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Home cooking

Driving back from a trip to Kansas City the other day, we passed through Des Moines, Iowa, around lunchtime and started looking for a grocery store.

We looked, and looked some more. No grocery stores hove into view. We did see a lot of fast-food places on every commercial corner -- Boston Markets and burger places and mid-level suburban ubiquities like Appleby's and Carrabbas Italian Swill. But no grocery stores. There were single-family homes for blocks in every direction. Did the people who lived there never cook for themselves?

Finally, we stumbled into a neigborhood where a few "european-style" lofts were going up, and lo! A foofy grocery store appeared before us . It was the kind of place that hosts Rick Bayless of Topolobampo fame for a cooking seminar on Mexican food, and charges $120 per person for the privilege of attending. Evidently, enough of these people who live in trendy lofts still cook for themselves to support a local grocery store with an in-house fromageur who will apologize -- appropriately -- for the store's unfortunate inability to stock burrata.

It made me wonder: has home cooking become a fetish of the moneyed class? Does everyone else just buy their food indirectly from the megadistributor Sysco, via the line cooks at Macaroni Grill?



You actually had a bunch to choose from. Why you didn't see any from the road (I guess they don't put them near major roads in Des Moines) is interesting. If you had taken the southern route, through St. Louis, you could have stopped at the grocery chain with the most amusing name: Schnucks. (ask Heidi's boss why it's so amusing) Seriously, I've lived in several working class neighborhoods, and there were always chain grocery stores nearby. The real ghettos have a shortage of places, and they overcharge (it is actually a serious problem, if you recall HRH Sir A.W. Brian Simpson OBE GYN telling us about how the poor pay more for all sorts of stuff), but there are plenty of supermarkets in middle class and working class areas.

Now, back to studying for the NM bar. Another year, another bar exam.

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