Friday, February 25, 2011
My Ode to Trader Joe's
Good food has lousy shelf life. That means to cook fresh food and drink wine at home regularly means you have to go shopping a lot. Even if -- like me -- you think going to stores is not recreation, but a big pain in the butt. To cope, I think of my shopping excursions as conversations between me and the market. "Hey, this looks good," or "Here's a good deal for you," it tells me. "Whatever," I yawn.
Hence, I offer this question: If Whole Foods and Trader Joe's were people, who would you want to hang out with?
My answer is Trader Joe's, hands down. I think that place is made for non-shoppers like me who love a bargain and a story. It's the only chain in these parts that is almost as interesting as my favorite neighborhood markets.
Why? They screen what they offer me, to weed out the crap (First-rate fish, peanut butter, bananas, chocolate, etc.) And they make it easy and cheap to eat healthy -- without lecturing or scaring me about bad ingredients. Plus the wine selection gives us tons of choice for everyday Porch wine, including tasty, local brands. Pity they don't have a tasting room.
In all, Trader Joe's feels like a worldly, practical, witty pal. While Whole Foods, in contrast, seems a bit snobby, judgmental, humorless -- more of a friend to upscale nesters rather than to scrappy explorers.
With exercise, the trick is to find something you love to do and do it often. Same with stores, I guess. Your favorites?
Now, if TJ's was only within bike distance from my home......