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  • Writer's pictureAre We Okay? A Memoir

Trader Joe’s Essentials: Are We Okay? Edition

Quick exercise: think of all your favorite food items to make at home. Now think of all your favorite snacks. Now your favorite condiments. Now your favorite (not-expensive) wine. Now think of the place you would go to find all of these things. Let me guess: Trader Joe’s?

It’s not that you can’t find some of these delicious food items in your neighborhood market, but our realization in the last few years has been that if a food item is made or sold by Trader Joe’s it’s going to be good, and if it’s something you can buy anywhere, then the Trader Joe’s version is going to be better. We don’t know what kind of witchcraft or sorcery they use, but it’s the truth, and we are prepared to fight you if you disagree.

Trader Joe’s nails it: superior quality, low prices, great visuals, organized shelves, A+ marketing, and a constant stream of new original items. Because we are Trader Joe’s experts––nay, Trader Joe’s connoisseurs, we figured it was only fair to spread the knowledge. So we came up with an Are We Okay? Essentials list of items you need from Trader Joe’s. So here you have them:

PS: this is not a suggestion, this is an order. Go and buy all of these. And nope, they are not paying us to promote them, we are just passionate as hell. Let us be.

Must-Have Seasonings and Sauces

Dips and Spreads

  • All. The. Hummus. ---- Special shoutouts: Kalamata Olive Hummus, Mediterranean Hummus, and Roasted Garlic Hummus.

Salty Snacks

Sweets and Desserts


  • ALL THE CHEESES ---- Special shoutouts: Blueberry Vanilla Chevre, Cranberry Chevre and Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler

The Best Frozen Aisle In The World


Pro tip: if you are feeling cheap, try their $2.99 bottle of wine, not bad at all.

If you’re anything like us, and we know you are, Trader Joe’s is your love language. You don’t go just to shop, you go for the experience.

Everyone is happy to see you, there are samples and pairing suggestions, everything is $3.99, you find everything you were looking for, and 8-10 new things you didn’t know existed but are absolutely necessary (and Betsy your cashier just told you you made the right call in getting them because she "just tried them and they’re amazing!"). You enter with problems, and leave feeling light as feather, even though you’re carrying eight bags of gnocchi.

So, there you have it, the perfect grocery shopping list for your next trip to the only grocery store that matters. You’re welcome.

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