Friday, June 15, 2012

An Ode to Trader Joe's

I can't remember a time when my family didn't shop at Trader Joe's. As a native of Los Angeles, I remember shopping with my mom back when they still packaged their own cheese in-store. The whole place reeked of it. The parking lot was always impossibly crowded then, and it's far worse now. (This seems to be the case for all TJ's, new and old.) My mom still shops at the same Westwood Blvd location, despite the fact that I'm certain they have her picture behind the checkout, labeled "CRAZY LADY, BEWARE!" - but that's a story for another post!

When I moved to the Bay Area, I had a few Trader-Joe-less years. Then we bought a house in San Mateo. It was a darling little 2 bedroom with a nice backyard (by California standards, which means it was the size of a postage stamp). There were some drawbacks to living there, like being 1 1/2 blocks from the train tracks, but the location had an unforeseen bonus: it was walking distance to Trader Joe's!  WOOHOO!

We're no longer within walking distance, but I still shop at TJ's at least once a week. They have such crazy good stuff! Their frozen foods are amazing, and there's always something new to try. They even give free samples! And those samples work - I've often bought what I tasted and had it for dinner that night.

Today, though, Trader Joe's has cemented my customer loyalty - as if I couldn't love the store enough. I'll get to why in a minute, but first a little background:

I've been all in a tizzy this week after FINALLY realizing that most cans are lined with BPA. I mean, duh! How many years late am I to this party? I knew to buy BPA-free things for Katie, but I hadn't a clue about canned goods. We don't eat too many canned foods, but there are definitely some things in my pantry I'll be getting rid of soon. I don't want to overreact, because this might be just some crunchy hippie extremist thing that isn't backed by science. I hope that's the case and that all the food we've been eating is safe! But just in case, I'm phasing out BPA-lined cans from our lives.

In that vein, I was hoping to start making my own tomato sauce and freezing it for later use. I went to the farmers' market yesterday with sky-high hopes of finding fabulous, organic heirloom tomatoes for a song, coming home and peacefully spending the rest of the day puttering around the kitchen. HAH! First off, tomatoes aren't really in season yet. I didn't think $4 a pound sounded like an affordable option, so I bought nothing and sulked. Secondly, when am I going to realize that these idyllic homesteading fantasies are just plain crazy? Just because I manage to make my own yogurt doesn't mean I'm going to be able to raise sheep for wool or keep bees for honey.

Anyway - back to TJ's. Most of the cans in my pantry come from there, and a little googling informed me that some of their products are actually BPA-free! Score! So I emailed their customer service asking which ones. They got back to me within hours with a list, and nearly all their products either are already BPA-free or they have plans to make them so within this calendar year. SO AWESOME!

Love you, Trader Joe's!!!

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