Searching Trader's shelves

By BRIAN DUFF  |  December 1, 2010

None of this wine was much worse than what you might get from Hannaford for twice the price. The snacks were good for getting a bit of grease in the stomach between sips. Potato pancakes had street-vendor-latke simplicity with no discernable herbs. Lemongrass rolls had distinct and pleasant gingery flavor, and pastries topped with ham and a creamy bland cheese were not bad when piping hot. Mini chicken tacos were stiff and unacceptably tasteless.

In a recent essay Ian Svenonius suggests we learn from "the strange uniformity of every epoch's beverage cult." Our chosen beverage, he suggests, is "the symbolic booty from recent conquests. A culture's adopted beverage represents the blood of their vanquished foe." Our own recent conquest is ourselves: our traditional sense of control over the directions of our lives and the future of our nation. Cheap wine, produced in huge metal vats and chemically manipulated, rejects centuries of tradition in craftsmanship, expertise, and terroir. There is no telling what these clever entrepreneurs will come up with next to make cheap wine reasonably drinkable, and thus our disposable, unpredictable lives relatively bearable.

Brian Duff can be reached atbduff@une.edu.

TRADER JOE'S | 87 Marginal Way, Portland | 207.699.3799

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Food Features , Wine, Amsterdam, Bangkok,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRIAN DUFF
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   GIVE 'EM A HAND  |  April 10, 2014
    Pocket-sized comfort foods
  •   EXTREME LOCALISM  |  March 19, 2014
    Perhaps Vinland’s pontifications become white noise, which fades away as you appreciate the food and its distinctive coherence of flavors and textures — the Nordic, astringent, piney, ascetic goodness of it all.
  •   DISTINCTIVE SUBURBAN DINING  |  March 14, 2014
    It is the rare chef, for example, who can make ordering the “veggie plate” seem like a good idea in retrospect — but the one at Oscar’s was fantastic, with a great mix of colors and textures.
  •   CRACKING OUR HARD EXTERIORS  |  February 27, 2014
    These days it is mollusks like oysters, mussels, and clams (rather than crustaceous shellfish, like lobster, crab, and shrimp) that best represent our collective emotional temperament. 
  •   THE SPICE OF LIFE (AND DEATH)  |  February 12, 2014
    In our reverence for herbs and spices  we should detect our contempt for the blander staple ingredients they are often meant to enliven.

 See all articles by: BRIAN DUFF