I’ve developed a habit over the last several months of walking every couple of days to New Seasons for what’s called the Organic French Mini Loaf. It’s only $1.29 and it’s better than any bread I’ve ever bought in a plastic bag on the supermarket bread aisle.
As such, I've been on a bread-heavy diet lately: usually a slice of buttered toast for breakfast, often a sandwich for lunch, and almost always a couple of slices with dinner. I think low-carb dieting, by the way, is unconditional insanity. (Rice has been the centerpiece of Chinese and Japanese cooking for centuries. Ditto with pasta as the heart of Italian cooking, or potatoes and Ireland. None of those people are fat—just us Americans!)
Most people like to go grocery shopping as little as possible, and certainly Valarie and I are no exceptions. We’ve often rung up $200 grocery bills at Safeway because we put off the trip for several days. But with the arrival of a store, New Seasons on Southeast Division, that’s not only within walking distance but also has better, healthier food and is more inviting to be inside, I’m getting in the routine of going almost every day. Always having fresh-baked bread in the house that never has a chance to go stale is just one of the dividends.
Because my New Seasons excursions are on foot and not in the car, it doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s a pleasantly peaceful stroll through the neighborhood and a few quick minutes picking out items (I’ve never waited so little in line at any store). I’m happy to pay more, especially since it amounts to at least lifestyle change. I’m out of my car with less stress, more exercise, and cooking with fresher ingredients.
It’s just too bad that for the overwhelming majority of the population, that trip to the grocery store means entering traffic in your car, finding a parking space, and then being in a store the size of an airplane hangar where it takes forever just to load your cart. That’s not the kind of trip you want to make every day. But it’s those regular trips for fresh produce, meat and so on that have made all the world’s best cuisines what they are.
I think both Americans’ obesity and the related fact that our diets are based more on processed, prepackaged food can be directly linked to zoning. If more people lived in mixed-use areas, with apartments and homes always within a few blocks of a smaller, easier-to-negotiate grocery store, the ramifications would be felt for both individuals and society.
Which reminds me: I think I'll go have another piece of bread and butter. There's always more where that came from.