I just read an interesting article that suggests that dollar stores feed more people than Whole Foods.
Here in Pierce County my favorite “go to” dollar store is Dollar Tree. I tell everyone that Dollar Tree can help build affordable emergency and earthquake survival kits – communitydonations.org/Affordable-Survival-Kit.html
There are Dollar Tree stores in almost every Washington community, even smaller towns like Selah, and Toppenish. Pierce County cities have multiple Dollar Tree locations.
Survival after disasters it a good thing . . . but surviving day-to-day can often be more difficult. I’ve shopped at Dollar Tree over the years and the more I shopped there the more I came to realize how great their money saving deals on food were. One of the reasons I like shopping at Dollar Tree is that I know if I arrive between eight and nine in the morning, I can generally go make my selections, pay at the check-out stand and be back in my car in only a few minutes. If I go to Safeway I can usually count on there being only one cashier and several people in line. I’ve been known to be impatient . . . and I hate standing in line. At Dollar Tree they never have to check on prices . . . they are always a dollar.
Not everything at Dollar Tree is a real bargain, but if you have a good eye and are willing to taste-test a product before making multiple purchases, you’ll be all right. A favorite: traditional breakfast sausages. I like them for breakfast and for tacos. Flour tortillas are also available on the shelf, unfortunately I prefer corn.
Like spaghetti? You’ll find boxes and packages of noodles. Although they have Hunt’s spaghetti sauce, we usually make our own (sometimes with the breakfast sausages), but I do make two spaghetti purchases there whenever I see them available: Pampa Mushrooms – 10 oz. jar from Holland and Bellina’s Gourmet Red Sweet Pepper Strips – 10.2 oz. jar from Peru. At the bottom of the red peppers is a large clove of garlic. Nicely sliced up thin this is a great addition to spaghetti sauce. Every once in a while, I’ve found decent jars of pesto too. A week ago I found packages of sun dried tomatoes. I can eat those like candy. You can use them in salads and in vegetable dishes for a delightful taste surprise.
The ingredients for my favorite drink are all on the shelves as well: a bottle of reconstituted lemon juice, a carton of mango nectar, and Wyler’s packets of powdered, diet lemonade. The mango nectar is too sweet for me to enjoy by itself. I start off with a tall glass. I pour almost an inch of lemon juice into the bottom of the glass, and then pour an inch of the nectar. Next I open a packet of Wyler’s and empty it into the glass then top it off with cold water from the fridge. Stir . . . and sip . . . well, sip might be the wrong word . . . that first sip can sometimes involve half of the drink and leaves me smacking my lips in appreciation of the ultra tartness. When I was involved in the Jaycees, our members would make challenges: “I’ll bet you a case of Rainier Beer you can’t bring in two new members!” My wagers involved cases of lemon juice. No one ever took me up on my challenges. Don’t know why.
The bottle of lemon juice is for more than just drinking. Also, on the shelves are boxes of pound cake. I prefer the lemon poundcake. The last my time book group came to my home I served two lemon poundcakes. I poked lots of holes in the top of the loaves. In a sauce pan I made a simple syrup and lemon juice . . . lots of lemon juice. I poured the liquid coating over the cake . . . let it soak in . . . and then poured again . . . and again . . . and again. When I went to bed, my wife Peg asked if I had saved any for her. I had, but after everyone had gone, so had the last two pieces.
I have other food favorites as well . . . mango salsa, frozen waffles, pickled beets, and the last time there I found large jars of molasses from Egypt. The Dollar Tree on Sixth Avenue only has a limited selection. When I find myself in Federal Way, I visit the Dollar Store there. They have roughly twice as many food items. And many of them call to me . . . so, it’s easy for me to believe that Dollar Tree outsells Whole Foods.