Improvisational Tuscan-Provençal-Catalan Cookery (and other good stuff to eat)
I don't like Trader Joe's. (at least in my neck of the woods). The only thing I ever buy there is cheese. First of all, to me, everything else is just goofy crap geared for death warmed over quasi-health freaks and morons who think it is a trendy place to be seen. Secondly, they are just to damn happy, especially at check out and with those freakin' Hawaiian style shirts. "Hi, how are you today. Did you find everything you were looking for? Did you see our carob coated dehydrated carrot slices...they are yummy!" No actually, I did not find everything I was looking for. I did not see any elbow macaroni. I did, however, find whole wheat and cranberry penne which I guess to them is a great substitute.
They do stock something that is very good and something I am very picky about: extra sharp North American white cheddar cheese. They carry a Canadian extra sharp that actually meets my expectations but since it does, I suspect it will soon be replaced on their shelves by a mild and soft French something. I like a few different cheeses from around the world but I definitely am not keen on French cheese. If I was on death row and could only have one type of cheese, it would be extra sharp cheddar. The US and Canada make this kind, but only in a few select areas and by those with the knowledge to do it right. Forget all the French cheeses that taste and smell like dead feet. Johnny, you can have them. My next favorite cheese is Grana Padano from northern Italy. Yes, I like it better than Reggiano. That in itself, is politically and socially treason since Reggiano has pummeled everyone here and yon that it is the best. It is very good, yes, but not as good as Padano. Not as sharp and, to me, sharpness is the name of the game. Oh, Trader Joe's has reggiano but not Grana Padano. Very few have even heard of it even though it has been araound as long as Reggiano.
Anyway, Trader Joe, you blow but I will still grit my teeth and go in to get the Canadian Extra Sharp Cheddar and once that goes, so will I.