Grocery Shopping

… is one of my favorite events of the week. Given that I cannot drive, it ensures that Skrau comes along and spends time with me. Actually, it’s more enjoyable with him around because grocery and especially shopping for fruits and vegetables is one of his favorite things to do – so much so that I’d like to invite his family and friends to see the sparkle in his eyes as he runs through the aisles of the supermarket in search of the reddest of peppers as can be. He always has something to mutter about what we can cook and how we should cook it – and given our fads for spices and newly-discovered foods, we’re always concocting ideas and recipes for the week.

What I also love is the fact that Skrau cruises around the grocery store to fetch all the essentials, which gives the Frau the time and space to meander about with the cart, looking out for ‘discoveries’. At my leisurely pace, reminiscent of a heavily pregnant lady (that I am most certainly not), Ā I look up the stacks of eggs, teas, sauces, juices, salad dressings, frozen ready-to-eats, breads, biscuits, cheeses, and all things that we never buy. I don’t think I process much of these in my mind – I am almost blindly staring at them and enjoying my stroll as if I were taking in the sights and smells of the flowers and trees in a landscaped park. This is probably why I insist on the ‘shopping experience’ and only entertain the idea of going to a well-designed, well-air-conditioned supermarket store! Along with my obsession for ‘organic foods’ especially milk and gelatin-free yoghurt, such habits have earned me the epithet of ‘smug shopper’ from the spouse. šŸ˜€

Skrau and I typically also indulge in some geeky antics. Like at the billing counter, as we wait for the salesperson to calculate our bill, we play our own game of guessing what the billing amount would be with a leeway of two dollars either way. While I would initially dismiss this off as another of his nerdy shenanigans, I’ve improved in my informed guesswork in the past few months and now look forward to playing this each time we go out, much like the excited kid who now knows to add things up ! šŸ™‚ (We never grow up, do we – especially when we know that we have a good chance of winning !)

My shopping expeditions always lead to getting something unique, albeit, the next time we go shopping. This has definitely convinced me that I am not an impulsive shopper, given that I mull over the new idea for a few days and then buy it. I don’t know if Skrau knows so. Getting ‘egg whites’, red-and-yellow peppers, corn, some spices, snack foods, are just some of the foods that are my contribution to the experimental shopping list. Oh yes ! I think I can pout how this goes to show that I am an avid grocery shopper myself, who has now been relieved of essential grocery shopping and left to indulge herself during our outings.

Also these anecdotes add more weight to my belief that food and all-things-related-to-food take up a large chunk of time and spatial dimensions in life (puns unintended). I’ll probably end with this anecdote, a bit ill-timed given the on-going Japanese tragedy.

Food & Japan – It isn’t always sushi

Skrau’s American colleague is married to a Japanese and one day while passing by a bunch of Japanese women, he exclaimed how he was now comfortable with the language (after many years of marriage) and could understand nuances of the conversations. Then he goes on to say how it wasn’t really all that difficult. Skrau asked him what that particular conversation was about, to which pat came the reply “It is and always is about food”. And he went on to mention how at his in-laws’ home in Japan, (they’re unharmed by the earthquake-tsunami), they’re barely done with breakfast when they start talking about lunch and dinner. As Skrau narrated this to me, I was fairly reminded of how my mother talks about next day’s dinner plans right after we’ve finished today’s dinner. A second later, I realize, Skrau does this all the time, and then these days since the conversation with his colleague, he punctuates his sentence with, “I am Japanese” in sardonic defense.

At the beginning and at the end of the day – all cultures are bound by the basic necessities in life – clean food, water, air, shelter (and as my husband quips, electricity and the internet). Or all cultures are Japanese.

P.S.

In a quirk of fate, came across this in today’s NYT and put it up as a link on my Facebook page. I was surprised to know that Japan was the net largest importer of food in the world.

To this, husband commented : “densely populated, mostly mountainous and high standard of living (high demand for food) = no space to support cultivation. i think they are net importer of most things including national security (thanks to the post-war constitution) and culture ( true of most countries )”

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4 responses to “Grocery Shopping

  1. Lovely! Beautifully written…just loved it!

  2. well written !

    curious me asks why egg white in quotes? was it something other than that?

    on the subject of importing food, the UK imports a lot of food too – and when you see fresh food with the “produce of” bit mentioning countries in a different continent altogether, you wonder whether it is worth all those airmiles !

    • Ah! You should be my editor. Didn’t notice it, and I have no validation for the quotation marks.
      I always assumed (wrongly) that some country in the Middle East would be the net largest importer. Makes me understand the importance of all those lines about what foods are imported and exported by which country in our dull geography textbooks. My favourite geography lesson were about the kind of textiles and clothes would people wear in that place. šŸ™‚

  3. Nice…it relieves me to know that I am not odd because I look forward to and get excited about grocery shopping. And spend an age in the store.
    But then again, we both could be odd…and skrao too.

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