The grocery market has improved American cuisine for home chefs.It introduced such diverse foods as egg rolls and naan along with collard greens and bagels to our culinary landscape. Yet is its' time past? Are they passe in this day and age?
That's the question posed in an interesting article and interview written by Stephanie Strom in yesterday's New York Times Food section.She was with recently published author, Michael Ruhlman on a tour of a Nutley, New Jersey Shop Rite. Mr. Ruhlman has just published "Grocery:The Buying and Selling of Food in America" by Abram Publishers.This one is an indictment of our modern grocery store being responsible for this country's unhealthiness. His trip has him singling out Special K Caramel Coconut Chewy Bar which is more candy bar than health one with its' staggering seven grams of sugar. Of course that brings up a chapter in his book, "Breakfast- The Most Dangerous Meal of the Day" thanks to our stores selling sugar soaked cereals. He also hones in on, Duncan Hines Perfect Size For One, basically make your own cupcake in a microwave.It has thirty-five grams of sugar however its' convenience is perfect for millennials - the grab and go eaters. Luckily, thanks to Nutley's sizable Asiacommunity. there are exotic and fresh fruits and vegetables along with fresh fish. This should help boost the nutrition levels of other town residents.
He also predicts that supermarkets will change considerably thanks to many home chefs buying the essentials on line. This means that such everyday items like dish detergent., frozen foods and anything canned or bagged will be out of the store, leaving room for not only fresh produce and baked goods but also for specialty foods.Mr. Ruhlman pointed out that Krogers just acquired Murray's Cheese, an artisanal cheese and specialty foods retailer , catering to trendy Greenwich Village millennials.It started out as a simple family owned eggs and dairy store and then just expanded into charcuterie and bakery. The problem is that this is fine for those who have money and unlimited budgets, but what about those who can't afford the fancy cold cuts and cheeses, along with artesenal pickles and butters? Even the everyday items like chicken breasts and tomatoes will go up in price. Also would a company like Peapod deliver to more urban or even rural areas?A more egalitarian idea is keeping the stores as they are. It's worked for over a century . Why ruin it?
Will the supermarket survive another century? Hopefully . We need it. It;'s where palates are expanded and budgets respected. It's an important part of our American and everyday landscape.