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Potomac Adventist Book and Health Food Store


synaesthesia
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I used to go to the then-much-larger Potomac Adventist Bookstore for snacks when I was living in College Park. They always had good deals on Terra potato chips, amongst other items that I found really interesting. The store didn't end up doing so well, and split the space in half with Staples. I went back today for the first time in five years.

Seventh Day Adventists have some stringent dietary guidelines, and many of them are vegetarians. They also celebrate the Sabbath on Saturdays, so the store is closed then.

Anyway, there were a lot of prepared vegetarian items, frozen vegetarian meats from Taiwan, and what I found really strange was the Costco-sized cans of vegetarian meat substitutes. A lot of typical Whole Foods-type items though I didn't bother to compare prices. The real find was the bulk grains and spices. Three vanilla beans (quality I'm not sure of) for 58 cents. Different heat grades of cayenne pepper in short tubs for $1. A big variety of grains and grain flours. My guess is it's good for any people who have an allergy to find alternatives. Seeds for lentil sprouts and other types of sprouts.

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Seventh Day Adventists have some stringent dietary guidelines, and many of them are vegetarians.

Anyway, there were a lot of prepared vegetarian items, frozen vegetarian meats from Taiwan, and what I found really strange was the Costco-sized cans of vegetarian meat substitutes.

Some years ago, I worked for an agency that supplied social workers to hospitals on a temporary basis. One of my assignments was to White Memorial, an Adventist hospital in East Los Angeles. This was my first contact with 7th Day Adventists beyond the Watchtower workers who knocked at the door. The first (and only) time I went to the hospital cafeteria for lunch was eye-opening. Just about every dish, hot or cold, was made with some form of imitation meat. It was all "standard American fare" like beef stew or pot pie, but made with "mock beef" or "mock chicken." The absolute worst was "mock tuna salad" which smelled like week-old fish. The imitation meat or fish flavors were horrible and the textures were worse. Traditional vegetarian cultures, like in India, have developed a brilliant cuisine based on vegetables, beans, rice and spices. Though they separate themselves from the rest of the culture in many ways, the 7th Day Adventist vegetarian food culture grew up around a concept of trying to prepare the same type of middle-American dishes that everyone else ate, using pretend meat. Another challenge at White Memorial and other Adventist hospitals is that the patients are fed the same vegetarian food, as well. And for those who need high-quality protein, the nutritionists have their hands tied.

I worked there for about three weeks. There were no restaurant options nearby, and not enough time to get the car and drive somewhere else for lunch. After that first day, when I ended up just eating potato chips and rice pudding, I made sure to bring my lunch from home..

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As I live very close by, I'll shop there occasionally for certain items like soy milk and grains. There's quite a good selection of gluten-free goods for those with wheat issues, and of course all the Gardenburgers you can eat.

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I grew up eating the Worthington brand of mock meat products. While I don't care for any of the roast-type products, I adore the vegeburger for use in dishes. It makes a mean vegetarian wonton or potsticker filling, and is great in fried rice. I also like the vegechili. As a main dish, however, I don't really like any of the mock meats. If you like this brand, it's typically 30-40 percent cheaper at the Potomac ABC than it is at Safeway or Wal-Mart (the only places I remember seeing them outside of ABCs). If the brand of item you want is on sale (changes every month), buying by the case = quite a steal.

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