In keeping with my interest in movies, I recently finished writing a paper on Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker, where I focused on her film’s emphasis on the dangers of “physical and psychic” blindness. In one of my favorite scenes, the protagonist returns home only to be faced with his inability to readjust to civilian life. His discomfort is revealed masterfully when his wife casually asks him to “grab some cereal,” and all he can do is uncomfortably scan the aisle, which is filled to capacity, before his irritation draws him to whatever box is within reach. Consumerism at its worst: too much choice where it doesn’t matter.
You have got to see the new Safeway that opened up last week. They’ve got organic and conventional produce, a fancy climate-controlled wine cellar, a Starbucks, a pizza station, gelato and ice cream station, and they make sandwiches just like at the Wawa. Not only is it as beautiful as the nicest Whole Foods you’ve ever been to (and has the normal brands WF thinks itself too good to carry); it is the first supermarket in the entire District built to LEED standards (i.e. entirely sustainable). I dig that. I really do.
Of course, I speak from the perspective of someone who, back in NYC, lived in a ‘hood where edible produce within a walkable distance was scarce, and frozen blueberries were near-impossible to find. Given that, just imagine my delight on opening night when I discovered that fresh blueberries were going for 99 ¢! Yes, it’s a big deal! They’re usually closer to four bucks a pop (and by “pop” I mean pack). If that had or has been in your past, I think you’ll dig this place too.
Or if you like shiny, new things. Or if you can admire and respect a business that clearly still believes that “the customer is always right.” And again, coming from a place where few people seemed particularly happy to have jobs — even as grocery baggers — it is refreshing to enter a store where everyone knows the rules of the game: you make your customers happy, they will buy more.
By George! I think we’ve got it! Blueberry Muffins
Adapted from The Joy of Baking
9. Got milk? Dive in!