Retail Therapy

by Hanina Stettin
Print Email

tostitos.jpg I can’t help it.  I really can’t. 

When I go into a grocery store and I put an avocado in my cart, I think “Ohmigoshwhatifsomeonecomesoverandwantschipstoo?” And so I go and buy chips.  Two kinds.  Because what if a friend has a craving for blue corn instead of yellow?  G-d forbid I should not have blue corn tortilla chips in the house.  That’s thought one. 

Thought two is more like “hmm, never heard of that before.  Maybe it would add a nice kick to stir-fry.”  And so I put the odd looking, non-English labeled jar into the cart, too. 

By the time I’ve made it through the first few aisles and thrown in everything I or my roommate could possibly need in the next week (or month), I’m usually just plain hungry.  Clearly, that’s trouble.  You remember being a teenager in the grocery store and your mom opening up a bag of something “just to snack on while we shop”?  Mortifying.  And, of course, exactly what I do now. 

cart300w.jpg Grocery shopping is about turning into my parents.  As I trail crumbs through the aisles, I become my mom.  And then, as I reach for the weirdest thing I see (most of it’s not in English), I become my dad.  Enter a store and voila! Instant channeling.   

It’s my retail therapy only my retailers are Trader Joe’s, Vons, and, if I’m feeling particularly spendy, Whole Foods. Grapes? I’ve got them. Pasta? By the case. And ice cream?  I’ve filled my cart too many times over to start counting the half gallons and pints. 

I’ve relaxed a bit over the years.  Sometimes, I even let my fridge get down to the last bit of chevre and a lonesome looking bok choy.  But when the urge hits, I rarely fight it.  I head to the grocery store and allow myself to be swept up in fantasies of beautiful couscous and lamb tagines or spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream smothered in whipped cream, and as my shopping cart fills up, I relax.  And seeing my credit card bill at the end of the month sends me straight back to the store.        

A Los Angeles native, Hanina Stettin currently works at Mama's Kitchen in downtown San Diego.


0 #2 LS 2011-09-13 09:48
Love this article. I have gone to therapy at Ralphs on Beverwil countless times. :b
0 #1 Reut 2008-03-20 08:53
What a brilliant article, and how true. I have not laughed so hard in a long time.

Add comment

Security code

Restaurant News

Breakfast at the Barlo Kitchen
Los Angeles
by Lisa Dinsmore

barlologo.jpgBreakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Especially a hot one. Sometimes cereal or a muffin is all I have time for, but those are mere sustenance. They don't make getting out of bed worthwhile. I...

Rendezvous in Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

rendezvousIt's six o'clock. Traffic is intense for no Red Sox game and the Grateful Dead boys several weeks gone. Every street is on hold as we split to Central Square's Mass Avenue and voilà: it's...

Enjoying Spring with a Kabusecha Sip
by Alexis Siemons

greenteaOnly a few weeks into spring and I can't stop steeping grassy greens. The bright, vegetal flavors with subtle hints of sweetness are in harmony with the buds on the verge of blossoming.

While I...

Mozza Mozza
Los Angeles
by Maia Harari

ImageMario Battali’s newest haunt in L.A.

Mozza Osteria, Mario Battali’s newest adjunct to his Mozza Pizza just opened on Melrose, just west of Highland. Though most new restaurants in LA advertise...