Maria Speidel

Maria Speidel is a writer who lives and cooks in a yellow house in Studio City, CA. She loves spotting the owls in her neighborhood.
We Went to the Nation’s Biggest IKEA; Here’s What We Saw and Learned
If you thought IKEA couldn’t get any better, you thought wrong. On February 8, the biggest IKEA in North America will open in Burbank, California. The biggest, we say! At 456,000 square feet, the new IKEA Burbank edges out the 450,000-square-foot store in Schaumberg, Illinois, as North America’s largest, but falls short of the world’s largest, in Seoul, South Korea, where shoppers can traipse through a 625,000-square-foot store. (Most branches in the U.S.
Jul 16, 2020
I Love Thanksgiving, but My Husband Hates It: The Story of a Holiday Divided
Every November, sometime after my husband’s birthday on the 13th, the same scenario plays out. As we start contemplating our Thanksgiving plans, my husband gets a look on his face and our conversation takes a Seinfeldian turn (remember the Festivus episode?). Michael says something like, “It has to be turkey, right?” I nod, knowing what comes next. “I mean if turkey is so great, why do we only eat it once year? How about we have fish and chips? Or chicken tikka masala?
May 24, 2019
I Went to Whole Foods’ New Cheaper Store and Here’s What I Learned
What's 365? In a locally sourced, organic nutshell: It's kind of like Whole Foods and Trader Joe's had a baby. Read this before you go.
May 1, 2019
10 Things That Are (Much) Cheaper at 365 than Whole Foods
The 365 by Whole Foods Market stores are billed as a lower-price version of the mother store, but how much will you really save? I decided to investigate. On the same day in February, I checked the prices of items in regular rotation on my grocery list at the 365 by Whole Foods in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles and an old-school Whole Foods seven miles away in Glendale, CA. Here’s what I found out. Almost all items were less expensive at 365 — some amazingly so.
May 1, 2019
10 Grocery Store Shortcuts That Are Cheaper than Doing It Yourself
Sometimes a shortcut can save you time and money.
May 1, 2019
5 Reasons You Should Always Buy a Rotisserie Chicken
Have you ever wondered why the readymade, warm-and-waiting-for-you rotisserie chicken at grocery stores is so cheap? At Whole Foods, for example, a rotisserie chicken costs $7.99 and an organic one is just $9.99. And Costco sells them for $4.99 Here’s another fun fact: Costco alone sells something like 70 million a year — and they do so at a financial loss. So, what gives?
May 1, 2019
Which Has Better Prices: Trader Joe’s or 365 by Whole Foods Market?
Both offer much to gourmands and enterprising home cooks — but all differences aside, where will you get more bananas for your buck?
May 1, 2019
Where to Shop to Get the Best Deals on Really Good Halloween Candy
Here's where to go in order to fill your cauldron without emptying your wallet.
May 1, 2019
Experts Explain Exactly Why You Spend Too Much Money at Target and IKEA
And at Target. Plus, eight tips to help you become a smarter shopper.
May 1, 2019
4 Reasons This Grocery Store Is the Best Place to Buy Ground Beef for Your Burgers
Is there a better harbinger of good times and warm weather than the smell of burgers on the grill? Plus, burgers are economical and the original low-prep dinner. What could be simpler than shaping patties and slapping them on the backyard Weber? Nothing. The only complicated part is picking out a ground beef we can all feel good about. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but ground beef is a leading cause of food poisoning.
May 1, 2019
6 Frozen Fruits That Are Cheaper than Fresh at Trader Joe’s
My kids love smoothies, so I’ve been tossing those bags of frozen fruit into my shopping cart for years. It’s a no-brainer in the winter, too — of course a bag of frozen strawberries is going to be less expensive than a carton of out-of-season (and probably terrible-tasting) fruit! Plus, frozen fruit makes the smoothie extra frosty. And as nutritionist Marion Nestle points out in her 2006 book What to Eat, freezing food has “no effect on the nutritional value of produce.
May 1, 2019
10 Things You Should Always Be on the Lookout for at Stores Like HomeGoods and Marshalls
What’s good for the kitchen at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods? Um, to sum it up briefly, a lot! I have a fairly intense relationship with Marshalls. I grew up shopping their Bedford, MA, store and now I am lucky enough to live near a “really good one” outside Los Angeles. This is not just my personal opinion — I am quoting a very impressed gentleman I heard remark as he walked through it.
May 1, 2019
The New $9 Trader Joe’s Product That Actually Made Me Squeal When I Saw It
Can Trader Joe’s read my mind? Two weeks ago, I unfurled the very last bits of what had been two jumbo boxes of Costco’s Kirkland brand Stretch-Tite plastic cling wrap — it only took me 18 months to get through the rolls — dumped the cardboard box and roller in the recycling bin, and immediately became conflicted about buying a replacement.
May 1, 2019
5 Veggies That Are Cheaper When You Buy Them Frozen Versus Fresh
After a recent trip to my local supermarket, I feel like I owe the frozen vegetable section an apology. Aside from the odd bag of frozen peas I grab now and again — one cup of which is usually intended for an Alfredo-y peas-and-ham pasta dish and the rest are left to develop tiny horrid frost beards until pressed into service as a first-aid device — I have ignored you. Little did I know, I’ve been missing trendy time-savers like riced cauliflower ($3.
Jul 27, 2018
Your Farmers Market Probably Has Better Deals than You Think
“Bring your checkbook,” my neighbor joked from across the street as he watched my husband and I, reusable bags purposefully slung over our shoulders, leaving for our local farmers market one Sunday morning. We waved and shrugged, feeling just a little bit like suckers. I live in the Studio City section of Los Angeles — a few hours car ride from California’s Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural areas in the world.
Jun 16, 2018
Why I’ll Never KonMari My Cookbook Collection
It slides in the shelf sideways, due to its tall picture-book shape, but even from this reduced position, My Learn to Cook Book holds its own among the more usual suspects. Inscribed “Maria, from Grandpa & Grandma Speidel, Merry Christmas, 1969,” this Big Golden Book (as opposed to Little Golden Books like The Pokey Puppy) was my very first cookbook.
Apr 26, 2017