Ever since the maids stopped coming, there seemed to be only weird food in the kitchen. There were no delicious Parmesan-cheese twists or thin chocolate-chip cookies from Tate's Bakery -- instead there was only the food that was left from the day before that she hadn't eaten. Food she hated, like pasta and vegetables that were the color red. And in the laundry room, which she noticed had been awful quiet lately, her clothes were beginning to pile up like a little Mount Talbot's.
After several days of this, Ruth decided to do something drastic. She would go to the grocery store herself. As a little added extra challenge, she decided not to go to Citarella. Instead, she went to the distinctly more downmarket Food Emporium. She knew she'd never be recognized there. Especially if she wore a hat.
Strolling through the aisles of Food Emporium, she clutched the shopping list she'd found on a counter in one of the maid's rooms. She recognized most things on the list, except for mystery ethnic brands like "Cafe Bustelo" and "Fab," but she figured she could ask someone else's maid at the store. (This was a not entirely successful tactic -- she very much hoped that during their brief, unpleasant conversation, Grace Hightower hadn't recognized her because of her hat.) She'd filled her shopping cart halfway, and was just beginning to look for "detergent" when the most dreadful thing happened -- paparazzi found her. Damn that wife of Robert De Niro!
"Oh, this is crazy, forget this!" she huffed as they snapped away, pushing away her cart full of Jarlsburg (her favorite) and American (something Liz Smith told her about) cheeses. "Oh, very exciting, I went to the grocery store." She stormed out of the market and rushed back to her house. Once she got in the door, she opened a jar of rollmops, secretly relieved. Going to the market was a scary enough step for one day. Actually having to do the laundry would have been simply too much to handle.