Food: Laird of the Epicurean Manner

"I was brought up on S.S. Pierce's groceries," remarked Oliver Wendell Holmes a century ago when a rival merchant sought the patronage of that autocrat's famous breakfast table, "and I don't dare change." A bulwark of proper Bostonian life for most of its 136 years, the haute cuisine grocery chain has long filled an epicurean niche in U.S. gastronomy. With its own coat of arms adorning a distinctive red label on canned goods, and the largest line (5,000 items) of privately packed fancy foods in the world, S.S. Pierce sells its delicacies...

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