Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Traitor Joe's

I admit it, I was excited that Trader Joe's was finally opening a store in Madison. Quality food for cheap, what's not to love, right? Well now I've been and I think the only thing I'll go back for is the pound block of dark chocolate for about $4. I knew they wouldn't be supporting local foods but I hadn't really thought about the fact they don't really support cooking per se. Most of the stuff is processed and sold under their Trader Joe's label. That's fine, I'm all for the convenience of buying a bag of frozen shelled edamame but the item that really made me mad was the "instant" miso soup. How much more instant can miso soup be? Heat some water (I think you are not even supposed to boil it), stir in some miso and maybe add some green onions and tofu cubes if you're feeling fancy.
Why not work on packaging some really tasty cassoulet instead of taking something that's already easy to make and jacking up the price for your benefit alone? Every generation our knowledge of food and cooking diminishes and Trader Joe's is not helping.


At 7:47 AM, Anonymous Lisa F. said...

Hi Lee,
I know what you mean. We were there for opening day (quoted in the paper even..), but didn't shop b/c we were leaving for Italy 2 days later. On our return, I went to pick up the basics. I was surprised at how much was prepared as well. Still, glad that if I do want occasional "fast food", it's not loaded with crud.
Your meals look amazing. Keep up the good work!
Did you post a $1 at the Salty Dawg?!?

At 8:12 AM, Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Hahahaha! Instant miso soup. That's hilarious. You know, several years ago when I was living in California near a Trader Joe's, I swear they had more real cooking ingredients. I think it might be part of a broader trend of instant gratification "cooking." As if Bisquick weren't quick enough, now they're advertising this "just add water, shake and pour" pancake mix. Seriously, how hard is it to dump out some Bisquick, add milk and two eggs, and (gasp) stir? Obviously, too difficult for some people. And don't get me started on refrigerated cookie dough. Even slice-and-bake logs were too much cooking, so they came up with the lumps of dough packaging.

Hey, how'd I get on the soapbox? Can somebody help me down?

At 7:14 PM, Blogger lee said...

Lisa- We'll have to get together so you can tell me about Italy. Were you at Terra Madre?
Like I said, I don't mind the healthy prepped stuff but it's hard to resist big tubs of peanut butter cups!
Thanks for the compliment.
We decided to save all our dollars for more Alaskan beer!

Allison- I've heard that from other people too- that Trader Joe's has gone downhill. But what can you do? They are obviously selling what people want to buy. I'll take my dollars elsewhere, thank you.
I'm just happy that I live closer to Willy St. Coop than Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Now if only they'd open a west-side location so MY coop was less crowded! Looks like I joined you on that soapbox!

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Tea said...

Okay, I'm going to admit to having bought the miso soup mix for backpacking trips.

But I do agree with you. People don't know how to cook anymore. I was out recently with three friends who were all talking about how they didn't have time to cook--and then they looked at me and remembered who they were with.

The thing is, I know how to cook so I understand what dishes I can throw together quickly. I also enjoy it. If you don't have that basis of knowledge I think it all looks hard and time consuming and Trader Joe's seems like an easier option.

But, at the end of day, the stuff you make yourelf just tastes better!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Kenlee101st said...

Well you did forget the last step of adding bonito flakes into the miso soup which would add another 5 seconds to the recipe. Oh yeah, never boil your miso or it kills all those good healthy enyzmes in it. Please don't do it! Also I hate restaurant miso that sits there boiled all day. Tastes gross.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once put instant coffee into a microwave oven and went backward in time.

I haven't read it, but I'm sure BoBos in Paradise has (or should have) a chapter on Traitor Joes. Every Sunday I see a line of Priuses a half mile long waiting to get into the parking lot with empty spaces right acros the street.

I appreciate the notion that we lose our culinary sensibilities with so many instant meals, organic or not. Convenience is a factor when you work long hours with a long commute, social activities and possibly even going to the gym in the evening.

I've never so much disliked Traitor Joes as much as the people who go there. The smell of smug lingers in the air.


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