Like Evan Kleiman in her interview with Julie Makinen, we were skeptical. Thinking of 99-Cent stores, and we can't help but envision rows of dented canned meat, the occasional cake mix, and rolls upon rolls of scratchy toilet paper.
But Makinen tells us not to judge so quickly...
Makinen says she's started noticing produce, dairy, and even organic fruits and veggies at the 99-Cent store in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Items are occasionally expired, but these fresh items, as well as the canned and boxed items, are more often surplus from other markets or the victims of packaging-design changes.
She does caution that you need to approach your 99-Cent store experience with a certain amount of flexibility. Since stock is constantly changing and moving, you can never be entirely sure that the canned tomatoes you scored last week will be there again. A good challenge for those of us learning to cook without recipes!
While a gourmet meal might be a challenge, Makinen assures us that we can indeed formulate an entire meal of 99-cent items! She writes about her own 99-Cent meal in her LATimes article, "Making a Meal of 99-Cent Items," and you can also listen to Evan Kleiman's entire interview with Makinen over on the Good Food website.
Do you shop at 99-Cent Stores for your groceries?
(Photo Credit: 99-Cent Store)