Friday, January 08, 2010

Astronomie and other feminine pursuits

-Fashion! Consider this the unofficial announcement of my (theoretical) clothing line, Astronomie, inspired by the presence but relative lack of galaxy-patterned clothes on the market today. If there can be Anthropologie, there can most definitely be Astronomie, and the name would at least make sense. Now I just have to figure out how one goes about getting fabric made with photographs of, well, with photographs (I know it can be done, but have no experience with this sort of thing), and, once that's done, learning how to make clothes.

-Cooking! It could be that this and this are as good as the same recipe, which I find suspicious, but whatever it is, it looks good. I'm going to attempt a variant of this with wheatberries, cubed yam, red onion, and arugula. I'm also going to attempt to recreate a garlicky cannellini bean appetizer I had in DC, but with parsley in the place of arugula, because it just seems like it would taste better. (The arugula having not tasted like anything in this dish.) Clearly I had a little too much fun in the bulk-foods section of Fairway. What either of these might add up to in terms of meals remains to be seen, which leads me to the unfortunately realization that the main course remains to be bought. Once the semester starts, it'll be back to arrabiata...

-Grocery shopping! Of those who read it, what did you take from the New Yorker story on the guy who started Whole Foods? What I got, in part, was that Whole Foods is - gasp - an enterprise aimed at making a profit. There are, it seems, naive shoppers who imagine that the green aura of the chain means that it exists out of the selfless purpose of making you, the consumer, lead a healthy and sustainable life.

The most interesting aspect of the piece was, I felt, the reminder of how Whole Foods at once revolutionized and destroyed what was once called the health-food store, the dusty, vitamin-smelling shop aimed at aging hippies with ponytails. If someone had told me as a kid that as an adult, my main supermarket would be a glorified health-food store... My sense is that many shop at Whole Foods not because of its self-promotion-as-virtuous, but despite it. If there were another nearby source of high-quality produce, cheap pasta and bulk goods, etc., one that didn't include a section with 'natural' cosmetics and organic t-shirts or whatever it is that's sold in the middle of the stores, I'd be all for it. But the no-frills, less expensive Fairway means a subway ride beyond what I could commit to during the semester, and the even less frilly but very convenient Gristedes has all the trappings of a regular ol' nothin' fancy supermarket, yet charges a ton for absolutely everything. Whole Foods, you've won this one.

-Laundry! Better get to that...

1 comment:

PG said...

The New Yorker is rather silly in saying this about the reaction to Mackey's factually- and logically-questionable WSJ oped on health care reform: "Mackey had thrown tinder on the long-smoldering suspicion, in some quarters, that he was a profiteer in do-gooder disguise, and that he, and therefore Whole Foods, was in some way insincere or even counterfeit."

Mackey's arguments in the op-ed were mostly founded on how greater state involvement with health care would be worse for people generally, not because it would cut into his own profits. And since the WSJ was only interested in his opinion because he was the founder and CEO of Whole Foods (see, even the smarter kind of hippie opposes ObamaCare!), it stands to reason that people who wanted to express their opposition to his views might boycott Whole Foods. It's rather pathetic for Mackey to claim that people want him to suppress his individualism in service to Whole Foods, yet take advantage of opportunities to publicize his views on matters essentially irrelevant to his area of expertise (the grocery business) that he would not obtain absent his connection to Whole Foods. If he wants to keep his beliefs separated from the corporation, he can start an anonymous blog and see how interested people are in the views of someone who doesn't have "CEO of Whole Foods" under his byline. As the SEC investigation of "rahodeb" indicated, he's clearly well-able to write under a pseudonym on matters that do relate to Whole Foods.

(It's also a bit ludicrous for the New Yorker to describe something published in one of the most popular national papers in America as having been "virally distributed via the left-leaning blogs." My father's never read a left-leaning blog in his life, yet somehow he was privy to this "viral" article by the simple expedient of subscribing to the WSJ.)

One thing I did appreciate in the article: "But I don't like to argue to be right. I like to argue because that's how I get to the truth. I think dialectically."