Thursday, March 09, 2006

dill can be very polarizing


Trader Joes's is my Dad's favorite grocery store. When one opened up in Natick on his way home from work a few years ago, at the end of every week he would load up on the most incredible of foods: authentic Mexican and Thai dishes that were microwave-ready, whole cheesecakes and tuna, and these addictive chocolate-dipped cookies. Of course, I expect not to see such a store here in Holland for awhile, but TJ's is still expanding, with a new store in Manhattan. I love the article in the NYT about TJ's fanatic patrons (myself incuded):
"Before we got our Trader Joe's I used to drive up to Chicago every couple of months to stock up on those pretzels," said Kevin Messina, a lawyer in Creve Coeur, Mo., near St. Louis. "It's about five hours each way, but hey, it's a straight shot."
Food fanaticsism goes all the way to the president of the company:
"We are very careful about marinades," Mr. Sloan said solemnly. "Dill can be very polarizing."
And then there are the food tasters:
The group fell silent and began chewing intently. Immediately, comments flew. "Interesting nutty flavors on No. 1." ... "This one has a cardboardy texture at the end." ... "What about the omega-3's on this one?" Eventually, a favorite was determined by a show of hands and a plan sketched for the step ahead: persuading the supplier to make refinements and solve problems.

Next, aged goat cheeses. Then truffled cheeses. ("Like dirty socks." ... "I think people want to see those black flecks." ... "I worry that we're just too far ahead of the curve with these.") Toasted walnuts, then granola clusters. ("How are these not cookies?" the house nutritionist asked.) And finally a new category: trail-mix-based cereals. The group poured milk and chewed. "I am not happy to get a whole almond in my bowl of cereal," one said forcefully.

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