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Stay-at-Home Dad: Oh, the Places You’ll Go...for Groceries

Our resident stay-at-home parenting expert reflects on the madness of a day at market...or, markets.

It's crazy to think about how many different grocery stores I can visit in a week.  It is even more mind-blowing to think about how many I can visit in a single day.  Running around like a madman, trying to cross items off of a never-ending shopping list only belies one fact: NO single store has everything. 

Here are my travels from this Monday….  

Whole Foods

I am just going to come out and say this: I love Whole Foods.  Shopping there makes me feel like a better person.  Did I say feel, because I meant to say that it DOES make me a better person.  Sugar from Malawi, salt from the Himalayas, I am truly a citizen of the world just by shopping there.   

Not only do they validate my parking, they validate my existence.   

Alas, Whole Foods has earned its nickname of "Whole Paycheck" – things there can get to be ridiculously expensive. It is ironic that the building still has the signage from the defunct jewelry store "Fortunoff" above the entry.   

While there, one must become familiar with the nomenclature, especially in the produce department. There are different vegetables that have been grown both conventionally and organically...but they all look the same to me.  There are also items defying fiscal logic as to whether they are being sold individually or by the pound, like grapes.  

I used to fill up my entire shopping cart at Whole Foods, but now I pretty much settle for a hand-basket's worth of merchandise. (I still take a cart.) 

Trader Joe's

It's another one of my favorites. If Whole Foods is the Fortunoff of grocery stores, than Trader Joe's is The Gap. 

With its nautical theme, I like to fantasize about this folkloric guy, Trader Joe. 

...Joe and his sloop are traveling to exotic ports abroad to bring me great things, like the flattened banana... 

This bizarre item from Thailand is just that, a banana that has been flattened.  

Trader Joe's is especially good for dry goods.  They have a great selection of merchandise, mostly all with their own label. 

And (drumroll) anything that you buy there can be returned for a full refund.  That's right, just bring back the original packaging and you get your money back. I wish that Joe were also my stock broker.  

Balducci's

This place is also in my loop of shopping insanity.  Located in the geographical center of town, they have everything that you may need. 

I have to admit I laugh about the meat and seafood prices there, though. If I'm going to spend $39.99 for a pound of beef, it better be prepared by one of the great chefs of Europe.  Certainly not by me. How could I even enjoy it after the toil of preparation?

C-Town (DeCicco's)

Handily located near the Scarsdale train station is C-Town - or, as the sign says - DeCicco's.  C-town has a great fish department, and even a freezer of Gluten-free goods, but its isles are narrow.  So narrow that almost only one patron can fit down the row at a time.  I feel like a duck at a carnival shooting game.   

Hutchinson Farms

Lastly, there is one of the more humble local merchants.  In Eastchester, on the Post Road, right outside Scarsdale is Hutchinson Farms.  It is filled with reasonably priced fresh produce. 

They also have tasty samples as a bonus, and knowledgeable staff.  After a hectic day of shopping I usually visit this store last, as its wholesome existence reaffirms my faith that being a citizen of the word can begin very close to home.

 

Jack Miller, local humorist and architect, writes a weekly Friday column, "Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad" that features his observations on life in Scarsdale, the realities of the recession, and general musings from behind the apron strings as a new-to-homemaking dad.

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