Of Lettuce, Muffins, and Grocery Stores

A Pete's Living Greens butter lettuce head wrapped like a bouquet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A Pete’s Living Greens butter lettuce head wrapped like a bouquet. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Pete’s Living Greens

We’ve grown so accustomed to the ease of pre-washed lettuce in bags and plastic tubs that it’s hard to make the effort to actually rinse and tear an actual head nowadays.

Pete’s Living Greens asks you to do that. But what you get in return is really fresh lettuce that keeps impeccably well for more than a week in your fridge.

That’s because the lettuce head is sold with its roots still attached. That means you can tear or cut off what you need, and keep the rest alive to ensure freshness. The non-GMO-verified lettuce is grown hydroponically in greenhouses in Carpinteria, CA. Each clamshell container contains one head, enough to serve four as a first course or two as an entree-sized salad.

One head in each package. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

One head in each package. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

I had a chance to try samples of the butter lettuce. I tore off the leaves from their roots, gave them a rinse, and spun-dry them before tossing with cucumbers, radishes, and avocado in a mustard vinaigrette. The lettuce had good flavor all on its own. What I really liked was that I was able to keep the rest of the lettuce in my fridge for 10 more days without the usual wilting that often results with plastic tubs of pre-washed spring mix.

Look for the Living Greens at Albertsons and Safeway stores for about $2.49 each.

Model Bakery Opens A Third Outpost

With its original St. Helena and its Napa locales still going strong, the ever-popular Model Bakery has opened a third location — this one in Yountville.

Dubbed “Mini Model,” it is located in the former Coffee Caboose at 6523 Washington St. Besides Stumpton coffee drinks, you can find all your favorite Model Bakery items, including breads, pastries, cookies, and of course, its fabled buttery-licious English muffins, which have been touted on the Food Network. In fact, Oprah Winfrey is such a fan, she has them flown in regularly to her various homes.

The famous English muffins. (Photo courtesy of the Model Bakery)

The famous English muffins. (Photo courtesy of the Model Bakery)

The Mini Model also offers grab-and-go lunch items such as sandwiches.

And if you aren’t lucky enough to leave near the Napa Valley, you can order a dozen English muffins that comes with a jar of jam — for $40.

“Grocery” — Michael Ruhlman’s Latest Book

Veteran cookbook writer and food writer Michael Ruhlman turns his attention to grocery stores in his newest book.

“Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy, will leave you looking at your local grocery stores with newfound inquisitiveness.

So often, we just pop into the supermarket to grab what we need without really ever thinking about what it took — historically, economically, and architecturally — to create these modern behemoth stores that now stock everything from prepared foods to nutritional supplements to 20 types of mustard.


Ruhlman delves into how our modern-day stores evolved — and what it says about us as consumers, cooks, and eaters. He looks at the challenges grocers face today, and whether stores are purposely laid out the way they are to entice us to buy more processed and expensive foods.

Through it all, he pays homage to his father, who liked nothing better than to explore the shelves of his local market, and in so doing, instilled in his son the same love and passion for discerning ingredients.

Though Ruhlman sometimes veers off into unnecessary tangents, the book will definitely leave you never taking your favorite grocery store for granted again.

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