For New Yorkers, shopping for groceries is as intimate a ritual as any. Without cars or convenient alternatives, most lug their hauls home in canvas totes and paper bags–plastic, with no small amount of guilt, when ill-prepared or on the run. People become personally attached to certain purveyors. They swear by their butcher, their bodega, their stall at the farmers market. “I know the best _____” is the topic of many a conversation in this town. And, if you’re smart. You listen.
Aimee Brodeur does just that. Founder of the cultish blog Feedback NY, Brodeur taps the minds of some of the city’s most interesting creatives to uncover the link between people and their communities. The relationship is a story told in the places they go and the food that they buy. Whether it’s selecting autumn squash with Bon Appetit designer Alaina Sullivan or stone-milled grains with Bread on Earth’s Lexie Smith, Brodeur digs into the philosophy, psyche, and palate of today’s urban eater.
Feedback NY isn’t a huge operation, but it is a meaningful one. Like her subjects, Brodeur chooses who to feature carefully, like sniffing summer peach after summer peach in hopes of finding the absolute most perfect specimen. So often the person behind the camera asking the questions, Brodeur was kind enough to let us flip the script. Below, we followed Brodeur through her local McGolrick Park farmers market to talk lunch woes, Leonard Cohen quotes, and losing track of time on dusty Sicilian roads.
Place of residence:
Director of content at Pilotworks. I get to be part of a team that supports the growth of independent food companies.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Grocery shop owner.
Quote to live by:
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
First job you ever had:
A tiny red barn in Laguna Beach just off of PCH called The Stand. It was a small collective of women who made vegan food from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. all day long. I didn’t know it then but that job laid the foundation for a lot of food prep knowledge that I still use today. I was 16.
Least favorite part of your day:
Let’s make this question my least favorite meal of the day. Lunch. Most other meals and times of the day are good.
Windows down, the song you’re playing is:
“Lost in the Supermarket” — The Clash.
Three guilty pleasures:
Swiffering. Potato chips. Hot wings and a dirty martini.
If you had to watch one movie on repeat for eternity, what would it be?
The First Wives Club.
You have a million dollars to spend on art, you buy…
Do you think they sell Matisse paintings for one million dollars?
Plane, train or automobile for a trip?
Automobile. More opportunities to stop for snacks and take photos.
What IS your favorite trip?
A mix of all of the following: Salt water. Fresh seafood. 78 degrees. Losing track of time. Mopeds and dusty roads. Aka Sicily.
Personal travel ethos:
Get out of your comfort zone. Have a conversation with someone at a bar and learn about the lives of the people you are sitting next to. Also, never say “no” when someone offers you food they have made. I think Anthony Bourdain said it best: “Travel is not a reward for working; it’s an education for living.”
Drink of choice:
Beach house or tree house:
Where was the best meal you ever had and what was it?
A small Senegalese restaurant in Paris called Le Petit Dakar. I had the poulet yassa. Countless plates of poulet yassa later and I have still never had one that tasted as good as it did there.
Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?
I go for a walk–it’s a way for me to sort through everything in my mind. The idea of a long walk on a minimally disrupted path is pure luxury. Obviously, living in New York, that is hard to find. Really hard to find, actually. But early in the morning or late after dinner, I can usually do a 30-minute walk in Greenpoint Brooklyn.