19 July 2010

Produce shopping at a suburban Jewel

The produce all looked good. Very good. Suspiciously good. Each specimen was just like the others, all of uniform size, shape, and color. Not a spot, speck, or blemish to be found. Like little plastic models, all arranged in neat piles. I almost expected to see signs politely requesting that we not touch the displays. It hardly looked like food. I wandered a bit, mildly confused---where are the real vegetables hiding?

There were red bell peppers and green bell peppers. There were white onions and yellow onions. There were russet potatoes, red potatoes, and sweet potatoes. There were the saddest-looking beefsteak tomatoes I've ever seen not in the middle of winter. I finally found some decent tomatoes on a separate display of "gourmet" tomato varieties (grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, roma tomatoes in special sealed packages of five, and tomatoes on vines).

The aesthetic quality of the fruits and vegetables we get here in the city (at least at the places where I shop, but everyone thinks I live in a food desert) is rarely that good. I don't know if this is the result of longer distribution lines, worse pickings by smaller distributors with less cash and clout, or what. Eventually, you just get used to checking very carefully for items that are ripe but not spoiled. You get used to eating things that have cosmetic blemishes on them but still taste the way they ought to taste. But holy cow, you also get used to the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables available. Apples that aren't just one of three colors. Tomatoes with stripes on them. Zucchinis in weird shapes. Varieties of greens that you can't even pronounce. And that's not even at the farmers markets.

I wonder what the city Jewels are like.


At 19 July, 2010 20:50, Blogger Chris said...

We are The Suburbs
Resistance is futile
You will be assimilated

At 20 July, 2010 05:48, Blogger Sproactually said...

Way back before the turn of the century, I spent about 12 weeks in Chicago, half in the river plaza by the Sun-Times building, and half in the Doral Plaza next to Grant park. I want to say 1987 or 88, what ever year the first night game at Wrigley field was. There was a huge party in the park, and it rained about the 6th inning.

Anyway, for food shopping there were little stores tucked in the buildings, with little or no produce, so we would share a cab to some Jewel somewhere in the city. Which was itself a small grocery store.

I ate a lot of gold coast hot dogs those months, and there was a little Chinese place on the 2nd floor of a building just over the bridge on Michigan Avenue.

But i could buy great wool suits from Mort Cooper in the loop.

I need to re-visit Chicago, is the #6 bus still the express to the Museum of Science and industry? The was the first time I ever saw the ones the bend in the middle. And of course riding the Evanston express, in non-air conditioned cars with the windows open.

I have some pictures from a tower of those cars, I need to find a scanner and scan them, even ones in the light green cta paint.


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