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July 17, 2006



Change, influence what you have control over. Try to let the rest of it take care of itself. I think my energy is best used putting it to the most effective use.


No deep thoughts... Just remembering the good old days when I lived in Washington Heights, took the bus down to Fairway and got a gypsy cab home. No one who hasn't done it would truly understand!


I shop just like you do here in Pittsburgh and didn't feel bad about it at all until I read your essay about class and privilege and all the rest. Due to our extremely poor public transportation here I don't even bus it like you and drive to my various shops, markets, and big box stores.

Very thought-provoking!


Tanna, you're right. I know it's okay for me to provide good food for myself and my partner, while I also think about ways that I can help to insure that others also have access to good food.

Kristine, I sooo get it! Long ago when I lived in Brooklyn, I would schlep groceries home from Fairway sometimes -- that, of course, was before there was a Brooklyn Fairway, and before I had a car...

Rebecca, I didn't mean to provoke your guilt. I am actually coming to the answer that it is necessary for us to feed and take care of ourselves as well as possible; we can't possibly take care of anyone else unless we do that. But I guess I am searching for some personal balance here.


Hi Julie - I'm just discovering your blog. I really enjoy it. I think about these issues a lot. I'm living in Paris for the time being and it's a daily struggle with the metro/apathy/hassle to shop at the smaller markets vs. the big stores. How lovely you got to live in Aix! I've visited and I love Provence. I find that even when I do shop at the big stores I have to go every other day, at least, so I'm unsure how convenient it really is?! I find myself picking out a few fruits and veggies I think are really superior at the smaller markets and buying other staples at the big stores. I guess it's how we manage. Thanks for a great post!


I remember a similar situation in the series "1940s House" a while back, when after she had lived "in the past" for three months, the mother of the family actually preferred doing her shopping at the half-dozen or so places, the butcher, the greengrocer, and so on, instead of at the supermarket. Lots of reasons, many of which you mentioned.

I feel much the same as you do, I think, except that the public transportation where I live is next-to-impossible. I do walk to the markets sometimes, but there aren't many within walking distance, and I have young-ish children as well. And there is a choice between farmers' market/not-so-convenient and super-big-box/simple -- or between organic and astronomically expensive or chemical-filled and within-my-budget. Where is the balance point? It makes me FEEL better (if poorer) to do the farmer's market and organic route, to be sure -- worth thinking about.

Thanks for sharing --


Hi Megan and Jeanne -- I keep re-reading this post, and feeling as if it still didn't really say what I wanted it to. I'm still struggling with these ideas and haven't quite put my finger on where I want it to go, somehow. Thanks so much for your comments -- your reflection really helps.


The thing is, food is really a biggie. It's pretty much about all of life; it has emotional resonances and political meaning in every aspect. So, no wonder you can't get a handle on the whole thing at once. It would be like having a theory that covered all aspects of love, or something. You can really only get a grip on parts of it at a time.
I think that may be why so many people write food blogs. I mean, you can just go on and on about these things forever, and sometimes it's going to be pretty trivial, and sometimes it's close to the bone.
Sometimes, food shopping is an entertainment, sometimes it is serious business, sometimes it is both. I love my CSA box, in part because I have no car, as well as for its other significant merits.
You raise a lot of good questions, some of which I'd like to answer for myself someday.


PS ooops, I realize I didn't actually say anything at all. what I mean is...yeah, what you said.

Annie Hall

I have your answer....FRESH DIRECT...it has changed my life. Seriously. Try it.


And yeah, Lindy, what you said, too. I'm grappling with thoughts around how half of human history is about getting enough to eat, and the other half is about -- well, I don't think I even want to go there. It's just that it feels like one of those places where we've overshot, gone too far, and need to begin backtracking at least slightly...

Annie Hall, thanks for your comment. I know Fresh Direct is considered a fantastic service for many time-crunched folks out there. Honestly, I wasn't complaining about spending the time to shop in 3 different places. That's not my problem. And I like to touch and smell and choose my food, so FD probably is not my solution. I'm thinking more about issues of equity and access, actually.

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