Doing Dallas: Wholey Moly

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Confession: Saturday night was the first time I have ever set foot in a Whole Foods. I have lived with this secret for the past 21 years, always nodding along when friends mentioned their favorite soy crispettes or buckwheat variety, yet never actually knowing what these things were. As a college student on a budget and without kitchen facilities, I lived peaceably in my ignorance, until, leaving Brunch two weeks ago I overheard a hip young couple say, “Let’s drop by Whole Foods on our way home to grab some pomegranates and kale chips.” Yes, that is a direct quote. Struck by the realization that I’ve not embraced the Dallas lifestyle to the fullest, I decided to make a change.

My shirt matched a jug of agave nectar that was bigger than my head.

Living in Fear of a Fashion Faux Pas

In preparation for my journey, I scoured my closet for the most eco-friendly outfit I could find. I desperately wanted to look like I belonged and could think of nothing more embarrassing than giving-off non-organic vibes. Unfortunately, my wardrobe is severely lacking in hemp-based apparel, so I settled for the most hippie-esque outfit I own: a flowy little number with two wooden beads that I prayed screamed earthiness, paired with brown flats that hopefully suggested my desire to blend in with garden topsoil. Going against the Texan saying, “The bigger the hair, the closer to God,” I left my hair product-free to do my part in reducing humanity’s CFC and aerosol footprint. I was ready.

Katie was really drawn to our store’s personal touches. Thanks, Martin!

The Sights, The Smells, The Joy…

Walking through those sliding glass doors, I was instantly hit by a blast of cool air-conditioning and the smell of a victory garden. I knew I’d stumbled into something special. I mean, where else could I find fresh apple frangipane made by Martin? NO WHERE. Where else could I buy a lifetime supply of agave nectar? Not at Tom Thumb, that’s for sure. Where else could I buy both fermented probiotic coconut water and Toms shoes on the same aisle? I can’t think of any other establishment.

I wanted to skip up and down every aisle, to sift my fingers through all eight breeds of quinoa grains, to smell every imported coffee bean, to taste every beet juice, to wash with every artisanal handcrafted soap. Every aisle was a new adventure into organic taste bud bliss, every free sample a new love-affair.

Making Friends

After running around the store in a state of sheer ecstasy, it was time to get down to business. I had come to Whole Foods on a mission: to buy ingredients to make organic – and therefore healthy – chocolate chip cookies.

Any toddler-approved egg is good egg in my book.

My first stop was the egg aisle. Wanting to do this organic thing right, I voiced to my friends what I was looking for. “I just really want eggs that came from a happy chicken – one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to its fullest.” Yes, that is a direct quote. A woman shopping nearby overheard my qualifications and came to my aid.

“I really recommend those eggs there,” she said pointing to the expensive egg section. “I know they’re more costly, but they’re free range.”

“Thank you so much. I’ll definitely go with those. The chicken’s quality of life is what’s most important to me.”

Smiling, my helpful new friend walked away. As I went to pick up the eggs, I couldn’t help but notice the advertising on the carton.

Meeting a Challenge: Whole Foods or Hole in My Wallet?

Collecting the cookie ingredients, I was acutely aware of my final bill creeping higher and higher. I had entered the store with a mere $35 in my savings account and a generous $10 cookie budget. However, over half of my budget had already been spent on blissful chickens. Adding up the cost of all ingredients, I realized my little cookie endeavor would cost me $30.72 plus tax. Oh no. Concluding that leaving $2 for gas and the rest of the month’s expenses wouldn’t be wise, I retraced my once joy-filled steps to replace all of the items.

Katie and Rachael’s victorious reaction to finding the cheapest cookie ingredient: baking soda.

Lessons Learned

Leaving empty-handed and with cookie dreams shattered, we headed to a cheap ice cream shop, where for $2 I purchased a large scoop of coconut delight. As I was eating, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if the milk to make the ice cream had come from a happy cow, one that had room to run and play on the range and that was a vegetarian and lived life to the fullest…

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!