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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, August 05, 2005
Eat Like a Liberal
I am what people call a “staunch” conservative. I always have been. I also keep kosher. These two values are almost never in conflict. When Bean and I decided to personally boycott Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, we had multiple other premium ice creams to choose from. Some kosher products are harder to find than others. Cheese, yogurt, bread, and canned beans are some of the hardest to find. I usually have to make at least a monthly run to a strictly kosher supermarket to purchase these items. Kosher markets are a pain to shop in because, aside from the specifically kosher items, they don’t carry name brands. Also, they are more expensive, crowded, and poorly stocked. It doesn’t help that at least 3 months before Pesach [Passover], they stop carrying canned beans. Fortunately, many of the items at Trader Joes are kosher, they have recently even started carrying kosher meat, which is terrific! Trader Joes is only minimally “crunchy-granola/leftist”. I have been accosted a few times to sign petitions, or register with the ACLU. You see, they know liberals shop there. I still shop there because, well, I have to.

I have recently been on a quest for O’soy yogurt. It is tasty, not too sweet, kosher and only 2 points! What a tasty breakfast. Where do they carry this treat? Whole Foods. Don’t get me started on Whole Foods. I despise the chain. My dislike is inspired by a combination of the “organic” food, which to me says “I like botulism!” (Seriously, they carry unpasteurized milk), the magazines, like “Hemp Weekly” and “Crunchy-granola Earth Mother’s guide to armpit-hair braiding.” But I think what bugs me the most is the hypocrisy. The store uses just as much electricity for the compressors, lighting, etc. and even if you print on the brown side of cardboard, it still needs to go into a landfill. Furthermore, cheese doodles are still bad for you, even made with organic corn. It is also wildly overpriced. In addition to the store itself, there are all the Volvos with Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers, and earnest, skinny women on their cell phone stocking up on water and radiccio. Today, in search of yogurt, I had to foray in. I parked my SUV with the “W” sticker in the far corner of the lot and ventured inside. The first thing I notice in the giant banner declaring that today 5% of the proceeds go to the AOOF (or something like that). I think, “Oh no, I’m not going to be able to shop today. What the heck is the AOOF?” Turns out it is the American Organization of Organic Farming. I am opposed to organic farming. So now I have to decide if I am so opposed to it that I don’t want 5% of my yogurt purchases to go towards it. I decide I don’t hate organic farming that much and go inside. I find my yogurt near the ghee and unpasteurized butter and raw goat’s milk and start wandering around, looking for kosher products. Guess what, they have kosher beans! I buy some and some pareve margarine. I skip the magazines and cheese doodles and leave, angry and troubled. Angry, because I will have perform political analysis every time I want yogurt. Troubled, because I know I'll still shop there. At least it’s too early for the Greenpeace and ACLU activists. They're probably still in bed, in their hemp pajamas, with their “partners”, while their organic, free-range coffee brews. I hope they forgot to set the alarm.
Hey, b-and-c,

It's pretty rare to see a post from you, but when we do see one of yours, well...it was worth the wait!

Please excuse my ignorance, but why are you boycotting Ben and Jerry's? (I can't remember if it was in an earlier post of Bean's.)
I hear you, b-n-c, but I love Whole Foods. Lots o' kosher items therein. Turns out I rarely go there cause its location is inconvenient, and I like Trader Joe's more. Plus, I'm allergic to hemp* and I fear brushing up against someone.

And, for the record, the cheese is cheaper at the kosher stores than at the big chains (it went up about 2 bucks at Ralphs for some reason, recently).

*TRF (true ralphie fact)
Great post! Bummer about the food. I hate whole foods and trader joes, I can buy the same stuff at jewel for less.

Do you have a garden? Even a couple tomato plants in pots can make a difference- I hate having to rely on others for food, period. Good luck wiht the hippies!!
I am a lucky, lucky man.

"free-range coffee" is still cracking me up.
LOL, how funny! I shop at the Met. It's a supermarket with many weird yet edible things , with lots of products from Israel, and no political activists of any kind. Glad I have no Whole Foods near me, and the things I hear about Trader Joe's salaries make ex-USSR sound like a model of capitalism, so I avoid it.
Pearl: Aw, shucks. For the reason behind the boycott, click the link. It explains how their company philosophy is diametrically opposed to ours.

Ralphie: Especially the "industrial sized" bags. Merely $4.99

Og: Brown thumb. I've killed a cactus before.

Irina: Don't tell me anything about TJs. I don't want to know.
Don't sweat it. Cacti are easy to kill. Best thing for cacti is to water them ONLY when you hear of a flood in Mesa, Arizona.

If you put a tomato plant in a BIG flowerpot, like 18", and feed it miracle grow every day, it will give you fresh tomatos all summer long. A pepper plant can be grown the same way. I understand that some people can't be bothered, too. I love my garden.
Being a recent newcomer to the coffeehouse, I believe this is my first time meeting you. What a treat!

Btw, I have the same problems with my local kosher supermarkets, especially the one that's open till really late (early AM!) on Thursday nights. I used to go there only when I had to (like when I ran out of something after midnight on Thursday) until it was pointed out to me, that I should be making more of an effort to support an establishment whose extra services I enjoy. I can't say I always go there (their aisles can barely accommodate two-way traffic!) but I've been trying to more. Something to think about.
Nothing like a sermon from a stranger to kickstart a lasting friendship, huh? Sorry 'bout that.
Og: You know, I just might give it a try!

Ayelet: As a free-market capitalist I firmly believe that competition, not devotion will cause the kosher markets to improve. So far, my tactics seem to be working. We had a new kosher store that opened up. It had good produce, wide aisles and decent customer service. Unfortunately, it subsequently burned down. Oh well. Feel free to continue sermonizing, though.
Why do you oppose ogranic farming?
Todd: Hi and welcome to the blog. I'll try to make this brief. One of the major advances of civilization that has saved lives and increased longevity is sanitation. One of the tenets of organic farming is the use of organic fertilizer, teeming with bacteria. This fertilizer increases the chances of contracting bacterial diseases. This seems like a backwards step for mankind. The other problem is that organic farming increases the price of food, though there is no evidence that non-organic farming methods are deleterious to health. Increasing the price of food makes it less available to the poor. Witness what the “green-left’s” opposition to .
Hey Dr. Bean, thought I would venture on the wild side and visit your blog. I really do like it, great writing, but I won't touch this subject with a ten foot pole. BUT, as for Whole foods (well maybe Fresh Fields), they are not in it for ideology. I once was looking for a sponsor for an environmental program that I was developing, and their produce manager was telling me that the only reason they do this is for all the "yuppies." It's trendy and people will spend the money to be seen and to claim that they are concerned. If the prices were cheaper, and the look more "granola" and the shoppers more the armpit hair braiding crowd, I bet they wouldn't be as big and do as well. Just my opinion. Something that I have a lot of. : )
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