Local Flavors From New York’s Capital Region: A Newbie’s Perspective

Arguably the most fun thing about moving to a new city is discovering the local culture. Neighborhood hangouts, hidden gems and—my favorite—go-to homegrown eateries. Yes, friends, I love digging into the native food scene (pun intended!). 🙂

Stanton’s new job is based in Albany, N.Y., and we’ve been living in a family-oriented town a bit south of the city for about a month now. I’ve learned that this whole area, located at the northernmost point of the Hudson Valley, is known as “the Capital Region.” And here’s what I’ve learned so far about the local flavors here.

First up, a local coffee shop called Perfect Blend. Because every good story begins in a coffee shop.

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Perfect Blend is located at the picturesque “Four Corners” intersection at Delaware and Kenwood avenues. The quintessential local coffee shop, it serves up a variety of beverages and baked goods in a friendly setting with plenty of seating, both indoors and out.

…every good story begins in a coffee shop.

My standing order: spiced chai tea latte and an oat bran muffin. To my delight, the oat bran muffin features raspberries and blueberries—a sweet surprise in this traditionally hearty product. I last enjoyed my snack break indoors, admiring this stained-glass window panel.

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Across the street (Delaware Avenue) from Perfect Blend are the Delmar Marketplace and McCarroll’s: The Village Butcher, two local businesses that care very much about the high quality of both their products and their customer service.

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On a recent Saturday morning, one of the friendly cashiers recommended the Island Coconut Green Mountain coffee to me from the Delmar Marketplace coffee bar, which paired perfectly with my made-to-order breakfast sandwich from McCarroll’s: The Village Butcher, just steps away. All of this for less than $6—hard to beat.

Stanton was my breakfast date that Saturday morning. We told the gentleman working behind the counter that we had just moved here. He called to his co-workers, “Hey, we got some newbies!” To which they all replied, “Welcome, newbies!” Let me tell you, friends: I love this place.

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Now, across the street from McCarroll’s (Kenwood Avenue—we’re still at the Four Corners) is Swifty’s Restaurant & Pub. As you would expect, they offer extensive wine and beer selections to accompany the hearty pub-style food. I so enjoyed my sangria, as well as the Cubano sandwich that arrived later.

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Just two miles down the road from the Four Corners is Kleinke’s Farm, a local dairy farm that’s been operating since the early 1900s. What’s amazing to me about this part of the country is that you can walk and shop in a bustling community (the Four Corners area), and then drive just two miles and find yourself in beautiful farmland. I’ve only taken advantage of Kleinke’s flowers so far, but I look forward to sampling their fruits and vegetables soon.

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On the subject of beautiful farmland…Indian Ladder Farms in nearby Altamont (about 12 miles west of Kleinke’s) is stunning. We loved apple picking there over Labor Day weekend. As you can see from this picture, Grace did lots of picking, while Anna focused on munching. 🙂

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There’s so much for folks to delight in at Indian Ladder Farms, including a playground for kids. The cozy bakery and café also sells apple cider donuts, which I can assure you from personal experience are a hit with people of all ages.

Back in our town, Stanton and I had a lovely experience at Tool’s Family Restaurant for breakfast one morning. We walked inside during a busy time. An older gentleman sitting in a booth leaned over and said, “You can sit anywhere you like.” So we did. As we waited, we overheard other patrons chatting with one another and greeting the servers by name.

The vibe here is neighborly and down-to-earth. I ordered a broccoli, cheese and bacon omelet (an intuitive combination of flavors, yet one I never experienced in an omelet before!).

An older gentleman sitting in a booth leaned over and said, ‘You can sit anywhere you like.’ So we did.

Close to Tool’s is Shogun Sushi and Sake Bar. It’s similarly down-to-earth, yet more upscale. During late summer, people like to sit outside on the patio.

Stanton and I loved our alfresco dinner, which began with the Appetizer Sampler of pork gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), harumaki (Japanese spring rolls) and spicy rock shrimp. Everything was flesh and flavorful. We’ll be back.

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North of Albany is Colonie, a suburb with bigger developments and stores such as Barnes & Noble, Target and Whole Foods Market. I haven’t spent much time here yet, but one rainy weekend evening, the four of us stumbled upon Grandma’s Pies & Restaurant. What a delight to find a local restaurant amidst all the chain offerings.

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Another delightful find was TwisT Ice Cream Shoppe, which is part of an old-fashioned drive-in movie theatre (Jericho). Stanton, his dad and Anna couldn’t get enough of their cones (and one kid-sized cup!). The laid-back ambiance at TwisT is a breath of fresh air.

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Last but not least, you can’t talk about New York cuisine without talking about pizza. We’ve tried a few pizza places, and our current favorite is Andriano’s (pictured below). Another good one: Golden Grain Gourmet Pizza.

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Pizza is to New York what tacos are to Texas, you could say. Thus, I’m on a mission to find an excellent Mexican restaurant to satisfy the taste buds of my San Antonio-born better half. Mission No. 2: checking out the downtown area’s food and wine scene.

Pizza is to New York what tacos are to Texas.

Any recommendations, New York friends? 🙂

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short fiction e-book, “This Is Just a Story.” Fun, timely and thought-provoking.

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A Hostess Cupcake Can Take You Back

“Be right back,” our next-door neighbor Sophia said.

The girls and I watched as she dashed inside her house. It was about 5 p.m. on a weekday, and the four of us were drawing with sidewalk chalk on Sophia’s driveway. The afternoon before, we had done the same thing on our driveway, so much so that the entire slab of concrete was covered in chalky pictures (Grace and Sophia) and scribbles (Anna).

This afternoon, Sophia had told us that her driveway had room for more pictures and scribbles.

Now, Sophia darted back outside. She held her hands out to us—two Hostess cupcakes. “These are my last ones,” she said.

Anna squealed and grabbed for one.

“Awww, thank you, Sophia,” I said. “You’re so nice.”

I read once, somewhere, that children like hearing that they’re nice. It boosts their self-esteem, apparently. Whenever my own child or someone else’s does something kind, I do my best to tell them so.

“What are these?” Grace wondered, eyeing the cupcakes. She could tell they were something good.

“These are called Hostess cupcakes,” I said. “I remember eating them when I was little. I haven’t had one in a long time though.”

“Why not, Mom?”

“Well…” I unwrapped the cupcakes for Grace and Anna. Sophia watched us, smiling. Where to begin? The saturated fat? The sugar? The infinite shelf life?

www.legends1027.com - Hostess cupcakes

No, I wasn’t going to be “that” mom and ruin this sweet moment for these children with a soapbox on nutritional value.

“The truth is,” I said, “my mom used to buy these for me. But they’re not something I buy for myself. In fact,” I added before Grace could pepper me with another “Why?” “I remember the exact kitchen cupboard in my mom’s house where she kept our Hostess cupcakes.”

I also remembered, growing up as the oldest of four kids, that I often “claimed” and labeled any sweet treats that I wanted to save for later. I would grab a Hostess cupcake, scrawl “MELISSA’S FOOD: DO NOT TOUCH” across the packaging in black marker and hide it somewhere in the kitchen. (It goes without saying that my brothers and sister didn’t really appreciate me until our adulthoods.)

Sophia shared with us that her mom had bought these for her too. Then she said, “I miss my mom.” Her mom was out of town for a bit.

There are times that I, as a grown woman, miss my mom too. She lives halfway across the country from me—two plane rides, as Grace describes. I could only imagine how a child would miss her out-of-town mom.

That afternoon, I told my little neighbor that her mom must love her so much to buy her Hostess cupcakes. I had a feeling, though I didn’t read it anywhere, that kids like hearing that their families love them.

“My mom does love me,” Sophia agreed.

“I knew it,” I said.

Grace ate her last bite of chocolate cupcake. Anna licked some of her vanilla crème filling. Then her cupcake slipped from her fingers onto the driveway.

“Oh, no!” Sophia exclaimed. “That was my last one, remember?”

I did remember. I remembered how thoughtful it was for a mom to make sure her kitchen had a few sweet treats in it. I remembered how hard it was for a kid to share those treasures with other kids.

I scooped up Anna’s cupcake. I told Sophia again that she had been so nice and that the girls had loved their cupcakes. Sophia told me that I should get some cupcakes like hers the next time I was grocery shopping.

“You should, Mom,” Grace said.

Anna licked at the last of the vanilla crème filling on her fingers.

“Maybe,” I said.

Grace and Sophia rolled their eyes at each other.

Kids know what “maybe” usually means—“no.” I remembered that from my childhood too.

The kitchen cupboard with the sweet treats. The annoying-oldest-sister “claiming” of food. The eventual generosity that comes with motherhood.

“For sure, though,” I said, “we’ll do chalk together again really soon.”

The girls agreed that that sounded good.

Photo credit: Legends 102.7 WLGZ

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

In Search of the Perfect Store-Bought Meatball

I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, known for its breathtaking mountains, coal-mining roots and multiethnic food culture. There are German beer gardens (bars) and historically Polish churches, which serve up buttery pierogis and mouth-watering kielbasa at their seasonal bazaars. And in my old neighborhood, you couldn’t drive more than a few blocks without cruising past the front door of a pizza parlor or Italian restaurant.

My Italian-American family and I enjoyed a steady diet of “pies” from Revello’s, Three Guys and Victory Pig (the only pizza place I knew that offered pint-sized cartons of chocolate milk to accompany its square-shaped, deep-fried pizza). Meanwhile, you could find my parents, my three siblings and me at Perugino’s down the street for every birthday, New Year’s Eve and high school graduation. My standing order was Chicken Ala Andy, breaded tenderloins sautéed in white wine and then drizzled in a lemon-garlic sauce.

For a long time, there was even an Italian-American grocery store, Zachary’s, on the corner of Bennett and Kelly streets, just one block from my maternal grandparents’ house (and I grew up just one block from my grandparents, Poppy and Grandma). Zachary’s closed its doors some time ago, but back in the day, you could find specialty cold cuts like capicola and mortadella behind the deli counter, along with freshly made Italian sausage and containers of seasoned olives.

Mr. Zachary always asked kids if they wanted a slice of cheese; they always said yes.

Italians, of course, have a love affair with food, and this was true of the Italian-Americans I grew up with—my own family not least among them. This epicurean passion flourished in full force every winter, when my mom spent hours preparing homemade ravioli, sauce and meatballs for our Christmas Day dinner.

Now, my mom’s meatballs—mmm, I can almost taste them now. The three main ingredients were a combination of ground veal, beef and pork with Parmesan cheese and garlic. Succulent.

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Today, I make my home in San Antonio, more than 1,500 miles from that old neighborhood and my mom’s cucina. It’s hard to find authentic Italian-style meatballs here in South Texas, where the main food group is Mexican cuisine. While I love ceviche, puffy tacos and fajitas as much as the next girl, I do miss my mom’s meatballs.

When my mom visits, she generously makes several Pyrex pans of her meatballs for my husband, our two daughters and me. On her last visit, my girls (ages 4 and 1) watched as she prepared her meatball mixture. They also enjoyed sampling the fruits of her labor afterward.

It goes without saying: My mom’s homemade meatballs didn’t last long in my house after she headed back to the East Coast.

“Mom, is this Nona’s meatball?” Grace asked one weeknight, pointing skeptically at the meatball atop her plate of gemelli pasta.

I told her no, we had already eaten all of Nona’s meatballs. I had bought these at the local grocery store.

Grace slumped back in her chair. “This is too spicy. I want a Nona meatball. Can you make one?”

With my 1-year-old underfoot, I had barely been able to boil the water for the pasta and heat up the store-bought meatballs in the oven, let alone cook, from scratch, my mom’s meatball recipe.

“Can you, Mom?”

I scooped Anna up before she could begin pushing the trash can around the kitchen, her latest developmental milestone. Then I knelt beside Grace.

“I have an idea,” I told her. “We don’t have any of Nona’s meatballs left, and I can’t make them right now either. But we can find another wonderful meatball. A second-best, store-bought meatball. Deal?”

Grace still looked skeptical. Anna began wiggling out of my grasp. “It will be fun,” I announced.

We needed to find something not quite as zesty as our first store-bought meatball, the H-E-B Spicy Italian Style Pork Meatballs. Thus, the next time the girls and I went grocery shopping, I picked up a package of Aidells Italian Style with Mozzarella Cheese Meatballs.

I loved these chicken meatballs. I also loved that they were fully cooked; all I had to do was heat them up stovetop in my favorite (store-bought) marinara sauce.

Grace, however, found them too spicy for her taste, again. At first, Anna seemed to like this meatball, but then she began grunting for her sippy cup of water. Too spicy for her, too.

“I don’t know, Mom,” Grace said. “Maybe Nona should come back. Or you should make her meatballs.”

“Both good ideas,” I replied, gobbling up some dinner (while standing at the kitchen island, of course—moms rarely sit when they eat). “In the meantime, though, we’re going to find the perfect store-bought meatball. Sound good?”

Grace picked at her pasta.

I found myself grocery-shopping solo the next time, which gave me the opportunity to peruse the meat market shelves in a more laid-back state than if Grace and Anna were riding along in the grocery cart, asking for a snack every couple of seconds. I spotted a container of Italian-style turkey meatballs. Both the girls liked turkey. I decided to give these meatballs a try.

That night, I served Grace her pasta with a turkey meatball on top. I cut another one up into tiny pieces for Anna and put them on her high chair tray. Anna took a piece, tasted it and gulped it down. Then another, and another.

“Mom.”

I looked over at Grace, who was chewing and smiling. “Mom, I love this meatball.”

“You do?”

“Yes! And I want another one!”

“You do!” I spooned another meatball onto Grace’s plate.

She smiled again. “You did it, Mom.”

I smiled back at her. Mamma mia, how about that—I had found the perfect store-bought meatball.

The Italian-Americans back home wouldn’t think that was much of an accomplishment. A store-bought meatball? A turkey one at that?

“Mom…another one!”

“You want a third meatball?”

Grace laughed. Anna joined in.

Yes, I’d done it.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

When I Go to My Mom’s House

My hubby, daughters, and I recently returned from a visit with my family in Pennsylvania. I was so glad that Baby G was able to meet my maternal grandmother, who helped raise me, during this time. They shared a heartfelt hello, and good-bye.

We stayed with my parents, as we always do. And as always, my mom made sure her house was ready for us. She put clean towels in our rooms, along with new clothes for the girls. (“Don’t worry about packing them anything!” she said.)

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My mom has a second freezer in the basement. When we arrived, she began thawing the food she prepared for our visit weeks earlier: breaded chicken, lasagna, stuffed cabbage rolls, zucchini fritters, and—per Little G’s request—lots of cookies. I think second freezers in the basement, bursting with goodies like these, may be distinctive of families of Italian-American heritage. 🙂

Towels, clothes, homemade food … all creature comforts. Who wouldn’t love to “come home” to these things? What I love about my mom’s house, though, is that these things symbolize her caring for my family and me.

All this caring takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort. Of course, this is what moms do.

I remember a moment soon after Baby G was born, when both my mom and Stanton’s mom were standing with me in my kitchen. My mom was staying with us for a few weeks to help out, and I mentioned that Charlotte did the same thing for her own daughter about a year and a half earlier. Playing with the new baby’s older sisters; getting their breakfasts, lunches, snacks (so many snacks!), and dinners ready; making sure they were clean and well-rested. Plus hundreds of other things that moms do every day, from putting Band-Aids on boo-boos (including the imaginary ones) to calling a plumber because the kitchen sink faucet is dripping (again). Basically, taking care of everyone and everything.

“You both did so much,” I remember saying to my mom and Charlotte.

They looked at each other and laughed. “Well, we’re battle tested,” Charlotte said. It was something any seasoned mom could relate to.

As the years move on, I want to create the kind of house that my mom has, and Charlotte has. And I want to be the kind of mom that they’ve been to their children (four each!). I want my daughters to know our front door is always open to them and their friends, and later their families. I want them to know I’ll always take care of them, whether they’re 4 years old or 40. When you come to my house, there will always be plenty of everything. Just bring yourself.

Another hope I have is that my girls will be as close as I am to my sister and brothers. During this recent visit, my sister took time off from her job in New York City to be with us. At one point, Jenna handed me a cup of coffee along with a plate of my mom’s Jimmy Carter Cake and said, “OK, let’s go.”

“Where?”

“To eat and watch an episode of Fright Night Lights, DUH.”

I laughed and followed my sister to the nearest TV, coffee and cake in tow. Because we love simply hanging out and sharing a cup of coffee together (Friday Night Lights reruns optional). It’s the little things, right, friends?

Yes.

I hope my daughters develop a similar bond. And I hope that as they journey along with their own lives, they come back to my house to reconnect.

I’ll need to get my own second freezer one day.

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts: An Underrated Side Dish

I’ve shared some of my favorite recipes in blog posts here, here, here, here, and here! A dinnertime question that can be a bit tricky, though, is a good side dish.

An old standby side of mine is oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. A good, basic recipe for oven-roasted Brussels sprouts is this one, compliments of Whole Foods. Definitely toss with shredded Parmesan cheese at the end—yum!

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts An Underrated Side Dish

These oven-roasted Brussels sprouts make a filling accompaniment to gourmet sandwiches like French dips and just-defrost-and-cook-‘em pierogis, for examples.

Check out this webpage at Cooking Light for more side-dish inspirations that are easy and delicious. This chickpea salad recipe has my mouth watering!

Enjoy, friends!

3 Great Cold-Weather Slow-Cooker Recipes

Baby, it’s cold outside! So why not warm up with one of these great cold-weather slow-cooker recipes? Just in time for your weekend menu planning … enjoy, friends!

Recipe No. 1: Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili

My sweet sister-in-law was the inspiration for my discovering this recipe for Slow-Cooker Turkey Chili. She made a similar dish for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner, and everyone loved it. So I decided to try my hand at it, too, and was delighted to find this recipe from the October 2009 issue of Southern Living.

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After I cooked the turkey on the stovetop, Little G helped me add it and the remaining ingredients into our slow cooker. I couldn’t ask for a better sous chef. 🙂

Tip: If you’re running short on time, you can cook this dish in the slow cooker on low for less than six hours. You’ve already cooked the meat on the stovetop; the time in the slow cooker simply allows all the ingredients to blend together.

One more tip: The majority of the alcohol content of the beer should “cook out of” the food after about two and a half hours, according to this article. Just FYI in case the alcohol content is a concern for you or your family.

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The turkey chili wouldn’t have been complete without some semi-homemade cornbread. Luckily, HEB carries a delicious mix, Rosemary Olive Oil with Sea Salt. An excellent accompaniment to this great cold-weather slow-cooker recipe!

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Recipe No. 2: Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes

This past Sunday, some good friends came over for dinner. I was excited to try out this recipe for Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes with them, compliments of the September 2012 issue of Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight. Slow-cooker recipes work so well for groups—lots of food, efficiently prepared.

Earlier that day, I chopped all the veggies.

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Then around 3 p.m., I got out my nonstick skillet and slow cooker. You definitely want to brown the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker, so that it cooks faster and better. You also definitely want to use chicken thighs that are bone-in, skinned rather than boneless, skinless because the bone and skin help prevent the chicken from drying out in the slow cooker. Trust me on this one, friends—I’ve dried out boneless, skinless chicken in my slow cooker before. 🙂

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Our friends brought along Caesar salad, my favorite. And there you go: dinner! Wonderful, and not least because it was shared in friendship.

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Recipe No. 3: Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

Of the three recipes here, this one’s my favorite. I grew up in an Italian-American home, and I ❤ Italian specialties like minestrone soup. I also love vegetarian food, and you can make this recipe vegetarian—just use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Many thanks to the website Skinnytaste.com (July 2014 post) for sharing this winner!

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You can use either your stovetop or slow cooker for this recipe. Because I had the time, I opted for stovetop.

I highly recommend pureeing the white beans, per the recipe, rather than adding them in whole. It’s an extra step, but the pureed beans ultimately add a wonderfully creamy texture to the soup. And be sure to cook the pasta separately, at the end, and then add it in to your soup bowl(s); otherwise, it will get soggy.

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Now, let me be honest with you: While grocery shopping for this recipe, I inexplicably forgot some key ingredients: celery, fresh parsley, and spinach. (I’m going to blame it on my nine-months-pregnant brain!) Yet the recipe still turned out awesome; my hubby will concur. This one’s truly a winner, even minus a few ingredients.

Eat well, and be well!

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Grocery Cart Psychology: What Does Yours Reveal?

On a recent HEB run, I noticed the young woman in front of Little G and me in the checkout line—as well as what was in her grocery cart. It was like looking at myself and my grocery cart, 10 years and a few stretch marks ago.

First, the lady: She appeared well-rested, toned, and unhurried in yoga pants and a coordinating top. In fact, she probably actually had just come from yoga class. Unlike myself and many other moms I know, whose love of yoga apparel stems from its comfortable, forgiving fit rather than the physical/spiritual exercise itself.

The woman finished unloading the contents of her grocery cart onto the checkout conveyor: a four-pack of bottled Frappuccino; a single serving of General Tso’s chicken from the prepared foods section; several cans of soup (organic, I think); Kind granola bars; and stuffed grape leaves.

Stuffed grape leaves. OK, there you go. I could be wrong, but if I had to guess, I’d guess the following about this early-20s “could have been me 10 years ago”: single; possibly a boyfriend; definitely no kids; lives alone or with a roommate; yuppie; eats out half the time, at least; hobbies include yoga (obvi) and reality TV (just a hunch); says yes to happy hour. (Those were the days. 🙂 )

The thing is—generally speaking—women don’t buy four-ounce containers of stuffed grape leaves if they live with or are married to a man, much less if they have children together. The majority of men, especially Texans, seem to prefer burgers, barbecue, and the like to vegetarian Mediterranean specialties such as stuffed grape leaves. And if you’ve got kids, you’re usually looking for hearty food that, fingers crossed, will last another meal.

Thus, my grocery cart …

Grocery Cart Psychology

You can see Little G up front. So immediately, my grocery cart reveals that I’m a mom. Some other “maternal giveaways” include the opened bags of multigrain pita chips and Goldfish in the back, not to mention the opened box of strawberry yogurt squeezers in the middle (letting your child snack while grocery shopping together makes the whole experience much smoother than not); two boxes of rigatoni (kids would eat pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you let them, right?); and the three-pack of heavy-duty sponges.

I never bought heavy-duty sponges before giving birth.

My grocery cart also contains a generous amount of nonperishables such as cereal, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, black beans, and marinara sauce, in family-size portions. Because I often make family-size portions of nonexotic but hearty meals like slow cooker chicken and chili. I promise there’s fresh fruit in there, too—wedged under the heavy-duty sponges and ready-to-eat salad kits. And milk. I’m a mom; of course I bought milk.

What does your grocery cart reveal about you? This is just for fun, friends. Grocery cart psychology isn’t an exact science. But I think we can make some generalizations. If your grocery cart contains the following, then possibly …

1. Hot Pockets, frozen pizza, Cap’n Crunch, milk, and beer: You’re a college student or just-graduated-from-college bachelor. You use self-checkout.

2. Hot Pockets, Campbell’s condensed soup, Life Savers, a quart of milk, the store brand of aspirin, tissues, and maybe some bananas: You’re an older bachelor—OK, much older. You use the “15 items or fewer” lane, and you have coupons for the Hot Pockets and soup.

3. Single servings of prepared foods, artisan crackers, gourmet cheese and olive oil, Mighty Leaf tea, lamb chops fresh from the meat market, and a bottle of red and bottle of white: Yuppie, similar to our yoga-practicing friend above. You know the best local restaurants, wine bars, and coffee shops. It’s fun to follow you on Twitter and live vicariously through your hashtags.

4. Strawberries, a value pack of pork chops, multiple boxes of granola bars, apple juice, and frozen chicken nuggets: Mom.

5. Random pieces of fruit, multiple packages of ground coffee or K-Cups, random boxes of frozen dinners, lanolin cream or cans of Enfamil, and diapers: New mom.

6. A grocery cart full of Chobani yogurt and bottled water: You play for the Spurs. (Occasionally, Little G and I catch a glimpse of some of the local NBA team in our HEB. This is all I ever see them buy … they must have personal chefs?)

7. Several packages of all-purpose flour, a few cartons of eggs, and an economy size package of Styrofoam cups: You work at the local bakery around the corner. (The white apron you’re still wearing is a “bakery worker giveaway,” too.) Whoever’s in charge of buying must have underestimated how busy you’d be today.

8. Two boxes of freshly baked muffins and a large container of prewashed, pre-cut fresh fruit: You work at a nearby office, and it’s your turn to bring refreshments for the weekly staff meeting.

9. Taco seasoning mix and children’s Tylenol: You’re my husband. I forgot these things yesterday, and I asked you to pick them up on your way home from work. True to form, you didn’t stray from “the list.” (How long have we known each other now? Did it really not occur to you to surprise me with some dark chocolate? I know, I know … I told you we needed taco seasoning mix and children’s Tylenol, and so that’s what you got. 🙂 )