Working in a grocery store destroys some of the allure that grocery shopping used to have for me. Sure, I have a thorough knowledge of most food-related things now, but I miss the wide-eyed innocence with which I used to stroll the aisles of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck, as we TJ’s employees like to call it) or Safeway. All of the food is the same: tomatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, meat, pasta, soup… on and on. The adventure of discovering new things that grocery stores used to allow me has now morphed into somewhat of a recurring deja-vu. I keep trying to find new and exciting places to shop. For a while Fresh and Easy was new and exciting, but now it lingers in my mind as just another store.
Yesterday everything changed.
My roommate who grew up in the Philippines took me to the Asian foods store in Mesa, AZ. Instantly the scales of boredom fell from my eyes as I wandered the (somewhat smelly) aisles of this haven of interesting delicacies. Packages of foreign treats were stacked to the sky on either side of me, all labeled with red Chinese characters.
The produce section is what truly amazed me. Fruits and vegetables of all shapes, sizes and colors were laid out before me. How could I not have known these things existed? They were all so beautiful and cheap! I decided right then and there, whenever I felt overly bored with the normal cache of food available to me, I would sneak away and visit this foreign, wonderful land and indulge in some crazy fruit or vegetables. Here are some of my purchases (modest, as they are, they are still far more interesting than the fruit of most American grocery stores!):
(Don’t tell me we don’t have a creative God!)