, Looking at stores in a foreign country highlights some of the differences in culture. For instance, in the United States, a “supermarket” is one-stop shopping with meats, produce, baked goods, canned and frozen foods galore. Many supermarkets also have kitchen wares, wine and liquor shelves, gourmet cheeses, a flower shop, a pharmacy, and dozens of other sections. During winter, one can even buy wood for the fireplace at the supermarket!
Not so this “supermarket” in Amsterdam. This store had bottled and canned cold drinks, a case of frozen goods, and packages of snacks along with cigarettes. That was about all. To my eyes, it resembled the 7-11 store found on almost every block in the states. As in many cities, especially those in Europe, the American concept of a “supermarket” is rare. Instead, each store has a specialty and one collects what one needs for the next meal or two at a bakery, meat shop, and a produce store.
With this way of food shopping, I’m finding that I plan more carefully and each food shopping experience becomes a different adventure. I walk from one store to another and the pictures on packages and cans become all important because I usually can’t read the words. Once back in the kitchen, there is also the experience of new foods having different tastes, smells, and even textures than my usual fare.
After doing all this thinking about foods and shopping, I think it’s time to do a bit of meal planning…