Anyone who has ever lived in a major city can tell you that, while your grocery options are diverse, they are not necessarily ideal. There are the ubiquitous bodegas packed with dusty cans of Campbell’s and ramen, the “delis” where meager displays of shrink-wrapped meats sit idly next to a few square slabs of Provolone and Swiss, and the green grocers with mounds of cheap, over-ripe produce. The Safeways, Key Foods, and Food Towns still hang around but their offerings are limited, their fruits and vegetables overshadowed by towering freezer cases and dozens of cracker selections. Of course, there are the co-ops and the health food stores, but only for those whose time and money are in abundant supply. The urban home cook, it seems, navigates a treacherous path.
But this is not necessarily a grim fate, dear reader.
This blog aims to hunt down and deliver, in a practical and honest way, the knowledge which is perhaps inborn for many native New Yorkers: how to source, purchase, and support real, fresh food and gastronomically thrive on a budget in New York City.
A few words from Kim:
When my husband and I first moved to New York, it took me a while to accept that the areas we were able to afford were also the ones conspicuously lacking the restaurants, markets, and grocery stores to which I was accustomed. Over the years, I’ve grown to love my Brooklyn neighborhood, the people who share my building, the old women at the green grocers who carefully appraise the quality of the vegetables in the discount dollar bags for their usefulness. Although I suppose this blog will mainly pique the interest of readers whose neighborhoods lack a Bedford Cheese Shop or a Union Market, I believe we can all take a cue from the resourceful old ladies of our fare borough and use what is available to us to its best advantage. We need to learn to cook in a way that is resourceful and satisfying. We need to realize that perhaps it is advisable to go without those illusive grocery items when your only options are processed, overpriced, or quickly approaching their expiration dates. Better yet, we can decide to make these things in our own kitchens. But most importantly, we need to work to insure that the resources which are improving the quality of local food distribution remain accessible and affordable to all.
A few words from Aleda:
My name is Aleda, and I live in Queens. As a part-time graduate student of Urban Affairs and a harried full-time mom of a wild one-and-a-half year old daughter and a self-described “curious” three-and-a-half year old son, I often find myself at odds with my love of food and desire to be a great cook and my everyday time constraints. I am constantly trying to find ways to make my family’s food as tasty, healthy, and simple as possible, which is by no means an easy feat. What I am even more intersted in is the quality of food I’m putting into my tiny children’s bodies. Every week I find myself grocery shopping across at least three different stores, finding the best deals for the best produce I can get, and trying my hardest to scan ingredients in snacks and processed foods, all while living on one salary for four people and a dog in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I constantly feel torn between my utterly restrictive budget and my desire to keep my foods as whole as possible. This, as my fellow middle class New Yorkers know, is no easy task. I am writing for this blog because I want to discover and share good spots for good produce, whole food, and good easy recipes with others in a similar predicament. I want to help create a place for those of us with dreams of being able to buy all local, all organic food who don’t have the means to live that culinary dream.