It’s been almost three months since I moved to New Orleans from my home town in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and in this new city, as with any other, I’ve had to figure out all the best places to go grocery shopping (or as people say here, “make groceries”). That might be easy for some people, but not for me.
I’m not a one-stop grocery shopper or even someone who does well inside superstores like Costco; I’d much prefer to seek out a variety of smaller options. I credit this preference to my mother, a first-generation American who grew up before supermarkets dotted (some might say blotted) the landscape. Her family’s routine, like that of many city dwellers, was to patronize multiple stores close to where they lived.
Even when bigger stores arrived, my mother wasn’t interested. My aunt Maxine, a research scientist who joined our household when my father died, did the shopping. She would head out with note cards on which my mother had jotted the specific brands, types of produce, and weights of meat and seafood that she wanted. To satisfy her requirements, Maxine had to visit multiple businesses. And when I began doing my own shopping, I adopted the same habit.
Back in Ann Arbor, I didn’t give grocery sourcing a second thought, although things got a little challenging during pandemic shortages. But those gave me an opportunity to seek out some places I didn’t patronize in the before times, and that experience is helping me find all the best stores in my new city.
Here are 10—yes, 10—different types of stores where I do my grocery shopping. Even if you usually give one store all your business, it’s always good to seek out other options. You never know what you might discover.