The Suitcase Lady


April 29, 2008, 10:53 pm

Many people are not enamored of grocery shopping. I’m not in that group. Even after working all day, I can actually enjoy buying groceries.

Of the many reasons I find food shopping pleasurable, the foremost is serious. For my entire life I’ve never walked into an American grocery store and faced empty shelves or unaffordable prices. If I were a resident of Zimbabwe at the moment, I would have to lug two suitcases full of cash to the market for a few items.

One of the greatest joys of shopping is, to borrow from the author Diane Ackerman, “The Pleasure of the Senses”. Colorful fruits and vegetables artfully stacked, displays of cheese from around the world, the smell of breads baking and coffee being ground… how could I possibly not want to be in such a place?

And then there’s the truly selfish aspect about being the family’s grocery buyer. You get to buy what you want. No chicken livers, frozen pizzas, herring, kielbasa, rutabaga, turnips or orange sherbet will ever make it into my cart. Conversely, if the asparagus is young and tender, I can toss my menu plans and buy the asparagus… grocery shopping improvisation.

When traveling, I almost always check out a few local groceries. I definitely regard a city’s best grocery stores as tourist attractions. If you doubt this, just stop in at Uwajimaya when you’re in Seattle, Dean & Deluca in Soho and Georgetown or Albert Heijn in Amsterdam.

I once had a job that involved visiting about twenty grocery stores a day. That job didn’t cool my ardor for food markets, and I suspect nothing will.

Please click here if you wish to send me a comment

Comments are closed.