April 19th

theresa albert - my friend in food


(Yeasty) King of spades

health food store

Theresa wanted us to visit a health-food store this week. She gently explains what to expect upon entering. I am a bit surprised that this explanation is needed. Even me – a pop-guzzling, macaroni and cheese eating, chemical cleaning sprayer, disposable diaper purchaser – has been into one. What’s great is that health food stores are mainstream now, in spite of their unique  blended lentil, anise and lavender aroma.

This week the goal was to introduce some funky new crunch to the menu – mainly in the form of hemp, chia, yeast and miso. I already had chia and hemp but had never purchased yeast before and decided to ask for help.

I had some vague notion that it was yellow and used in baking. Hhhmmm…

Our health food store is attached to an awesome bakery so I figured I would breeze in, pick up the few items and have a coffee ( I am stockpiling my caffeine – you’ll see why next weeek…ggrr…).

Have I mentioned that I live in Quebec?

And that my eight year old son speaks better french than I do?

Have I also mentioned that even when he was 2 he was more fluent than I am?

Oh, and that I was in this store – without him - or any other translator? Ok, I will continue….

To be fair, there is one employee here who speaks English. She was nowhere, I checked. Twice. You have no idea how much I regret paying more attention to my next smoke break than my french back in high school and how much I dread not being able to communicate properly now.

I approach the most sympathetic employee I can find and ask her in broken, apologetic french where they keep the yeast.


I don’t know the word for yeast so this is tricky. I start to describe ingredients in a cake. Dans un gateau, dans un gateau.. I keep repeating, meaninglessly….um, ok…Theresa mentions in her book that nutritional yeast is sometimes used in place of Parmesan cheese so I decide to try this.

Ce n’est pas la même, c’est presque comme du fromage pas le meme pas le meme ..It’s not the same but almost like cheese but not the same, the same…

This gets me a blank stare and a shrug…ok, so it goes…and goes…and finally.


Her eyes snap open, her body alert now, she says in her equally broken english: oh, for the yeast? YES?!?! We have!!!

I will have my yeast and my coffee, even if I have lost my dignity and part of my will to live….

We walk briskly, past the barrels of dry goods…past the canned items and the frozen food dept.

Abruptly, she stops, looks pleased and points.

Um, we are in the dairy section. Lined up, row after row of yogurt; some are local, most are organic. But still it’s yogurt, not yeast.

Even I am pretty sure I know the difference.

What the- Oh wait….oh crap…blushing furiously, I get it…she thinks I have a yeast infection. And she thinks I am asking for yogurt because it is a treatment option occasionally used with these kinds of things. She probably thinks all my stuttering and stammering and blushing is because of my *condition* .

I must leave here immediately.

I will buy my yeast online, as Theresa mentions can be done.

Yes, I will find a wonderful online store that sells yeast, in English. Taking care to look distressed (I discard the idea of actually scratching) I grab a few containers of yogurt – plain, of course – and skipping even the coffee, I fly outta there!!!

post script: The yogurt was lovely. I made smoothies all week with it, adding some hemp and chia but not any of the miso paste. That I reserved for the dressing posted in the book. It was also lovely but I am trying to make it last. They don’t sell it at the local grocery store and there is no way I am going back to the health food store anytime soon!



My name is Marci. I run an online clothing swap for women that I started when I realized my own closet contained a range of 6 sizes to accommodate my ever-fluctuating weight. I am also an almost 40 year old mother of two who has decided to stop blaming her *thyroid* issues for making her eat copious amounts of pizza and chips. I have read every book, clipped every article and still cannot seem to make sense of a very simple concept – live healthily. To date, the only things I have managed to *ace* have been my poker face and my love for all things chocolate. I am looking forward to sharing this journey through Ace Your Health. Let’s just see how it goes this time!.... www.spaghettiandspanx.com


10 Responses

    January 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm Reply

    I love this post. I’m sitting in the cafe having my lunch while reading this. You had me laughing out loud.

    I can’t quite say that I’ve had this exact issue, but I know that it’s tough finding the health food stores and them having everything on your shopping list.

    Keep it up and I look forward to your next post.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm Reply

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by marci o'connor, saramphoto and marci o'connor, marci o'connor. marci o'connor said: http://myfriendinfood.com/2011/01/31/yeasty-king-of-spades/ [...]

    Theresa Albert
    January 31, 2011 at 1:49 pm Reply

    Oh Marci,
    I would feel like such a fish out of water in the same situation. I have a feeling that you are not alone!

    You are looking for “nutritional yeast” like from beer rather than “for a cake”.

    Bob’s Red mill makes one and I find it at my Loblaws in the healthy or bulk section. Hope that helps. Wish I could say all that in French!

    January 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm Reply

    you crack me up! Keep it coming!! BTW, yeast is “levure”, but I’m not sure about nutritional yeast.

    January 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm Reply

    too. funny.


    that is the word you needed. but i am kind of glad you did not know that at the time;).

    and glad you got to eat the yogurt and not…never mind.

    Pam @writewrds
    January 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm Reply

    Too funny!! Good thing the smoothies were tasty : )

    January 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm Reply

    lol…I actually went through exact same thing less then 6 months ago trying to buy nutritional yeast (probably at same store Marci). It is in the bulk bins:) I got the manager guy and I have no idea how I finally communicated to him but I got it!

    February 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm Reply

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by marci o'connor, Theresa Albert. Theresa Albert said: What happened to @suzieswapper in the health food store that sent her home in tears? http://ow.ly/3OWxh [...]

    February 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm Reply

    Marci, it is always good to know there are more people in the world who suffer from my issue of being horribly misunderstood.

    February 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm Reply

    Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

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