I’ve decided that every city needs to have a Reading Terminal Market. For those that have not had the pleasure, Reading Terminal Market is the ultimate food court minus the corporatism of Subway, Burger King, and Sabarro. It combines the shiekness of a Sonoma County farmer’s market with the busy hustle and bustle of a Middle Eastern bazaar. Food is everywhere, and we are talking good food. Meat is being sliced off the bone, stews are simmering right in front of you; the entire place screams gastronomic ecstasy. And while there is plenty happening and people might seem rushed, everyone seems to be enjoying the tastes that Reading has to offer. It’s beautiful. And yes, I ate there.
I’m about to dive into Tyler Cowen’s An Economist Gets Lunch, an economists’ look at the culture of food using basic theorems familiar to the armchair economics snob. I know that part of his argument is that the ideals behind “locavores” (doing everything locally) is less efficient than many think. However if local farmers can get away from their price screwy, free range, organic attitudes, and actually think of their consumers a little more, we might be able to put a Reading Terminal Market in every town. And no, the food in Philly’s culinary getaway is not all specialized or intentionally ethnically diverse. It’s good food, with plenty of pizza, pulled pork sandwiches, and burgers for everyone.
So what about it locavores? Interested in finding a central location to bring delicious, reasonably priced food to the masses?