Monday, November 22, 2010

Strolling the Aisles

Haven't actually seen this yet but I can imagine...

14 cent rubies

There's a complex formula to ensure you
always have a ripe avocado in the house

 I know this blog is meant for exhilirating travel stories of far flung places I visit and summaries of the professional development and fulfilment I experience.  But, you know what?  I love food and I love writing about food and I love sharing about food I've eaten.  I've extolled the virtues of the meat and its starring role in society and culture and I've expressed my love for the Xhosa plate.  But here's a dirty little secret, one of my favourite places to visit in a new place is a grocery store.  Now that East London feels like home and I have had the time and hindsight to properly observe the various grocery stores here, let me take you down the aisles of the delicious and the unique. 

When you set out grocery shopping, you never know what is going to be on the shelves.  In Canada, you're guaranteed to see the same fruits and vegetables regardless of the season or weather or whether they actually look and taste like what nature intended.  Here, there might be yellow bell peppers one day and then you won't see them for a couple weeks.  Or the spinach bin might be overflowing with emerald bunches or it might be a pathetic wasteland of wilted leaves.  And one day the poultry fridge will have packs and packs of chicken and tomorrow will only have leftover scrapes.  We can get a bunch of spinach (not the delicate baby leaves) for just under 50 cents or a sack of perfect grape tomatoes for $3.  And I get to eat fruits that I haven't had since leaving Maui!

Who needs more in life than fresh from the field spinach?


Certain staples dominate the stores--there is a whole aisle dedicated to bags of samp, beans, maize and mealie meal.  On the other side of the aisle, you have flour, white sugar, and vegetable cooking oil.  Chutnies and mayonnaise also constitute almost an entire side of an aisle as does long life milk and cream.  Decent butter is hard to come by, but you can buy a lifetime supply of margarine.  I'm in the birthplace of rooibos tea and amazing honey, but coffee afficioniados may have trouble with the instant freeze dried particles.  They even sell chicory--I thought only cowboys and the dad from "Little House on the Prairie" indulged in that.  Good luck finding pasta sauce or chocolate chips or tofu.
Sarah and I end up going grocery shopping about 4 times a week and I live in a constant fantasy of fruits and vegetables.  There is much less emphasis on organic, free range, local--perhaps it's just asumed that that's how it is and should be.

My long lost love-where have you been all my life?

1/2 of my stipend goes to these ruby gems

As with any place different from your home, there are unique tastes and combinations that are a novelty.  A few of them are just plain weird and some others have been amazingly pleasant surprises. 
Here are a few of my favourites from strolling the aisles...

Smoked Beef flavoured

Mrs. Balls chutney (delicious as a chip flavour)

Booerwors--throw it on the BBQ

Pine nut flavoured-Who knew?

Tangy mayonnaise gets its own aisle

For Scott & Brianne

Best biscuits ever--"made with real butter, real coconut, and real syrup"
Cashew & Coconut

1 comment:

  1. That made me hungry! You should do more food posts!