Weekend Meditation: On Grocery Shopping

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Many people don't enjoy grocery shopping but I do. I think this is because I'm a bit of a maverick: It's rare that I have a list and my usual strategy is to meander about, browsing in every isle, looking for inspiration and a new brand of applesauce. It's not unusual for me to spend two hours in a grocery store. Two blissful hours.

(Image: Dana Velden)

I concede that I'm not trying to feed a family of four or holding down two jobs while in medical school. But give me the choice between say, Bloomingdales or a trip to Rainbow Grocery and I'll take the later anyday. It also helps that I live in a city with some interesting grocery stores and bodgas, but I've also been known to do this in suburban mega-stores.

For me, grocery shopping is not a chore to be quickly over and done with. It's an opportunity to explore and discover, to see what tugs at my imagination. I try to pick up at least one unknown item per visit and firmly believe my life is the better because of this. Recently, I've discovered wonderful things such as goat's milk butter, jam made with local berries and rosemary, and that heavenly Indian mango called Alphonso.

By the way, I want to be clear that I am not one of those grocery store space cadets, wandering cluelessly down the middle of the isle, blocking traffic in both directions as I stare, baffled, at the myriad pasta shapes. I observe strict grocery store etiquette by always being aware of the people around me, parking my cart out of the way of crowded isles, helping the checker bag my groceries and always having my method of payment queued up.

Are there any others out there from my tribe? It seems more often than not that it's all worried, harried people, rushing down the isles, grinding their teeth and clutching their lists. If that's you, I hope that one day you can try the grocery store meander. It's good, sometimes, to be spontaneous and inefficient. Especially in public.

Related: Oxbow Public Market

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Store, Weekend Meditation

Dana Velden is a freelance food writer. She lives, eats, plays, and gets lost in Oakland, California where she is in the throes of raising her first tomato plant.

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