Essence of Berkeley: Food shopping as worship

Berkeley's Farmers' Markets: outdoor tent revivalists?

In case you missed it, a post on this site last week elicited an entertaining rumination by Berkeleysider EBGuy on Berkeley’s food stores and their role as our new cathedrals — or temples, or synagogues. More Berkeleysiders weighed in with their analogies. Here’s the full list (so far):

  • Farmers’ Markets: outdoor tent revivalists. This is where the Food Fundamentalists go.
  • Berkeley Bowl: non-denominational mega church. Draws from the surrounding region. You go there, right?
  • Berkeley Natural Grocery: storefront religion at its finest.
  • Monterey Market: Baptists. True believers. Schisms.
  • Trader Joe’s: Assemblies of God. Fervent believers. Growing fast.
  • Safeway: Mainline Protestants. Trying to revamp but slowly dying.
  • Andronico’s: high church Episcopalians.
  • Farm Fresh To You CSA: Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • Whole Foods: Unitarians. Backsliding food fundamentalists who don’t want to feel any guilt when shopping for convenience.
  • Whole Foods: Catholics. Pope, err CEO, John Mackey; need I say more?
  • Shintos go to Tokyo Fish Market.
  • Presbyterians go to Grocery Outlet.
  • Hindus go to the San Pablo/University markets.
  • Secular humanists aren’t sure where to go.
  • Atheists grow their own.
  • The Cooperative Grocery is the Judaic temple.
  • Pagans gather huckleberries and miners’ lettuce in the woods.
  • Irish Catholics shop at Beverages & More and complain about the Joyce quotes.
  • Italian Catholics shop at Genova’s Delicatessen and buy more than they need.
  • Opus Dei Catholics shop at Natural Grocery Company while lecturing patrons on the impurities present.
  • Jesuits shop at Lucky because they’re open 24 hours and they can get in their shopping before 6 a.m. mass.
  • Convent of the Sacred Heart sends the glove-clad hired help to Star Grocery.
  • Anti-Zionist Jews shop at Halal Food Market because it makes them feel less “oppressive”.
  • Zionist Jews now ONLY buy Israeli manufactured couscous and feta at Trader Joe’s by the caseload.
  • Conservative Jews mainly shop at Andronico’s, but being somewhat nostalgic for a mythical past, they still wistfully refer to it as Park N’ Shop.
  • Reform Jews also shop at Andronico’s on Shattuck, University and at Whole Foods on Telegraph but pretend it’s still the old Berkeley Co-op to balm their forward oriented conscience.

Thanks to EBGuy, Superstar Jane, Maureen Burke, Lee Trampleasure, Nancy Schimmel, Cliff Magnes and SZ Underwood. For attributions see original post. Photo: jaycross, Creative Commons.