end in one nostril, and wait for nastiness to come out of the other nostril.

It sounds gross, but it's something yoga practitioners in India have been doing for centuries to feel better. I've been doing it for about a year and I haven't had to go to the doctor for a sinus infection since.

However, the solution requires a very specific type of salt, finely-granulated sea salt. Whole Foods Market is where I bought the pot, so it is usually where I go to buy the salt.

For someone who doesn't shop at Whole Foods Market on a regular basis, it's really a mind-blowing experience.

Its almost like entering a Central Asian bazaar somewhere along the Silk Road. Rastafarians, hippies, hipsters, and other Bohemian people talk about harvesting chi, string theory, and other metaphysical concepts. All the while, people shop for things like free-range beef, herb-crusted tofu, and yerba maté.

It was Sunday, so the store was packed to capacity. The congestion was further exacerbated by the fact that many people come there just to eat, or be seen.

Walking down the aisle with my finely-granulated sea salt, I almost felt like a poser without some kind of soy-based beverage in my hand. I was hungry, so I figured I could at least eat something while I was there.

Occasionally, I will visit a deluxe grocery store with a salad bar. I rarely visit places with two salad bars, a meat-that-died-with-dignity bar, a looks-like-meat-but-isn't bar, and a pizza bar. Unfamiliar with the system and not in the mood to pay $7.99 a pound for something made out of chickpeas, I gravitated toward the pizza area.

I soon discovered that everything at Whole Food Market is special. In addition to the traditional pepperoni pizza and the quasi traditional "Hawaiian pizza," there were other varieties that incorporated fresh mozzarella, leafy greens, and flesh, sliced tomatoes.

The pizza that caught my eye was the "Thanksgiving pizza."

I have come across some strange pizzas in my travels. I've eaten spinach, ham, and slightly-runny egg pizza in the subway in Austria, and I've eaten shrimp, corn, and mayonnaise pizza in karaoke booths in Japan. However, I have never come upon anything as interesting as Thanksgiving pizza.

The pizza was topped with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce; all the toppings you would come to expect from Thanksgiving. It all came together with a mild cheese and a stone-oven crust that couldn't be abandoned.

It was pure genius, and I couldn't leave without having a slice. I didn't quite know what to expect at first, but after a few bites, I was sold. I soon had the logy feeling usually associated with Thanksgiving.

While I only went to Whole Foods Market to buy salt, I got a slice of the holidays that was very satisfying.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at jhall@news-daily.com.