As a good North American I was always appalled at the idea that folks actually go and buy groceries every day. Talk about a waste of time.
Now having lived here for two years, and we are on the third, I am finding that there is some merit to the system. Don't get me wrong, I don't love going shopping in the normal course of things, but buying groceries here is TOTALLY different than the normal NA experience.
There is a relationship that can occur when buying food. Let me illustrate. Today I had a stupendously delicious lunch:
Fresh baguette (from my favourite baker where I can bring Chuck in with me, we chatted about dogs today)
Tomatoes (from the same baker, grown here in our town by another customer)
with a touch of Olive oil, (from a friend's father's farm)
I also had scrambled eggs (from my favourite (weekly) market lady who lives in the next town and whose chickens eat *shock* vegetables!!! From her GARDEN! and whose daughter I taught English too last year...she gave me some eggs that had been reserved for another customer, I was a little late at 9:10 am...I reserved eggs for next week, and swiss chard and bay leaves...they come on a branch, you know, chopped off the tree!)
with oyster mushrooms (from a town just down the coast)
I also had fresh ripe splitting open figs (from the village)
with the very best Iberic Ham, from my favourite lady in the local daily market (we talked about my vegetarian kids)
and a nice strong cheese, almost a Parmesan, made here in Catalonia, (from the corner store that sells the most GOURMET stuff....and who has a lovely woman working there who has WAY too many deliveries to put away today)
I also had tea, organic Earl Grey (from a store in BCN, owned by a delightful coffee connoisseur from whom I have been buying the man's coffee for a while; who, I recently discovered, also sells the most astounding variety of teas, and seems quite knowledgeable. We had a lovely conversation about the different types of teas, and chai, and which teas are sweet and fruity, etc....He also once walked me down the street to his local restaurant when I went begging into his store asking to know where to get really good CATALAN food to celebrate that the Dr's had figured out the cause of Eldest's stomach ache.) -Lord, I love a run-on sentence. The tea is astonishingly good, the entire kitchen smells meltingly delicious when I make it. A high point to my day.
In my tea I had normal milk...I haven't found a better source,
and regular old sugar.... I would love to use the local honey that is made in our village more, but to be completely frank....it tastes like cough medicine. Blech. It is testing my willingness to eat locally. I may try and source another type of local honey...especially as the local honey maker just died.
after all that, I guess what I am trying to say in this long run-on way, is that buying food here is not only about buying food, and it has very little in common with battling through Loblaws, or Price Choppper, there is also a very real relationship that emerges with the food and the shopping.
When I ate my delicious lunch, it was not only delicious, but it was also scented by the smiles and conversations of the people who grew it, and who sold it to me.
That I like.