Why I Love Wegmans and An Ode to Butter

Before I ever set foot in a Wegmans, I had heard of the legend.  It sounded like heaven in a grocery store — aisles and aisles of picture perfect fruits and vegetables, fantastic customer service, and an extensive selection of organics.  I had friends that raved about Wegmans, and I always wondered if a grocery store really could live up to their accolades.

Then last summer I read What to Eat by Marion Nestle, a guidebook to today’s supermarkets and the food industry, wherein she explained that Wegmans has their own set of stringent rules governing their seafood counter (far stricter than the FDA’s wishy-washy standards) including in-house testing for microbial levels and regular inspections of their suppliers.  That’s when I decided to seek out the nearest Wegmans and never buy seafood anywhere else again.  Since then, Wegmans has come to a theater near me.  Or, um, a shopping center, rather.  And I have stuck to my guns.  If I want seafood, I go to Wegmans.  As a result, I rarely go to another grocery store, with the exception of the health food store.

So today I was in the mood for seafood for dinner so I made the stop at Wegmans.  As always, the staff behind the seafood counter was friendly and knowledgeable and guided me to select a nice wild caught fillet of fluke.  I moseyed on over to the produce department and loaded my cart with a wide variety of fruits and veggies, all at the peak of freshness.  Finally I made my way to the natural foods section and stocked up on organic flours and sugars, but no matter how hard I looked, I could not find the yeast.

We are in desperate need of homemade bread, and my yeast is gone so I hated to leave without it.  I combed the conventional baking aisle as well as the natural foods baking aisle and finally gave up and made my way to the checkout lines.  That’s when I noticed a Wegman’s employee standing around, looking as if it was her job to be available to help lost souls like myself.  I had already begun putting my groceries on the conveyor belt when I spotted her, but there was no one behind me so I scurried over and asked about the elusive yeast.  She quickly informed me that it was in the dairy aisle and told me to tend to my groceries, that she would bring it to me.

Sure enough, by the time my groceries were unloaded, she was back with several packets of each the fast rising and the regular yeast.  I took the regular yeast from her, thanked her profusely, and completed my transaction.

On the way out, a young guy was gathering carts and he smiled and said hi as I made my way to my car.  I unloaded my wares and turned around to find the guy waiting to take my cart from me.

Now this isn’t rocket science, but for some reason, efficient friendly service like that is hard to come by these days.  And that is why I big pink puffy heart Wegmans.

And speaking of my grocery shopping trip, I couldn’t help but notice the purchases of the young girl behind me in line.  Do you look at other people’s grocery purchases?  Honestly, I try not to, because I feel myself getting all judgy and I don’t like myself very much when I get that way.  So I usually look away and focus on my task at hand, which is about all I can handle anyway, truth be told.  But I couldn’t help but notice a small collection of what most people would consider healthy foods — assorted fruits and veggies, a box of Shredded Wheat, a carton of low-fat yogurts, and a tub of Smart Balance.

The mama in me wanted to hand her a copy of Real Food and beg her to read it cover to cover, but of course I would never do that.  Then I got home and found an email in my inbox from Elaine, asking me if I’d seen this article — This Is Your Brain On Margarine.  You think I should make a few dozen copies and bring them with me next time I’m at the grocery store?

Hey, I betcha didn’t know this: “Butter contains more vitamin A than carrots.”

So go butter your veggies!  And your bread.  And your eggs.  Yes, your eggs.  I always put a dollop of butter on top of my hot-off-the-griddle fried egg.

Disclosure:  I am in no way affiliated with Wegmans unless you consider the fact that they take about half my paycheck every month.