“This place will be my new home for the next four years,” I muttered to myself as I lay my eyes on the soaring Clock Tower. It’s my first time being on my own, far from home for so long, and a sense of loneliness stirred inside of me.
My lingering desolation deepened for every step I sauntered down Ho Plaza. Outside of the Cornell Store, waves of incoming freshmen paraded with their parents, swinging their carnelian red bags after getting Cornell merchandise for the family.
As I squirmed through the crowd, I found myself outside of Anabel Taylor Hall. On the sidewalk, a person with an apron saying “Anabel’s Grocery” was passing out cups of kombucha. At that time, I was craving food other than dining hall food, so I thought I might check out the grocery store.
Pushing open the heavy wooden gates of Anabel Taylor, I was immersed in a field of tranquillity. As I walk past the spirituality and religion offices, I finally see Anabel’s Grocery. Immediately, I was welcomed into a cozy space.
The vegetables all smelled fresh, as well as having healthy appearances. Items are affordable to students, with Hyson green tea at $1.21 per pound and ginger root at $1.99 per pound, I can make my movie-night staple: sweet ginger tea. Some items are pay-what-you-can-pay, so sustainable produce is affordable for all.
In two corners stood the bulk items shelf and condiment shelf. Both cupboards were incredibly cultured. Bottles of rice vinegar, fish oil and sesame oil shined; jars of matcha tea powder, five-spice powder and basil leaf displayed; buckets of miso, soft tofu and firm tofu stored in the refrigerator. The meal possibilities are endless with the variety of condiments available: matcha crepe cake, golden tofu bricks or wok-fried pork for just a few examples.
Looking at this nicely-stocked and warmly-furnished shop, I was curious who the owners were. I asked why Dylan Rodgers CALS ’23 who is currently working at Anabel’s, is there. “I love that Anabel’s brings so many people together through something we all can relate to: food.” Indeed, good food tastes better when it’s shared.
Afterwards, I went back to my dorm. I started to get emotional as I was washing and peeling my own fruits.
The kind workers and wholesome produce I got from Anabel’s reminded me of when my parents would prepare fruits for me. Asian parents can be less direct in showing love to their children, so some convey their care by making food. Starving after a tiresome mountain expedition, my mom would freeze and dice up fruit pieces to quench my thirst. The sweet taste reminded me of how my dad would eat the sour or bitter fruits from the pile, while letting my brother and I eat the fresher, plumper ones instead.
Just like Rodgers said, food brings people together. Anabel’s food brought my Hong Kong friends and new American friends together to the dining table. The Hong Kong home-style food I made for them with ingredients from Anabel’s carried a special warmth with it. The sustainably grown ingredients, carefully nurtured produce and passionate student workers all made the food on our plate more tasty. The wholesomeness cured us of our homesickness.
We are now ready to find our place in this chapter of our lives. Anabel’s Grocery is not only a business, but a hub for students to love food together. Here, low-income students can acquire affordable healthy ingredients, and cooking enthusiasts can share their recipes. It’s the friendly neighborhood grocery store of Cornell students.
Some Produce Pricing at Anabel’s Grocery —
Assorted Plums: $2.49 per pound
Frozen Blueberries: $2.81 per pound
Frozen Strawberries: $2.81 per pound
You can find Anabel’s Grocery inside of Anabel Taylor Hall, which is between Cornell Health and Cornell Law School.
Anabel’s Grocery is open
Tuesday: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Special Services and Discounts —
Weekly Last Day Sale every Friday! Items and discounts vary weekly.
Any person can enjoy anything! Some items are pay-what-you-can-pay.
Request ingredients: If you can’t find a specific ingredient, try and ask if Anabel’s can source it for you.
Thomas Law is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].