We'll get to that, but first, let's start with a quick anecdote.

I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of college living in a vegan co-op near the beach at UC Santa Cruz. Co-op life dictates that everyone pitch in on a weekly basis to help with chores—many co-ops refer to these as "work shifts," though this particular institution went with the more euphemistic "love shifts," because hippies, amirite?

So once a week, I would join another co-oper in the kitchen to whip up some obnoxiously ascetic feast for the other 20-odd members of the house—usually involving kale or chard from the front garden and whatever old sad bread we'd rescued from dumpsters behind nearby grocery stores. Having never really taken to cooking, I was perfectly content to act as my partner's sous chef, chopping this or that or minding a boiling pot. I was also in charge of the kitchen iPod, which under my supervision featured Manu Chao on heavy rotation.

I could handle that shit. What I could not handle, however was the nonchalant announcement one week that my regular cooking partner would not be able to make dinner with me that week, probably on account of some sort of nude sculpting conclave or an emergency burner party.

Left to my own devices, I absolutely panicked. Not only did I have the cooking chops of a drooling baby, I wasn't even a real vegan—I'd often sneak away in the night to patronize a Burger King down the road. Sitting in my car, I did what any grown-ass woman would do in my situation: I called my mom. She suggested pizza. "How hard could it be to fuck up pizza?" were probably her exact words.

Pretty easy, it turns out! Did you know that there exists a product called "Veggie Slices," which, to my naive, terrified eye, looked exactly liked Kraft singles minus, presumably, the animal parts? Because Veggie Slices, wouldn't you know, are not fucking vegan. Apparently they're just regular cow-filled cheese slices, the name being a clever marketing ploy implying healthfulness instead of fat-laden milk.

I, of course, had no idea that was the case—at least not until I'd already bought maybe six pounds of the stuff to layer atop several vegetable pizzas. And I probably would have gotten away with it, too, had one of my housemates not noticed the packaging sitting around on the counter. "Veggie Slices aren't VEGAN," I remember him shouting through his stuffed mouth, trying simultaneously to eject the words AND the pizza at the greatest velocity possible. I hope never to see partially-chewed pizza drop from the mouths of so many people in unison ever again.

Anyway, to answer the question posed in the headline: Zero. We don't need one in Williamsburg, and we certainly don't need another taking up real estate in Prospect Heights. We do not need a separate artisanal outpost for every ingredient in a child's basic sandwich.

An aisle at the prepared foods market? Sure, OK, fine. That would have saved me a shitload of trouble, though on the bright side: I was never asked to cook again.