No. 106 – Going Joverboard


Well, it seems I’ve managed a pretty significant lag between posts, the last one being significantly more than a month ago. AND I’m posting on a WEDNESDAY, not a Thursday, both excellent examples of how I’m mixing it up here at the Dungeon (following over two years of weekly posts on Thursdays. If you’re just joining us you might want to read the last post to make sense of this whole paragraph).

(I can’t even say last-week’s post, so weird!)

In addition to a shift in my writing focus, my other reason for taking an extended posting break was due to a three-week visit to the west coast for a late Christmas with my side of the family. This involves crossing from Canada into the U.S., which means one thing:


I should probably back up and start from the beginning…

When we lived in Oregon and my wife was just beginning to go crispy on me, it was really, really hard to buy organic anything. We were so poor, shopping at Whole Foods was out of the question, but then suddenly Trader Joe’s appeared! And at just the right time, with its not-quite-organic* but sorta-natural options on everything, and at very reasonable prices! It was a Crispy Mom’s paradise.

*They do have lots of organic stuff, just not as much as you’d think.

Then we moved to Canada, which as of right now, does not have any Trader Joe’s. Nor do I expect that any will come, because of the bilingual labeling practices here, they would have to give up all the room on their packaging they devote to putting old tyme-y pictures of victorian-era folks shopping for toilet paper and saying things like “works as good as kleenex!” or “tested on bums around the world” or “I buy mine by weight!” (you get the idea, obviously I love captioned pictures). Instead they would have to write French on everything, even their hand-drawn chalkboard signs…it would just sort of ruin the vibe.

It is mega-disappointing the first time you turn a box of Lucky Charms around in Canada to find that the other side is devoid of any sort of Leprechaun-finding-marshmallow-graphical-maze or game. Even as a grown up. Charms taste better when looking at a maze, everyone knows this, but not in Canada. Instead there’s just the same image again…but in French, which just ends up feeling educational. Which highlights another thing everyone knows:

Charms and Education don’t mix.

So yeah, I think that would be a major hurdle for Trader’s to come to Canada, mastering the French language. Now I don’t have any problems with French, I’m actually devoting serious time to trying to learn it, but it’s a mighty beast to tame.

I feel your pain Joe.

Anyway, fast-forward a few years of Canadian living, my wife is like 5 hours from the nearest Trader’s and she’s guilting anyone she can find who is unlucky enough to be going anywhere within 50 miles of that location to go shopping there for her. And specifically to buy an ungodly amount of these noodles she’s addicted to:

lemon pasta

Picture it: Now you’ve got innocent third parties rolling up to the hippy checkout clerk with one of those middle-sized red shopping carts just HEAPED with noodle packets…

HIPPY CLERK: (raising pierced eyebrows) “Whoa. You really like these noodles!”

ABUSED FRIEND: “No, no, ha! I know what it looks like…”

HIPPY CLERK: (scanning packets of noodles with a ‘beep’) “Yeah. It looks like you really like these noodles.”

ABUSED FRIEND: “Yes I do but– but, these noodles aren’t for me, they’re for a friend.”

HIPPY CLERK: (still scanning, avoiding eye contact) “Um…sure. Whatever you say.”

ABUSED FRIEND: (whispering) “The shame…”

*Really happened

What’s the big deal? Pasta is carbs people, and in today’s anti-carb world, it’s like asking someone to go in and clear out the ice cream section. No one is going to believe that all that ice cream isn’t for your lonesome self. Asking people to go buy #shamepasta is wrong.

Between the distance and the #shamepasta you can see how it wasn’t a viable system, we didn’t get Trader’s products in our home all that often. Meaning my wife’s needs were mostly under-met, so you can imagine that now when we visit the States, a trip to Trader’s is considered mandatory.

More accurately, multiple trips.

Fast-forward to this most recent visit, in which we made no less than FIVE trips to Trader Joe’s for groceries.



In just three weeks.

We went to a cabin for the weekend with my extended fam, and my brother noted the swath of Trader’s products we hauled in from the minivan rental.

BROTHER: “Severine going ‘Joverboard’?”

I couldn’t write that down as a post idea fast enough.


Yes, yes she does. But what’s sad is that over the years of becoming more and more crunchy, with each return visit we’ve realized just how not-organic a lot of their products are, and how some of them are down-right not good for you…like their natural Oreo knock-off, which they call JoJo’s. They’re pretty dang tasty, but then at Christmas they put out peppermint-flavored ones. Those are harder to resist.

But then they take it even further, and dip them in chocolate…AND sprinkle broken bits of candy-cane on top.


Mercy…and then one year this happened:

trader joes peppermint joe-joes ice cream quart

That’s right, they put them into ice cream.

There are no words.

My family finds these treats irresistible, which leads to another recurring issue with Trader’s, going ‘soggy‘ and compromising on our crunchy values with JoJo’s and other delicious Trader products…


Amazingly, they have finally built a Trader Joe’s in Burlington, Vermont, which is ONLY two hours away. Now my wife can now go #joverboard & #jojomise several times a year…no imposed #shamepasta required.

All the shame now belongs to us.


By unplanned magic, we ended up making one of our triennial foraging trips to the U.S. shortly after writing the first Joverboard post…