When I heard Harris Teeter might be coming to my neck of the woods, I whined in protest: No, say it isn’t so.
I have nothing against Harris Teeter. In fact, I’ve enjoyed the few visits I’ve made to the specialty grocery store in other locations. The prepared foods selection is appealing, the aisles are wide and brightly lit, the employees friendly. But in no way do I want it coming anywhere near my house, as is rumored to be the case. It just might send me over the edge.
While I feel for those folks who live in “food deserts,” where few if any grocery stores exist and residents are reduced to buying junk food at corner stores, I suffer from the opposite problem.
There are so many grocery stores within a three-mile radius of my house, each with its own niche in the food industry, that I could spend hours each week just driving around to each one, picking up a little of this and a little of that and still not coming home with everything I need. I’m trying to rein in the habit by sticking to one or two stores to stock up on groceries for my family, whose appetites are growing alongside the food store options in Towson.
But it’s not easy. Whole Foods is my favorite place for produce. Fresh Market has the most unbelievable meat department I’ve ever seen. I love the frozen food section at Trader Joe’s. When I’m planning to entertain, I head straight to Eddie’s prepared foods. Then of course there’s the Giant, where I get the basics and most of my toiletries. At least I did until I discovered that Target’s got way better deals on health and beauty products and cleaning supplies. It’s exhausting just naming all these places, let alone tromping around to each of them on a regular basis. After all, who’s got the time?
Try telling that to my kids, who always seem to want the one item I haven’t bought that week from among the several stores where I’ve made pit stops. When this happens, I sometimes make a mental note to avoid repeating the favorite-food-is-missing meltdown by stocking up on it in the future. It rarely works. As soon as I buy double of whatever it is that one of my kids insists they’re craving, that particular craving tends to subside—permanently.
That leaves me with a kitchen full of food that no one wants to eat, like trendy tubes of stick-sweet yogurt, rotting exotic fruit, package after package of Asian noodle bowls, and weird flavors of jelly that take up too much space in my refrigerator. Meanwhile, we always seem to be running out of staples like milk and eggs.
I suppose that regardless of where you live—whether it’s a food desert or has grocery stores galore—keeping the house stocked with the food you really need is no simple task.