The Only 23 Things You Would Buy At Trader Joe's If You Were Honest With Yourself About Why You're There
Once my car hits the gravel of the jungle that is the Trader Joe's parking lot, I become an entirely different person. In the real world I am an ordinary human; a neighbor, friend, daughter, and vaguely decent citizen. But once I enter Trader Joe's, I start to think that I am a god (Sit down, Kanye, I'm kidding.) Everything I could every hope, dream, or aspire to eat is nestled on those shelves – Human beings weren't meant to have this kind of power. I start to think that I am above the laws of nature, and can eat anything and everything I want. Nutrition? Is that even a thing? It is not, not anymore. But Cookie Butter is.
Now, like any responsible human being, once a month or so I deign to eat a vegetable. And if I have to eat something healthy, obviously because I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's, that's the first place I'm going to hit. Somehow having a pre-made salad and some celery in my cart cancels out all of the gratuitous dessert, right? This is the flawed logic of the Trader Joe's trance.
But the truth is, buying produce from Trader Joe's is a sham. It's a lie we tell ourselves to make up for all the other, nutritionally devoid, glorious stuff we're going to buy on the other aisles. We know what we truly want in our Trader Joe's-hardwired brains from moment we walk into those doors, and it's not celery. Here are the only things we would buy at Trader Joe's if we were being totally honest with ourselves:
1. Free Samples
Okay, okay, you don't buy free samples, but don't lie, that was at least 50% of the reason you were here, if not more. Om nom nom.
2. Unexpected Cheddar Cheese
It's cheddar cheese – with parmesan in it. How have we all been members of the human race for this long and only come up with this now?
3. Cookie Butter
I'm pretty sure cookie butter is responsible for the creation of several cults in the United States.
4. Pretzel Bread
Once I hit a Trader Joe's in Nashville and they had run out of them for the day. I think I must have stood in the aisle, paralyzed with my despair, for a solid ten seconds. I would have lasted longer but as you can guess I'd been smacked by multiple carts by then.
Trader Joe's does NOT skimp on the rice. Dream come true. If you're shopping at Trader Joe's today, you're probably eating sushi for dinner.
6. Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels
This item is seasonal and it disappears faster than Jacob's shirt in the Twilight movies (I refuse to believe that won't always be a relevant reference.) My point is, if you see these in the store, forget your fellow shoppers. Put as many of these as you can in your cart and RUN. I mean, pause to pay for them before you haul ass to your car. They tend to not like it when you forget to pay.
This is the most confusing and delicious flavor your mouth will ever experience. Plus, when's the last time ice cream made you feel this cultured and worldly?
8. Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
A single tear tracked down my cheek when I first saw this in the store. Er, metaphorically.
9. Bite-Sized Everything Crackers
For the three blocks of Unexpected Cheddar Cheese you may or may not have purchased. These aren't available in some stores any more, but the obsession runs so deep that people are selling them on Amazon for three times the market rate.
10. Orange Chicken
Some of my most treasured childhood memories involve inadvertently stabbing all three of my siblings with my fork as we battled over the scraps of this at family dinner.
11. Mac 'n Cheese Bites
Please put this under "cause of death" on the coroner's report.
12. All Butter Shortbread Cookies With Chocolate
When I was 12, we got the day off of school for a hurricane and I ate these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Still one of the top ten best days of my life.
13. Two Buck Chuck
I don't care if there are any weird rumors floating around about it, anyone who is willing to sell me wine this cheap is my best friend.
14. Five Cheese Frusta
One time at a barbecue, a guy made these and put arugula and balsamic on it, and it was the only time in my life I've enjoyed eating a vegetable. That's how good this pizza is.
15. Chocolate Dilemma Cheesecake Sampler
Why eat one kind of cheesecake when you can EAT THEM ALL?!
16. Pineapple Hard Cider
I swear this happened to me once. I swear. I've never seen it since, but I definitely walked in and saw this in a San Francisco Trader Joe's, and the taste of it still haunts my sweetest dreams. Someone back me up that this exists.
17. Chunky Guacamole
I just had to put down my laptop because I was salivating a little.
18. Ghirardelli Chocolate Blocks
I know they discontinued these, but I cannot give up hope. Every time I walk into a TJ's, I expect to these this giant heart-stopping slabs of chocolate sitting right at the register for small children to torture their parents into buying. If I was lucky enough to milk one out of my parents as a kid I could make it last for weeeeeeeeeeks and weeks. But I guess the Pound Plus Chocolate Bar will suffice. (I guess.)
19. Tandoori Naan
I lived off of this naan and butter for maybe three solid weeks in college. I was that obsessed.
20. Mini Dark Mint Chocolate Stars
If the whole world knew about these the Girl Scouts would probably be put out of business. Also there would be fewer chocolate stars for me, and that just won't fly.
21. Build Your Own Six Pack
Trader Joe's was the first store I ever saw with this concept, and it was like Christmas come ten months early. BEHOLD all these beers I still know nothing about! I will take them all.
22. Fig and Olive Crisps
I'm basically a sucker for anything that is a vehicle for cheese.
23. Dark Chocolate Cookie Butter Cups
YES, YOU HEARD ME (or read me, I guess). THIS IS A THING NOW. SPROUT YOUR WINGS AND FLY TO THE NEAREST TRADER JOE'S, BECAUSE THIS IS HAPPENING.