Grocery Geography

I often tell people that Bolingbrook is a diverse community. We say things like, “My block is like the United Nations!” Another fun place to see this is at one of our big box grocery stores:

IMG_0091Daikon radish, yucca root, a melon (?), wheatgrass, leeks, carrots… But let’s start with some hard data.

2010 census data for Bolingbrook:
White/Non-Hispanic: 41.7%
Black: 20.4%
Hispanic/Latino: 24.5%
Asian: 11.4%
Reporting more than two races: 3.4%

Hard to believe that only 3.4% of us claim to be biracial. Good ol’ Chicago folks – segregation is a deep part of our history. But I have a feeling “biracial” eating is more common. With that, on to the:

2012 grocery store "data": (?)

IMG_0973Many, many kinds of peppers: tomatillo, serrano, jalapeno, poblano… also some jicama and chayote.


IMG_0969Bok choy, tat tsoi, daikon radish, Chinese broccoli, pea pods, those beautiful onions, and that mysterious melon whose name I can’t recall.

IMG_0971Yucca, horseradish, oregano, basil, mint…etc.

IMG_0966Those orange wagonwheel things are called duros. Made from a wheat-base. You can deep fry them for a snack, or so I learned from Wikipedia. Also rice, dried beans, and tamerind seed pods. (Mostly Mexican produce, here, in case it’s not clear.)

IMG_0965Canela = Cinnamon // Tamerindo = spice in whole pods // Piloncillo = unrefined sugar

IMG_0975Squint and pretend you’re in a market in Mexico somewhere… so pretty!

IMG_0974There’s also some foodie, hipster-type choices. Carrots with tops. Arugula. Golden beets. Leeks.


Soul food! Mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni & cheese, fried chicken, fried potatoes.

IMG_0967Soul food: turnip & mustard greens, collards.

IMG_0978A staple of North American produce…

IMG_0976This is what my mom calls “White Soul Food”: jello, spinach dip, imitation crab salad, pasta salad with ranch dressing and bacon.

Yes, you can find it all here in Bolingbrook. And that was just the produce section!


  1. […] I bought the Images of America: Bolingbrook at Village Hall last week. I was pretty excited to look through it – but I couldn’t help but notice that there weren’t as many images of people of color as I was expecting. This may be because when I think of Bolingbrook, I think of diversity. […]