So you know how in scary movies the grocery stores are all very 1950s, with really bad 1950s muzak, in little teeny towns... and you just know something is lurking around the corner? Well, I had a very Stephen King-type experience today when I ventured to nearby Berrien Springs to check out Apple Valley Natural Foods. In a conversation recently with the clerk at the bookstore, she mentioned that there are a lot of Seventh Day Adventists in Berrien Springs and apparently they don't eat meat, thus their grocery store has lots of vegetarian options. Turns out, the store has quite the history as well (see link above). I'm totally sold, even though I felt a little weird and creepy in the actual store.
The store is actually two stores in one. The main part is a pretty typical, small-town Spartan store (the aforementioned 1950s), but more on that later. First I wandered through the "health food" area, and even though it was freezing and gloomy and also a little 1950s, they have everything. Not that I use a lot of exotic ingredients or grains or flours even really, BUT, should I need anything beyond what my local grocery store has (which isn't much), I am not totally out of luck. In the midst of the awesome, however, was one very strange food aisle... CANNED FAKE MEATS. Very generic looking, with pictures that looked SO GROSS. I actually kept saying "ew!" out loud. Fake steak meat, fake hot dogs... In cans. I mean, I guess ok, that's nice of them to offer (I didn't even know that stuff existed), but seriously, no way in hell.
That being said, over on the regular side of the store, they also had an entire frozen aisle of veggie options, including the expected Boca and Morningstar products. The majority, though, was this Cedar Lake brand of everything, just like the cans. Also not very appealing looking, with really generic-looking packaging. But lo and behold...
This, too, looks so gross, but I MISS REUBENS! So I will try it out. Seriously, though, the options are just pure craziness. They have an online store -- go there and select "vegetarian meats." There are six pages of options. Nuti loaf? Vegan scallops? Swiss steak with gravy? Choplets? Beef-flavored chunks? GROSS! Ha ha ha! I don't want to eat anything simply labeled "chunk." But... A for effort, Apple Valley!