Sunday, August 31, 2008

Short takes for the holiday

A few quick thoughts as I catch up on other things:

Twinkie, Deconstructed
I'm partway through a fascinating book called Twinkie, Deconstructed. The author traces the origins of the ingredients in processed food, working from the ingredient list on a package of Twinkies. You will never think the same way about cornstarch again. Recommended reading.

Food Cellar
Yesterday I visited a new upscale supermarket in the Long Island City neighborhood, Food Cellar, an offshoot of the Amish Market chain. The store is gorgeous--spacious, well-lit, and not crowded. I cannot stress enough how exceptional that is in New York City, where most grocery chains haphazardly cram maximum product into minimum space and shopping at the Whole Foods in Union Square is practically a combat sport. Food Cellar is clearly aiming for the new population of the gentrifying neighborhood, people who would otherwise be taking the subway to one of the Manhattan Whole Foods locations or ordering from Fresh Direct. There really don't seem to be other supermarkets in the immediate neighborhood, even mainstream ones like FoodTown and Associated, though if you head just a few subway stops east into my neighborhood you can find several of those. For me Food Cellar represents an opportunity to get organic or humanely raised meats without having to schlep into Manhattan and change trains, and if I want any of the frozen foods I can probably get them home without melting. I also wonder how much more crowded it will get after the holiday weekend; New York seems to empty out for Labor Day, so I need to reserve judgment. But Food Cellar has a lot more space for the masses than pretty much any other food store I've seen in the city.

Paton Oswalt on Black Angus
I saw a variation of this bit on Oswalt's "Comedy Central Presents" special recently; be warned that there is a fair bit of offensive and adult language in this clip. He certainly has a point; some of these chains are pushing food in quantities that go beyond appetizing to frightening.

No comments: