Friday, April 20, 2007

the national gallery of modern groceries

i have a "thing" for supermarkets. i go. often. supermarket incontinence if you will. it is better than going to the local museum or art gallery as far as getting a feel for the local culture or flavour (yes, with age comes bad puns). it is also important as i am often hungry and therefore lowers the frequency of my low blood sugar tantrums.

when i first moved to the states i spent a lot of time in the supermarkets. things i had never seen before, or never imagined could be packaged "for [my] conveniance". wild honey and cinnamon flavoured butter, cheese in a can, frozen french toast and syrup; all native species to the american kitchen, especially those with pink plaid table cloths, curtains and seat cushions, dusty bread makers cluttering up the counter space, and some hand painted platitude about "home" and "family" on a rustic looking piece of wood.

last night i went to valu-market by iroquois park; an ethnically diverse immigrant neighorhood. there were 3 aisles dedicated to some unfathomable products, and some familiar ones that induced that "awwww, marmite, weetabix, robertsons marmalade, typhoo tea, pinhead scottish porridge oats (?)" feelings of old blighty. or the "holy cow, they imported this juice all the way from the u.a.e.?!"

my most interesting and memorable finds were the bags of aloe gel dessert. picture directions showed this product in a bowl with chopped up bananas, presumably you could smear the leftovers on your shoulders if you were eating it by the pool. for rehydration purposes i would have to reccomend "birds nest in a can" (this is verbatim, what is on the label and list of ingredients). moving over to the freezer section, amongst the birds claws (no thanks), and packages of frozen won tons ready to steam or throw into soup (mmmm!) there were different ice lollies; black bean, and my favourite for all those children that wont eat their vegetables, grean bean flavoured lollies. of course as you progress down the wall of glass you shift back into salisbury-steak-n-mashed-potatoes-n-beans-n-biscuits-n-gravy in a box.

going to a different countries supermarket is rather like bird watching, well i suppose its not, at least you know there are a finite set of species you can refer to in books. the supermarket is where i hope to see the inconceivable, like sugarcane toothpaste. baskin and robbins could do a line of toothpaste and mouthwash; cookies and cream, pistachio, and espresso mocha chip for the morning.


Melindeer said...

Well nothing like some birds claw and green bean lollies to call it a meal. In Honduras, I was in the market and you could get ground organ paste....(exactly what it sounds like) and I have no idea if it came in frozen lollie form or not!

Anonymous said...

Shopping in Korea is (unsurprisingly) a trauma (can you spot a trend to my posts?)

Notwithstanding the fact that nothing is in English, the packets/tins of food generally do not give you an idea of what they contain. The whole experience has something of a lucky-dip about it.

Furthermore, sometimes an anncouncement will come over the loudspeaker, whereupon everyone will start screaming "Thankyou" and start bowing.

Note to self: I really do need to buy a camera.