To your health

Henri knows the one-stop shop for holiday cooking

NATURAL BOUNTY<br>From the delicate butter lettuce to earthy organic carrots, S &amp; S has the best produce.

NATURAL BOUNTY
From the delicate butter lettuce to earthy organic carrots, S & S has the best produce.

Photo By Andrew Boost

S & S Organic Produce & Natural Foods
1924 Mangrove Ave.
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Phone: 343-4930 for general information.
To pre-order holiday meat, or a deli sandwich: 343-8466.
Barbecue is prepared and served daily 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
To order ahead, phone 343-4930, ext. 11. The barbecue department also caters.

S & S Barbeque & Deli

1924 Mangrove Ave.
Chico, CA 95926

(530) 343-4930ext11

Henri was shocked to learn that the local holiday shopping season officially started at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, as shoppers stormed the doors of Mervyn’s in search of bargain gifts for their loved ones. While shopping is indeed an honorable pursuit and one of Henri’s very favorite pastimes, lining up before dawn to save 10 percent on Cambridge Classics outerwear or a pair of Deerstags slippers is unattractive and uncivil at best and, in fact, threatens to delete shopping from the short list of behaviors that set us apart from lower life forms.

Of course, holiday shoppers are also flocking en masse to the other big-box stores, and to their hideous parking lots. It’s enough to drive un homme to drink—had that homme not traveled there already, quite independently, merci beaucoups.

So Henri and Colette have been staying away from the mall and the big-box stores—and shopping and doing business at locally owned stores whenever possible. Not only is the pace less hectic, but there’s far more sense of community—and gracious, helpful employees who actually know something about their stores.

We recently discovered Fanno Saw Works (224 W. 8th Ave.), for example, where I took my favorite knives for sharpening—and stumbled upon one of best collections of quality kitchen cutlery I’d ever seen, as well employees who are truly knowledgeable about knives. We also like Dadant and Sons (15 Valley Ct.), where Colette buys sheets of dyed beeswax and makes gorgeous, customized candles as gifts. Naturally, we also love downtown shops like Zucchini & Vine, with its gourmet cheeses, and Collier Kitchen Supply, where we often wander in just to adore the colorful array of KitchenAid mixers and drool over the All–Clad cookware.

Our very favorite, though, is S & S Organic Produce & Natural Foods. In fact, Colette said recently that she could live quite happily in Chico indefinitely if it had only one store and that store was S & S.

Consider:

The best butcher shop in town, with fresh meat, seafood, free-range chicken, excellent deli sandwiches and a salad bar.

Photo By Andrew Boost

Gorgeous displays of delicious organic (often local) produce.

Aisles of cereals, sauces, Knudsen and other juices, breads and pastas.

An entire wall of refrigerated juices, teas, dairy products and craft beers.

A separate room dedicated to literature (magazines, and cook and diet books) and food in bulk, from quinoa to tarragon, dried raisins to whole-grain pancake mix.

A well-stocked vitamin and diet-supplement department.

Delicious barbecue, featuring burgers (including buffalo and veggie), sandwiches (chicken, portabella mushroom and salmon filet), and whole chickens, racks of ribs and tri-tip.

A surprisingly good selection of wines, many of them local and organic, including reds and whites from LaRocca Vineyards in Forest Ranch.

Knowledgeable, helpful and gracious employees in every department.

S & S also subscribes to Healthnotes (www.healthnotes.com), a service that provides retailers with touch-screen computer access for customers, who use the computer to find recipes (with nutrition facts), create shopping lists and read about specific health issues and diets—and to print for free.

You can also order holiday meat ahead of time: turkeys, roasts and hams. This year, Colette and I are ordering a first-cut whole-rib roast (prime rib), which we’ll pick up on Christmas Eve day. I’m thrilled to try a new method: Slow cooking at 250 degrees, which I’ll have plenty of time for, even waking up at an attractively civil hour, long, long past 4 a.m.