Archive: Food Shopping

Making Groceries

Making Groceries: that's what folks in New Orleans call going to the supermarket. (Which reminds me: In Philly, where I grew up, they call it going to the "food store.") Here’s the latest on supermarket openings in various corners of the country, starting with the nation’s capital: Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, an independent grocery store in Richmond, Va., with an uber-local, natural and organic focus, is coming to DC. ET’s second home will be at 14th and Irving Streets NW, right by the Columbia Heights Metro station. The 14,000-ish-square-foot store is slated to open by this time next year. ET’s definition of local? A 100-mile radius. Speaking of Richmond, MA reader Alicia Jones, who writes about cooking here and dining here, reports that Virginia’s state capital now has a Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market. After a little poking around, I learned that TJ’s has also expanded to Atlanta, and...

 

By Kim ODonnel | November 7, 2008; 07:43 AM ET | Comments (4)

Getting Hip to COOL

Beginning next week, you may notice more labels at the meat counter and in the produce aisle of your neighborhood supermarket. As of Sept. 30, the federally mandated Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law will go into effect at supermarkets nationwide. The COOL requirements for beef, lamb, pork, seafood, produce and peanuts have been on the books since 2002 as part of that year’s Farm Bill; however, implementation has been painfully gradual, rolling out with seafood labels in 2004. The list of COOL-required categories has since expanded; as part of the 2008 Farm Bill, the rules now apply to chicken, goat, macadamia nuts, pecans and ginseng. With COOL, shoppers will now know, for example, if a head of garlic was grown in California or in China, which has earned a grisly reputation for exporting tainted food. (Remember last year’s pet food nightmare?) It should also help eliminate some of the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 24, 2008; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (5)

Who Wants to Take an Eat Local Challenge?

In November 2006, when I wrote a Food section story about preparing a 100-Mile Thanksgiving, the word "locavore" was a new word familiar to a small group of like-minded people in the Bay area, practicing what they preach, which is to eat food grown and raised within 100 miles of where you live. Yellow wax beans from my local foodshed. (Kim O'Donnel) Now the word locavore is filtering in the mainstream and becoming part of the vernacular - last year, Oxford American Dictionary declared locavore the 2007 Word of the Year. By now, you've probably heard about or read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle", the memoir Barbara Kingsolver and her family wrote about moving from Tucson to a small Appalachian town in southwestern Virginia and eating locally for a year. Shortly after the publication of Kingsolver's book in 2007, "Plenty," by Vancouver, B.C. couple Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon, hit the bookstore...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 27, 2008; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Field Trip to Yonkers

Yesterday, I crossed the Hudson River in a Consumer Reports (CR) test car and spent the day in Yonkers, N.Y. (go here for some cool historical tidbits) for a blogging conference on the campus of Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of the monthly magazine. At the front entrance of the CU entrance in Yonkers, N.Y. (Kim O'Donnel) I was one of 20-some bloggers from various parts of the country, media organizations and content disciplines. But the one connecting thread among this diverse group of writers is a focus on the consumer. Whether it was Viet Do, who writes personal finance blog Stopbuyingcrap.com, MSNBC.com correspondent Bob Sullivan who pens The Red Tape Chronicles or Leslie Hatfield, who updates Green Fork, Eat Well Guide's blog on sustainable eating, we gathered in one room to talk about our collective passion for "speaking truth to power," as keynote speaker Craig "Craig's List" Newmark so...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2008; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (2)

Whole Foods to Bag Plastic: Whaddya Think?

Maybe you've heard: Late last month, Whole Foods Market announced its decision to phase out plastic shopping bags company wide -- 258 U.S. stores, plus six in Canada and six in the U.K. The plan, according to the press release, is to bag the plastic by April 22, which also happens to be Earth Day. Whole Foods will become the first plastic shopping bag-free retail grocery chain in the U.S. The past year has seen a stronger push against plastic bags in pockets around the country. Last summer, Whole Food's store in Annapolis, Md. phased out plastic bags, spurred on by proposed legislation to ban plastic bags throughout the city. (The measure failed to pass.) But the first city to go on the books with such a ban is San Francisco, now in its first year of plastic bag-free-dom. Plastic checkout bags are a relatively recent phenomenon; according to the...

 

By Kim ODonnel | February 5, 2008; 10:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Chat Leftovers: Cast Iron Cleaning, Restaurant Supply Shops

Some real goodies leftover from this week's What's Cooking chat inspired today's post that covers cast iron, pumpkin-centric partying and public-access restaurant supply shops. Here's the lowdown: Charlotte, N.C.: I'm wondering about maintaining my cast iron skillet. My wife scolded me for scrubbing it with dish detergent. I try to spray it with oil after I use it. Any suggestions on the proper way to care for cast iron cookware? Well, you're both right, kinda sorta. There are lots of schools of thought on how to clean cast iron cookware; some argue that even a drop of detergent will ruin the seasoning. Most veteran cast-iron enthusiasts, however, agree that long soaks in water will ruin the sought-after nonstick layer, which means starting over from scratch and re-seasoning the pan. My thoughts on cleaning both my cast-iron skillet and wok is that a small amount of soap (a few drops) applied...

 

By Kim ODonnel | October 4, 2007; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (10)

How Should Kim Spend Her Cookware Gift Card?

A hundred bucks fall from the sky, right into your line of vision. Attached to the bill is a note that says, "I'm your kitchen genie, and I've been watching you hard at work. It's time for a reward. Go buy yourself somethin' nice at your neighborhood cookware store [insert applicable name here]." Essentially, that's what happened to me recently when two friends out of the blue handed me a $100 gift card to spend at a nearby cookware shop. What a treat -- and good timing, to boot. In the midst of moving into a new home, I'm weeding through my kitchen inventory and letting go of broken measuring cups, a cracked citrus juicer, chipped glass mixing bowls. I'm pondering the state of the new space, asking myself if I've got more storage and if the space will allow for new tools to play with. It's a jigsaw puzzle...

 

By Kim ODonnel | May 22, 2007; 09:32 AM ET | Comments (31)

Raw Bar Bites

A recent e-mail from a food stylist in southern California prompted today's (and tomorrow's) blog post. Her pitch: a snack bar that helps to lower cholesterol. I was intrigued, and a week later, I received two boxes of her goods. The raw bar contenders (and a few cooked ones added to the mix). (Kim O'Donnel) As I worked through a few of her bars (to be featured tomorrow), I got to thinking about the sea of cereal, protein and nutritional bars that are up for grabs in the average grocery store aisle. The choices are overwhelming, and this Clif-Bar veteran had a lot of catching up to do. For folks on the run, these bars, like cell phones and PDAs, have become part of the 21st-century way of life. Don't have time to grab a sandwich before boarding an airplane? No problem -- you've got a bar in your carry-on....

 

By Kim ODonnel | April 3, 2007; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (12)

Trader Joe's Comes to Washington

Trader Joe's, the off-beat , California-based grocery chain that's been spreading like wildfire on this side of the country, has come to DC. Not on the perimeters, but right smack in the middle of town, at the corner of 25th and L Streets NW. The residents of West End and Foggy Bottom must be dancing in the aisles, as the only other walking-distance supermarket option for years has been the Safeway in the tucked away complex of the Watergate (at 25th Street and Virginia Avenue NW). Doors opened on Sept. 1, in the ground floor of The Columbia Residences of Washington, D.C., the swanky yet-to-opened condos, in the space formerly occupied by Columbia Hospital for Women. I arrived on Day 5, around 6 p.m. The place was crawling with urban dwellers, just out of work, foraging the shelves, which seemed to deplete by the minute. Without a shopping list, I...

 

By Kim ODonnel | September 14, 2006; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Washington Gets Good Cheese

As reported in today's Food section story by Walter Nicholls, there are some major cheesy developments happening in Washington, namely last week's opening of uber-fromagerie Cowgirl Creamery. I poked my head into the shop yesterday afternoon and the first thought that came to mind was, "It's about time! Washington is finally catching up with other food-centric cities that boast small shops selling artisan foods." For old times' sake, I selected two favorites, Humboldt Fog, an ash-veined, goaty treat and Cowgirl's signature triple cow-cream Mt. Tam. Then I asked for a surprise, something very different from the other two, which the woman behind the counter dutifully obliged with a hunk of San Andreas, a drier-textured, mild beauty made from raw sheep's milk. If the selection is overwhelming and makes you feel faint, ask for help. Based on my visit, the staff is eager to educate on what's what and give you...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 21, 2006; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

Meet Me at the World Bank Cafe

While doing errands on Saturday afternoon, I noticed something different about the northwestern corner of 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. From across the street, I could make out the words "Pangea Market" on an orange awning, but assuming it was just another quick-stop deli kind of place, I didn't plan to walk in. A quick peek in the window proved me wrong; whatever this Pangea Market was, it was far from ordinary. Part boutique, part café and part global education center, the market, formally Pangea Artisan Market & Cafe, is a collaboration between the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Craft & Café Inc., a fledgling Springfield, Va., company owned by two Nepalese immigrants. Open since May, Pangea is showcasing products from 40-plus artisans in 30 countries around the world, says store owner Sunil Shrestha, who oversees retail operations with his brother, Deepak. In addition to home...

 

By Kim ODonnel | June 20, 2006; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (1)

 

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