When I was growing up I never saw the inside of a supermarket until I was in my teens. Instead we had George’s, a small confectionery a couple of blocks from the house where we could buy everyday items like bread and milk. George was a Greek immigrant, short, fat and jolly with a blood stained butcher’s apron and a chewed off stubble of a cigar in his mouth.
Then a few blocks up the street was Mauer’s. That’s where the food shopping got serious. All of the canned goods, frozen, and some of the meat we got at Mauer’s. It was the local Tom Boy store with that smiling, bright-faced lad gracing most of its private label goods.
On weekends my grandfather and I would walk the mile down to the farmer’s market at Soulard to buy all of our baked goods, fruit and produce, and milk from Bernie the milkman. We then stopped at Schmidt’s, the meat market that was next to Soulard on 9th Street and buy the meat that my grandmother would turn into delicious roasts and stews the following week.
Sometimes we took the bus downtown to Union Market and bought our meat at the Will Doctor’s. The Will Doctor sold some unusual cuts of meat like head cheese, blood sausage, and organ meats. My grandfather being an ex-butcher, this kind of thing was right up his alley.
Back then nutrition pretty much took care of itself. We really didn’t worry too much about it. This was before the era of prepackaged, processed foods filled with chemicals that you couldn’t pronounce. And it was before the fast food era when most of your meals were prepared at home and everyone sat around the table and ate together.
The came the hustle and bustle of daily modern life and convenience and no one had the time to eat at home anymore. Convenience was the name of the game and everything became processed.
Now, according to the St. Louis Daily News, we are entering a sort of nutrition recession. Not that we were doing all that well before, but everyone knows that it costs money to eat well. It’s a lot cheaper to grab a fast food meal or a bag of chips and skip the nutrition part of the meal. According to the Midwest Dairy Council, 40% of the people surveyed in a recent poll said they spent less on nutrient rich dairy foods. Source: Midwest Dairy Council/news. And as nutrition rich foods like milk and produce have steadily risen in price over the past few months, people have opted for price as the primary consideration when grocery shopping.