For the past year or more I have been doing most of my produce shopping at small neighborhood markets rather than the corporate supermarkets. I bus out to neighborhoods like Andersonville and Rogers Park. But the other day, Victor and I were downtown and I really needed some greens for our next soup. I was thinking kale, or chard. There aren't a lot of grocery options downtown--Fox & Obel is great, but it was a little out of our way; Trader Joe's didn't have what I wanted; and then there's the Jewel at Grand & State.
Located in a busy, touristy, kind of ritzy neighborhood, this Jewel might be the nicest one in the city--clean, atmospheric. But despite its size (compared to the neighborhood markets where I usually shop), Victor and I couldn't find what I wanted in the produce section. Finally we tracked down an employee. He pointed at the torn collard greens packaged in plastic bags and said, "We don't carry chard."
Our mouths must have dropped open, because he then added, defensively, "They might carry it at some of our larger stores."
"There are larger stores than this?"
(Because you see, it had been a long time since we were in a Jewel.)
"This is the smallest Jewel in the city."
Oh. We thanked the young man, looked around, and realized every leafy green vegetable was packaged in a plastic bag or container. No loose heads of lettuce, no loose spinach, and no substantial greens at all, except the collards in the bag.
Since Consumer Reports recently published results of its study of cleanliness of bagged salad (conclusion--even if it says triple-washed, wash it anyhow), I haven't been keen on buying stuff in bags, but I didn't have much choice, so I picked up a bag of spinach.
And washed it before I put it in the soup.