Trying to make sense of the Amazon-Whole Foods Market buyout? Start by reading Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman. I recently reviewed it for the Weekly Standard. As with all of Ruhlman’s works, Grocery is a pleasure to read. The history is fascinating and the trends are intriguing—our shopping habits and the structure of the supermarket itself continue to evolve. But we seem to be heading back toward the specialty stores of yesteryear. This is mostly because supermarkets can barely compete with Walmart and now Amazon. But Grocery is also a homage to the author’s father, who genuinely loved shopping for food. The elder Ruhlman especially loved butter: “Any conduit for [butter’s] entry into his mouth sufficed: boiled artichokes, snails, lobster, bread, it didn’t matter. The man felt a kind of ecstasy when ounces and ounces sluiced down his gullet, nutritionists be damned.” Sounds like my kind of guy!
Photo of Whole Foods, East Village, New York: David Shankbone