Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cooking Tip: Weird Foreign Stuff

This Will Be Good
This Will Be Good
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
As you are no doubt aware, every Costco is organized in precisely the same way. Membership counter as you walk in the door, electronics and specials on one side, pharmacy, glasses and copy center on the other. Proceed all the way to the back for cold goods and produce then work your way gradually forward. The familiarity of organization, product and layout promotes a sense of comfort to the customer even if – for some bizarre reason – he decides to treat himself to a $1.50 polish hot dog and Coke while on a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. After wedging down the ice cream bar – just couldn't resist at that price – he knows all he has to do is waddle halfway down the store and on the right for the dish and laundry soap.

Using a similar retail principle, the big supermarket chains in Mexico are interchangeable: C.C.C., Soriana's, Mega, and Commercial Mexican. You can tell that they are owned by the same parent company because the organization and products inside are identical from store to store. Also, they all happen to share an enormous orange and white pelican logo.

Now, here's the useful bit. Between the abbarotes (produce) section and the carneceria (chicken, beef, and pork) counter at the back of the store, there are several racks of a random assortment of goods. I imagine the conversation goes something like this:

Juliana (in Spanish of course): What is this?

Rebbecca (her coworker): I have no idea. Looks like some weird foreign shit. The gringos might like it.

Juliana: Got it. I'll throw it in the rack by the meat counter.

Pine nuts, nori, specialty jams, bags of walnuts and cranberry sauce, Italian pasta, Oreo cookies, and rice wine vinegar, olive oil and Krusteaz pancake mix. Large jars of Skippy peanut butter and Romanian cookies, Thai fish sauce, microbrewed beer from Colorado, and seasoned popcorn cakes. It's the most god awful mix of random stuff you'll ever lay eyes on. The selection changes from store to store, from day to day.

Today's cooking tip is that when you travel in Mexico, you must check the weird foreign section each and every time you go to the store. If you find something you like, buy it in quantity. There is no assurance you will ever see that particular good for sale again anywhere in Mexico. It is for this reason, we currently have twenty packages of nori. I can not regret this otherwise ridiculous hoarding. Who knows what Juliana will do with the seaweed the next time it arrives on the loading dock?

1 comment:

Singing Land Cruiser said...

My dear Toast, Do eat the food. Don't drink the water. LOL All the Best, M&C