Thursday, March 12, 2009
Keeping it small
One of the greatest side-effects of the economic meltdown is that the world seems to be shrinking; all the fledgling movements aimed at bringing people closer together, at emphasizing local community, are growing strong. People want to buy more from farmer's markets, from local co-ops, or they want to grown their own. Vegetables are easy to grow in abundance in Southern California and for a couple of days now I've been surveying my own hillside, looking for the best place to erect a raised bed for tomatotes and lettuce, herbs and courgettes. Shopping at the large chain supermarkets with their two-week old produce, kept cryogenically alive in enormous refrigerated vats seems to lack heart, doesn't it? Far better to support the local Armenian greengrocer. In the same way, I believe it's our duty to support the local independent booksellers. There are very few left in our town; they disappear at an alarming rate. I love Portrait of a Bookstore on Tujunga Avenue and Moorpark in the Studio City/North Hollywood borders. It's been mentioned here before, I know, but it is so deserving of one's patronage. The first mention of it was on NPR, on a book about summer reading, and now whenever I'm in the neighborhood I drop by. The staff are awfully friendly and knowledgeable, and the owner spends half her year in the Cotswolds. She even dresses eccentrically, like a Brit. Today, in a wonderful tweed cap and long shirt, rather like the Artful Dodger, I thought. And of course, nothing is better to an ex-pat, than being able to chit-chat about Our Fair Isle and foxhunting on a Wednesday morning. The shop is tiny but well-stocked and anything they don't have, they'll order for you. If you haven't, please do visit, and remember to stop in at Aroma Cafe for a double cap & the fruit with yogurt and granola (my breakfast).