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Joanna [userpic]

It's lunch time and I'm writing about food. Typical.

January 11th, 2008 (12:23 pm)

Independently Owned Shops

This topic was rolling around the blogosphere in honor of holiday shopping season. But it's one that is close to my heart year round. I was reminded of this today when I received an email from Greg, the proprietor of Between Books.

Yesterday I had emailed him asking if he had three particular books available. He has two (which he has set aside for me), but the third he'd have to reorder. It turns out there are two available editions of the second book - he asked which I'd prefer.

Sure, I probably could have gotten the same service from a customer service person at Borders. But would that Borders employee know my reading habits and make suggestions as to what I may like to read next? Would they take a break from work to say "I just read this really funny thing in this Warren Ellis novel - you have to see it" and then proceed to pull out the book, flip to the page and hand it to me to read?

But then everyone on my Friends List in the Philadelphia Area already knows about Greg and Between Books. I'm preaching to the choir.

When it comes to gourmet kitchen supplies I suggest a visit to I. Wood in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Cory co-owns the business with his father-in-law. They're great people and know their field. In addition to the store, Cory has a part-time personal chef business and loves to teach about the art and science of cooking. Yes, the items they carry can be expensive, but they are high quality items that will last after years of use.

Speaking of cooking and food, my favorite produce shop is independently owned. Sue's Produce is on 18th Street a little north of Sansom Street. It's a tiny place that is filled to brimming with fresh produce. The prices are fantastic as is the variety. I absolutely love them.

I have reclaimed my kitchen. cue applause

After months of neglect my kitchen is again useable. I received a lot of cooking gifts over the holidays, so I set out to tidy up and put things away. Nearly all of my dishes are clean; the only things unwashed are my beloved coffee press, a mug, a plate and a saucepan. I even have available counter space.

As a result of the tidying I've cooked dinner four nights in a row. The meals haven't been terribly complicated or inspired, but I cooked damn it! Considering the past few months it is an accomplishement of epic proportions.

Monday: Whole wheat pasta with a hearty meat sauce
Tuesday: Spinach tuna braid with chunky tomato basil soup
Wednesday: Chicken vegetable stew with biscuits
Thursday: leftovers from Monday

Tonight the run of cooking will likely end. We have to make a trip to Ikea after work and will probably eat at the cafe. However, I'm inspired for next week. I've even started planning my menu, as it makes grocery shopping so much easier. Imagine that!


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