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A Foodie’s Wonderland in the World of COVID-19

by Lillian R. Parrotta

When the summer humidity finally cools off, you know autumn is quickly approaching. Most New Englanders welcome this change because fall up north means beautiful trees, apple picking and pumpkin carving. Luckily, most of these activities have been modified to safely fit the pandemic’s standards, but this year, the colder weather comes with a batch of bad news like never before.

The summer served as somewhat of a relief to those with pandemic fatigue, as it was easy to socially distance outside. You probably walked the Esplanade a couple of times a day, rented a canoe for a few hours or joined an outdoor yoga class. You also were probably ecstatic to go out to dinner on restaurant patios.

With the colder weather, however, people are forced to spend most of their time indoors, making it almost impossible to safely see friends and harder to organically explore Boston. So, it is essential to find ways to enjoy the inside while not neglecting your neighborhood.

A new, different activity that you wouldn’t think of exploring is grocery stores. This might seem silly and the opposite of fun, but it looks like the pandemic has influenced companies to release creative products related to food in order to adapt financially. Trader Joe’s has always had their twist on the classics, and is expanding this—and, Whole Foods is joining the game.

From Trader Joe’s, you should try ... everything. There is rarely something they get wrong. They are also the best spot for fall-inspired food like pumpkin cookies, butternut squash ravioli and pumpkin frozen waffles. The only negative about TJ’s for Boston University students is that their locations are a trip from campus. Luckily, there is the T, with stops right outside the Beacon Street location (convenient if you live in West or South), and is a block from the Boylston location (convenient if you live in East)—this way, you don’t have to spend $15 each way on an Uber. Until the weather becomes unbearable, though, try walking to a Trader Joe’s to get a glimpse of the changing leaves before they all blow away.

Whole Foods is on the more expensive side, so don’t depend on it for your big grocery shopping day. Their strength compared to TJ’s is their baked goods. If you’re going to buy one thing, buy their pumpkin donut holes (baked, not fried) before December hits. These donut holes are made with molasses, which adds softness and takes away the dryness that you usually find in store-bought donuts. Whole Foods also has various pre-made mini desserts that are perfect if you live alone. For baking mixes, go to TJ’s.

If you don’t live in an apartment and don’t have access to a full kitchen, don’t worry! Whole Foods and TJ’s have tons of fresh pre-made entrees and sides, and you could easily get a whole meal out of just the pre-made section. If you’re living in the BU dorms, you are probably feeling a little more cramped—take advantage of your local grocery store.

As young people, you’ve relied on your parents to do the majority of the grocery shopping, leaving grocery stores undiscovered by students. Now is the time! Hop on the T, take the journey to your local grocery store and enjoy seeing Boston while you’re at it. You have nothing but time, so spend some of it combing through every aisle of the grocery store with your roomie pods—and, get creative!


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