Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Paper or Plastic?

Research Site

Having my son (an ex-pat for over 10 years now) and his wife visiting from Sweden earlier this month, reminded me of some of the things I enjoy doing when I'm abroad......among them, I'm fascinated by foreign grocery stores!  While they wandered the aisles, wondering at all of the variety and reminiscing about foods they enjoyed, I started to consider my memories of groceries.

German Sausages

For the local population, a store doesn't hold much more than a routine chore.  But really, a whole lot of sociology goes on in the grocery store.  It's not just about the food, though that's always an interesting part,  it's about what there is, and isn't, from how things are packaged and displayed to how they're grouped together.  The absence of grocery bags or baggers.  Smaller portions, less wrappers...no wrappers.  Imported produce from unexpected places.  Not to mention the local specialties.

There's a lot of the routine items, toothbrushes, deodorant, jam, frozen food....but it's all just a little different and curious to me.

Cheese in France
Fish in Paris market

I love trying new things and this is such an easy way to experience the local culture.  I do sometimes wonder, though, if I'm putting things together properly - particularly with more obscure items, or if, through my ignorance, I'm doing the equivalent of putting ketchup on ice cream.
Dragonfruit in Stockholm


  1. Oh I like to visit foreign supermarkets and food halls too! They are such fascinating places, as you've described Martha.

  2. I would love to see some of the stores you've seen, Sue. My experiences have all been fairly western countries, and while there are definitely some , "foreign" parts, the western supermarkets are pretty pervasive and somewhat predictable. When opportunity permits, I really enjoy the Chinatown or Japantown grocers in San Francisco, but still look forward to visiting Asia and beyond one day. I'm sure you're seen some exciting things in your travels :)