Friday, March 7, 2014

The Trouble with Whole Foods AND the Trouble with Books

Guest Post by Granny Anne.

 I love going to Whole Foods when I am in Seattle. We don’t have anything quite like it in Australia – yet. There are many reasons that visits there are enjoyable. Firstly they arrange fresh food, flowers, wine, cheeses,  - everthing so well. I am sure there is a special department for it that has worked out the aesthetics of presentation. The Carrots are sorted just so – as to blend in with the green capsicums next to them – and so it goes on. There is a feel-good about the whole shopping trip. The meat and fish is graded for sustainable and ethical farming. You almost know the name of the top level of chicken you buy. These lucky chickens are raised with lots of space, with easy access to outside, with nesting material to scratch in and be a natural chicken. When they are killed, they are not moved more than a kilometer or two and they are never held upside down. You only have to know about the life of an average chicken to know that this would be a paradise for a modern chicken. So you can feel good – almost good about eating meat or fish from Whole Foods.

But – there are complications – first you buy too much – too much looks so good and you are sure it will be consumed at home. This leads to waste. I have bought a book on the waste in America – ‘American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food’ by J. Blood. I have been trying to get my grandchildren to finish their food. This does not seem to be a problem when there is a cookie there but the main course of ‘good’ food often is a struggle.
Secondly, after you leave WholeFoods with your trolley almost full there are always one or two people begging outside. They stand in the cold and rain with placards detailing their sad situations. Sometimes they offer a poem for you to buy. This is coming down to earth fast.

We have too much food in our fridges and too many books in our houses. I love going to Third Place Books when I am in Seattle.
Vios Café at Third Place on Urbanspoon
Vios at Third Place
The coffee shop, Vios,  is a treat.  The plate of dips is exceptional and the Kopanisti dip is good enough for a special trip.  The kids enjoy the kebabs and they also have delicious seasonal baked goods which they make on site as well as Italian gelati which we enjoy in summer.

When you come in, offer the Third Place store a chance buy some of your second hand books and they will give you a discount. At least they used to buy lots, but this time they hardly took any. I am sure Amazon is affecting them. Their stocks are high and the second hand books sell so cheaply – most are under $10. I am going home with about 15 new books in my bags.

Shannon gives away books. The latest phenomenon is the Little Free Libraries that have sprung up since I was last here. take a book and leave a book. One is in Shannon’s street and each one is decorated differently. This is a wonderful idea and I hope that it eventually finds its way Down Under - which is where I am going, leaving in two hours.

By Anne Chappel

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