Friday, November 11, 2005

Old-Fashioned Grocery Stores

Tan Lucy Pez at http://tanlucypez.blogspot.com/ wrote recently about full-service grocery stores and how she misses them. I do too.

When I was young, my mom went to the butcher shop for meats, bones for the dog and suet with which to cook French fries. She went to the greengrocer for vegetables and fruits and a market for other necessary items, such as spices, canned goods and paper products. There was no such thing as frozen foods or convenience food or pre-packaged foods. She could charge her purchases and pay for them at the end of the month. She could request delivery and the foods would come to our home so we didn't have to walk and carry them if Daddy had our car that day. Nowadays, you can charge it, but with a national credit card - not an in-store program. You can get delivery, but it isn't free anymore. They may say it is free, but we all know it is built into the cost of the foods.

There is a certain beauty in the convenience of a modern supermarket, where you can buy almost everything you need in one place, including medications, birthday cards and lawn supplies. But to my mind, there is only one thing that makes them better than the stores of old and that is the deli (assuming it is a good one), where we can buy already prepared meals if we are too busy or uninclined to cook for ourselves. Oddities we might never make at home, such as hummus, tabouli, egg rolls and piroshki abound and tease our tastebuds with promises of exotic flavors. Good old-fashioned egg, chicken, tuna and potato salads in great supply; roasted chickens, turkey breasts, lasagnas and creamed spinach all ready at the drop of a hat (or a few dollars), homemade pimiento cheese to die for, and small toasted rounds of French baguettes to spread it on. Let us not forget tomato and basil or split-pea soup, and ready made Caesar salad!

This is the way my mind works lately; all I can think about is food: comfort food, snack food, dessert food, ad infinitum. This post was meant to be a paeon to the specialty grocery stores of old - and it has evolved into a song of praise for convenience foods. No wonder I have gained 10 pounds!

P.S. I know that to some of you, hummus, tabouli, egg rolls and piroshki are not oddities, so don't get your undies in a wad. I just meant they are things I would not make at home.

23 comments:

craziequeen said...

Our supermarkets offer to pack your shopping now - I always refuse.
I like my eggs in one piece :-)

hi kenju, here from michele's :-)

cq

Tan Lucy Pez said...

I have wistful feelings about the old stores of course. But love the new availibility-of-everything stores.

On your post below, I identify in two ways. I watched that show and enjoyed it. Also my husband is hard-of-hearing. It's amazing how much he misunderstands.

Yaeli said...

I agree with you Judy. Mmmm... food is so good!!!
My gran used to make piroshki at home and they were so yummy!!
A few of the heritage towns here in Oz still have old style grocers and stuff. My favourite shops are always the old style lolly shops with jars and jars of lollies in the windows. :o)
Michele sent me today!

ribbiticus said...

hi judy! we used to have such a store at the end of our block when i was little. sadly, it has now gone the way of the dinosaurs. couldn't compete with all the convenience stores that sprang all over, i guess. back then, we could have anything delivered, even 1 bottle of ketchup, with just one phone call to the owner.

michele sent me today. btw, will be looking forward to your pictures when they're available. :)

Dak-Ind said...

and pressure deep fried chicken... man now i have to go to the store, thanks!
actually our safeway store has a chineese food place in it, thats so cool!

Dak-Ind said...

i forgot to tell you, Michelle says hello!

Jamie Dawn said...

I like the convenience of one stop shopping, but I would love to experience some of the ways of yesteryear. I'm sure that meat from a butcher shop is much better than what I buy at Walmart supercenter.

Peter said...

Damm it Judy ya gotta stop doing that, it's midday here and now you have me so hungry I'm gonna have to stop reading blogs and get a mountain of food together.

Plumkrazzee said...

Hi Kenju, Michele sent me..I have started "destination" shopping, and love it! I enjoy peeking into all the little specialty shops and taking my time. (When I have it!)

srp said...

Don't worry, I wouldn't make those things at home either. I barely make sandwiches if left on my own too long.

About the hearing aid. Mom's hearing had gotten to the point that nothing she heard made sense. She went to an audiologist who is very good. She recommended just one for now, something about distortion being significantly worse in one ear. It fits like a glove, made special for each patient and she went back once a month for six months to have the computer chip in it tweaked. What a difference!!! She got in the car and could hear the turn signal clicking...had not heard that in years.

Carmi said...

I miss the human scale of the supermarkets that my parents used to take us to. We knew the people at the meat counter. We knew the vegetable aisle folks. They were fixtures.

Today: part-timers who will be gone by the end of the month. Society is becoming increasingly disconnected because of this.

mar said...

I got very hungry reading your post...I like to eat but I don't want to spend hours grocery shopping or cooking, so I am for a good deli. Times are busy nowadays and we lack free time. And now I am off to do some cooking because we are all hungry! here via Michele's today.

Ally said...

Good Saturday!! Michelle sent me! :)

The Mistress of the Dark said...

It wasn't very long ago that we had at least 2 or 3 tiny mom and pop grocery stores in our small time, they were always sweet little stores. And we had a seperate butcher shop too.

Here via Michele's...now I'm hungry too.

rennratt said...

I am thankful that I live in a very rural area. We still have 2 butcher shops in a 20 mile radius. I would rather drive there (and be treated with respect) than to the local supercenter where I am treated as an inconvenience at the deli counter.

kenju said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carmen said...

Michele sent me.;)

And you've made me hungry!!!!

craziequeen said...

hi kenju - just taking a breather from my Nano :-)

See - good little craziequeen, working on her novel.....

here from Michele's

cq

TC said...

Hi, michele sent me. I love the fans in the post above this. But I had to add that I love to shop the old fashioned way.

Jennifer said...

I kind of like having the best of both worlds. I like the convenience and broad array of our big grocery stores, but love the farmer's market, the fish shop, and the other specialty stores.

I remember Norton's in South Charleston. Owned by a single family for three generations before Kroger opened up across D Street and put them out of business. Sad day, indeed.

ivoryfrog said...

I do think that supermarkets are handy, but also find that stuff like fruit and veg go bad really quick when bought from a supermarket. I mean I am talking next day here... I used to buy all my fruit and veg from a greegrocers and it kept really well but sadly they closed down and it is now a gift shop. :-(

visiting via micheles today (we posted at nearly the same time and didn't want you to be skipped)

Captain Typho said...

I'm younger than you, but I remember when they used to sell meat and pets in department stores like Macys. Now that seems kind of disgusting. ;)

Visiting again from Michele's.

Weary Hag said...

This is such a neat post, Judy! Quite awhile ago, I had posted about the 'old days' and how people used to walk to the butcher shop for that night's meats, etc. I think I even included about my dad's mother who ordered ice from the ice man two days per week. (now THAT'S got to be before your time!)