Tomatoes - and Other Supermarket Happenings
By Deborah Salomon
The price of most fresh vegetables crept up after last winter's Florida freeze.
Now, tomatoes have soared. This attracts attention. Last week, a few stores were charging $3.99 for slicers. CNN reports that some restaurant chains may omit the ubiquitous slice (not that it tastes much like a tomato) from burgers and sandwiches.
You can substitute Napa cabbage or spinach leaves for lettuce but tomatoes are tomatoes.
But they don't have to be fresh, even on sandwiches. Buy a can of whole tomatoes, Italian, if possible. Drain tomatoes and dry on paper towels. Cut into thick slices, bake in a hot oven for 15-20 minutes and cool. This substitute adds more flavor to burgers and BLTs than a sliced pink cue ball.
Other supermarket tidbits:
n Lowe's, Food Lion, Fresh Market and now Bo's have mini-carts, which are convenient for shoppers and don't clog aisles. Why not Harris Teeter?
n Harris Teeter and Lowes offer strong paper bags with handles. If you forget to bring a reusable bag, ask for fully packed paper bags. Baggers are instructed to pack detergents separately - also breakables like eggs. A shopper can end up with 12 plastic bags instead of two paper. After unpacking paper bags, fold neatly and return to car for next time.
n If you love English muffins but don't love how doughy and blah they've become, try Bo's Our Family store brand, in the dairy counter - only $1.19 for six. They have big craters and that wonderful yeasty bite. Other excellent store brand (or unique to a store) products: Taste of Inspirations Raspberry Chipotle Salsa at Food Lion and Fresh Market Anything Goes sauce to pour on, you guessed it, anything. I like either salsa or sauce on cottage cheese, steamed cauliflower, a baked potato, shrimp, chicken, eggplant or TT (tasteless tilapia) filets.
n Some clever food scientist has improved the texture of cooked whole-grain pasta, which used to be either sticky or stiff. Try Barilla Plus Multigrain Angel Hair, which is especially good in Asian noodle dishes.
n I wonder why tuna packers don't put the fancy flavored varieties in pull-tab cans (to open at the office) instead of foil pouches? Could it be that they can charge more?
n Speaking of prices, who can afford cookies these days? Read what's in them and you won't want to. In addition to homemade, I've gone back to graham crackers. Most are made with whole grains; some are low-fat besides being moderately priced. Walmart brand is good; also HoneyMaid chocolate or lowfat cinnamon. Crumble a few in a bowl, top with Yoplait Whips vanilla yogurt and a squirt of Hershey's Lite Chocolate Syrup for a simple and delicious dessert the kids will love.
Contact Deborah Salomon at email@example.com.
More like this story