I love to shop for groceries. My husband and I always shopped together before we had our kid and it was just fun to take our time and buy fun things. We don’t really have a favorite or “usual” grocery store as we just go where we please (“Trader Joe’s today?” “Great!”).
But sometimes we’ll make a special trip to the Korean grocery store/mall called Assi (sort of an unfortunate name — I don’t even know how to say it!) or to the Japanese equivalent Mitsuwa. I spent most of my twenties obsessed with Mitsuwa. It feels like entering Japan, which is just plain cool. In both “grocery malls” everyone is Asian and there also are restaurants set up in a little mini-food courts with many types of Asian food (only). I like to eat and shop, what can I say!
I am learning how to shop with recipes in mind. I’m a decent cook, but I’m not the kind of person who can “wing it.” I need to sit down and plan out meals (sometimes opening a cookbook, sometimes just writing out a meal plan with my standard meals) and then look through the fridge and cupboards to see what I have on hand.
I think what is telling about the last shot (above) is that the grocery cart is full of greens and meat — whole foods. My cart has boxes and packaging in it — I aspire to a cart full of basically greens and meat. Everyone who shops at Assi has a cart like that, especially if they are on the older side. These shoppers are probably fantastic home cooks who can throw together great meals with basic ingredients. It’s no wonder than Asian people who stick to a traditional diet (non-Western foods) have lower incidences of cancer and obesity.
Additionally, I like how Assi has chef’s stations with mini-demonstrations of how to prepare food. American grocery stores have stopped offering samples and when there are samples it’s usually “little smokies” or a similar convenience food. At Assi there is real cooking at the stations (although Mitsuwa does not do that to the same degree) and there are many, many different stations.
Finally, there is a housewares section in Assi. So you can buy a pot to cook the food you are also buying at the same store. Basic but brilliant, no? We have elevated cooking to something regular people can’t do and so to get our housewares we have to go to department stores or stand alone shops like Crate and Barrel (love it though). At the grocery store, food and cooking should be connected.
In the spirit of grocery shopping with recipes in mind, I’m giving away three brand-new cloth-like reusable grocery bags. I think they are adorable! Next week I’ll randomly choose three lucky readers to receive one of the below who comment on this post with tips, thoughts, or questions about grocery shopping: