How my Food Crush on Trader Joe’s Taught me Some Lessons in the Appreciation of Food
Believe it or not, at one time, my food preferences weren’t quite as sophisticated as they are now. My parents would attest to the fact that I regularly enjoyed consuming large quantities of Tostito’s salsa from a jar (with matching Tostito’s triangular chips), regular (sometimes Double-Stuffed) Oreos, and Wishbone salad dressings (Ranch only), strangely on items like toast as well as lettuce. While these items have their place, as I’ve grown-up, I have started to appreciate items with a little less preservatives and a lot more individuality and unexpectedness when it comes to flavor mixing and quality. Enter: Trader Joe’s.
Chapter 1: Getting Over Food Phobias
Part of growing up is confronting your food fears. What youngster wouldn’t turn down that mushy light kelly green mixture of guacamole or hummus? Well, turning down veggie-related mush was a major part of my autobiography from ages 3 to 16, but Trader Joe’s helped pave the way towards a new-found appreciation of veggie-related appetizers. My first Trader Joe’s pita chip dipped in their famous Mediterranean Hummus was a new way to experience a puree of vegetables – flavorful and with a great texture.
Chapter 2: Experimentation
Wait, I shouldn’t eat Ranch dressing with every salad? This realization was one that knocked the wind out of me for a second, because it was a profound moment in my life when it became clear that different types of lettuce and salad toppings warrant different types of dressing to match. At some point, I had to stop requesting the bottle of creamy ranch at every restaurant and dinner at home. Cue Trader Joe’s Carrot Miso Salad Dressing, served alongside many of the brand’s clever salads, is a vibrant orange dressing spiced with just the right amount of ginger that brings out a whole new taste in spinach and vegetables.
Chapter 3: Inspiration
Trader Joe’s is pretty darn clever, somehow they think of amazing food ideas before anyone else has had a similar moment of genius. What think you of Sweet Potato Tots (tater tots made of sweet potatoes instead of Yukon golds) or Chocolate Chip Dunkers, a chocolate chip cookie that is about 4 inches long and a perfectly skinny oval, perfect for dunking in a cup of milk? I think those ideas are incredible feats of human ingenuity that I won’t even attempt to replicate. But, I am always on the lookout to improve food in terms of originality and functionality.
So it’s fair to say that Trader Joe’s helped me overcome a variety of mom-induced food phobias (she used to serve lima beans and boiled mixed veggies on a regular basis) and get more excited about cooking and consuming food. Now, not only do I experiment more with new ingredients and combinations, I’m just plain inspired by others’ food ideas. If you’d like to try making Trader Joe’s recipes at home, check out this handy dandy guide. Or, you could just leave it to the pros.
Until next time! Jen