Sunday, 21 October 2007

Supermarket Sweep

You may think me strange (may...?!) but I love supermarkets. I particularly love supermarkets in foreign countries. Fortunately I am married to someone who feels the same way, so our trips abroad are often punctuated by visits to their equivalent of Tescos. We may both enjoy supermarket shopping, but that's where the similarity ends... if we were both dropped blindfolded into a random foreign supermarket, pursued by the perma-tanned Dale Winton, I can guarantee that within minutes Rob would be enthusiastically perusing the beer section, while I'd be heading for the 'Baking' aisle. I don't suppose either of us would make a diversion towards the fruit and veg section. Except maybe to pick up a lime for a margarita.

Anyway, supermarkets have been much in my thoughts this month as we have just returned from a fabulous trip to New England. This provided opportunities for visiting supermarkets in SIX different US states, and we took full advantage of this. Whether or not you think I am odd for enjoying supermarket shopping, it's becoming apparant to me that my habit of taking my camera into supermarkets to photograph things on the shelves is verging on madness, but I have no shame where this is concerned! Here are a few things that really excited me:

Marshmallow Fluff - food of the Gods! I have previously bought this in the UK, but hadn't appreciated the fact that it came in other flavours too. I bought some of the regular white stuff, Rob having turned his nose up at the jar of raspberry fluff in my shopping basket. I consoled myself by taking a photo instead, to the bafflement of several nearby shoppers.


I had never heard of French's Fried Onions until recently, when I discovered that they are in fact a staple of American retro-cookery. I now have 2 cans in my kitchen cupboard, and I'm trying to pluck up the courage to use them in the slightly-scary-looking 'Green Bean Casserole' recipe on the tin. I like the idea of these Cheddar ones though, especially as a crispy coating for chicken. Sadly the purchase of these was also vetoed by Rob, for the admittedly very good reason that we had barely enough room in the van to sleep, let alone carry bagfuls of trashy American groceries. Spoilsport.

I am an advertising agencies dream as I am SO easily swayed by packaging. I have a cupboard full of 'Jiffy Corn-Muffin Mix', simply because I love the boxes. This Bell's seasoning is beautifully packaged. I love the 'Old Bay' seasoning tins too. And as for this wonderful My-T-Fine' pudding mix - wow! It saddens me that manufacturers feel the need to update their packaging so regularly - I love the fact that this has probably remained unchanged for 30 years.


Back on the Hallowe'en theme again... in the form of the infamous 'Funfetti' cake. More to come on this topic in another post...

This just made us giggle. I'm not sure if the Brawny-man has cause to fear for his job just yet...

And finally, a quick mention for possibly the most fun supermarket in the world, ever - Trader Joe's. I had heard some of my American friends raving about it and we stumbled upon this branch in Massachussetts. It's full of local produce and some really unusual foods, all at excellent prices. I also love to see a retailer with a sense of humour - the food is labelled with variations on the Trader Joe's name; e.g. the Spanish sausages that we bought were 'Trader Jose's', the Clam Chowder 'Pilgrim Joe's', the noodles 'Trader Ming's', etc. It's so good to see the injection of a little humour into the potentially banal job of grocery-shopping. Although when you shop with me it's always fun.




4 comments:

Lisa said...

Norm, I really like the packaging of the Bell's and Old Bay seasonings, too! Old Bay is now available in a plastic jar-type container, but I can't bring myself to buy it; it must be the tin!
Looks like a lot of fun shopping & observing :).

Kelly-Jane said...

That's a really fun post, I so enjoy seeing foodie things that I can't buy here! The Pilsbury cake looks great!

annauk said...

What a glorious post!!!! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed seeing all those great products!
I actually bought some of that Halloween funfetti cake off Ebay (and the frosting too!)
xx

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