Top 10 Lies My Groceries Tell Me

July 3, 2011

You know how sometimes you have ideas that you think are pretty entertaining and funny… but you know you probably shouldn’t share them with other people… but then you do?

Consider that my disclaimer for this post.

You see, you’re probably all going to think I’ve really lost my marbles after reading this one.

And, it’s possible I have.

But it’s totally not my fault.

I swear.

You know how they say people can’t survive in a vacuum? Well, they fail to mention that the reason why you can’t live in a vacuum is because the vacuum will suck the brains out of your head and make you all screwy. Like more screwy than you were before.

You see, I’ve been pretty much in my own little vacuum this past week. Since the semester ended last week, I don’t have any more classes or grading to do. There’s not really anyone around to keep me company as almost all of my coworkers have left. Plus, it’s kind of like a kabillion degrees out right now, so I haven’t been going outside much for fear the heat might boil my internal organs. (It’s possible a few of them have already been boiled — like, uh, my brain.)

For the past week, I’ve just been hanging out in my apartment by myself with a fan pointed directly at my head. (The sound of blowing air adding an extra vacuum-y feel to my existence.)

With few distractions around, things are looking good for my plans to start my book. And should you be wondering how the whole book thing is going, I’ll have you know it’s going just as planned – the plan being that I start it on Monday. Because books are like diets, it’s important to start them on the first full week of the new month or you will fail miserably… and possibly turn into a werewolf or something. (And about that diet I was supposed to start last month — well, uh, that also starts next week as June was a totally stupid month to start stuff.)

And, while I’m hoping that all this peace and quiet will lead to a lot of productivity, it’s possible it could lead to a lot more crazy.

My brain could probably stand a bit more human interaction.

Or at least some cats or houseplants or something.

Because inanimate objects make for crappy conversationalists.

And, a lot of them lie.

At least my groceries do.

What? Don’t believe me?


I present you with the evidence:

Top 10 Lies My Groceries Tell Me

1. “Use me to replace your daily intake of wine.”

I bought these snack sticks because the packaging implied that they taste like wine and chocolate. That’s like two of my favorite food groups together at last! This is almost as good of an idea as the breakfast sandwich, which combines my other two favorite food groups: bacon and cheese.

Sadly, the snack sticks, which resemble Pocky in appearance, just taste like chocolate and grape juice – and not even good chocolate or the kind of grape juice you could pretend is alcoholic.

All in all, they were quite disappointing. Mind you, they were not disappointing enough to stop me from eating the entire box.

But still disappointing.

2. “I’m full of pork.”

When I saw this massive sesame-seed covered pastry thing at the deli counter in the grocery store, I was pretty excited. I had eaten a similar-looking but smaller version of this pastry in Shanghai, and it had been filled with pork. I assumed that this pastry would also be filled with pork — but even more pork because it was about ten times the size of the one I had in Shanghai. (And if there’s anything I love more than pork, it’s more pork!)

I pointed eagerly at it, and waited for the deli clerk to wrap it up for me. When she handed it over, it was still warm. It was all I could do not to bite into it right then and there. I even managed to get it home without tearing it open with my teeth during the taxi ride. (Will power, people! I am the poster child for will power, I tell you!)

When I finally cut it open, I discovered, instead of a delicious porky center, the pastry was hiding a dense mixture of nuts, sugar and these suspicious green and red bits that look kind of like those creepy little colored bits you see in fruitcake.

Again, disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my sugar-filled pastries as much as the next girl. But you know what I love even more than my sugar-filled pastries?

Pork-filled pastries.

After one slice, I didn’t eat any more and ended up throwing most of it out.

That, my friends, is true disappointment.

3. “Something in Chinese.”

I don’t know what this yogurt container is trying to tell me because I can’t read Chinese, but I’m pretty sure it’s lying to me.

I think we can all agree that yogurt is a natural-born liar. Yogurt packaging is notorious for implying stuff that nobody should believe; like, “Eat me and you’ll lose weight!” or “Eat me and you’ll suddenly be able to do yoga!” or “Eat me instead of dessert; you’ll never notice the difference!”



In fact, if yogurt wore pants, those pants would always be on fire.

I’m sure this container of yogurt is no different.

Sure of it.

4. “I am cheese.”

Obviously the people at the Président Cheese Company think I was born yesterday. They’re probably all laughing around a big boardroom table right now, saying stuff like, “Ha ha! We just slapped a fancy accent on our name so people will think we’re French. Then they’ll believe whatever we try to sell them is cheese. Ooo, la, la, le sucker!”

Well, I’m not buying it. (Even though I did buy this product. Don’t judge. I live in Asia, where my choice of cheese products is severely limited. Besides, I am kind of a sucker for fancy French accents.)

Let’s review the list of doubtful claims made by the packaging:

a.     This is mozzarella cheese.
b.     This “mozzarella” “cheese” can be used to make something called a “special pizza.”
c.      This is made in France.

Okay, so after careful inspection of the package, it appears that this product was, indeed, made in France. (Obviously, a part of France where they don’t have much dignity… and possibly any cows as I’m pretty sure this “cheese” is not made from milk but from recycled bits of plastic.)

After careful tasting of the product, it can be concluded that all other claims are false. This is certainly not “mozzarella,” that’s for sure. Unless by “mozzarella” they really mean “polystyrene.”

Plus, I highly doubt this can be used to make any kind of pizza. Unless by “special pizza” they are using the word “special” in a bad way — as in, “Wow, Sally, you sure are special.” (This statement is usually accompanied by a vigorous twirling of the forefinger around the ear.)

5. “I am coffee.”

You may not know this, but I’m a total coffee snob.

Okay, so I’m sure you probably guessed that by now because, obviously, I’m a classy lady. And us classy ladies like the finer things in life – like expensive hotel rooms, fine wine, good coffee and dressing up in pink, pleather cop uniforms while performing karaoke.

Keeping things classy, yo.

But it’s hard to be a coffee snob in China. The grocery stores near me only sell instant coffee. The only place where you can buy real coffee that is made from coffee beans and not questionable coffee-like chemicals is Starbucks.

Unfortunately, Starbucks can be pretty pricey for my meager English teacher salary. Not that a classy lady like myself isn’t willing to splurge on the finer things. (That pink pleather cop uniform was worth every penny I spent to rent it… and every penny I spent on antibacterial soap to scrub the pink pleather cooties off of me.) But, you know, every once in a while I actually try to act responsibly with my money. (It’s not a common thing. Stop making such a big deal about it.)

Plus, I’m lazy and the closest Starbucks is a thirty-minute bus ride away.

And, remember, it’s like a kabillion degrees outside, and I have my internal organs to think about.

This week (due to frugalness, laziness and an attachment to my lower intestine), I was forced to buy instant coffee at the grocery store near my house.

I bought the Maxwell House “Rich Flavor” because it has the word “rich” in the name. Yep, Maxwell House, you know what us classy ladies like! We like our coffee rich just like our men and our chocolate! Am I right or am I right, ladies? (Okay, so maybe this really only applies to chocolate and coffee as I tend to like nerdy, arty boys with the money-management skills of a hobo.)

The packaging on this product promised a “coffeeness” level of 3. Judging from the packages of other instant coffee available at the store, this is the highest level of “coffeeness” legally allowed to be sold over the counter here in China.

And, let me tell you, Dear Reader, this stuff blows.


I’m sorry.

That wasn’t very classy, lady-like language, was it?

How about this:

This stuff can suck my Folger’s Crystals, if you know what I mean.


6. “3:15 PM Milk Tea. Anytime. Anywhere.”

Which one is it, Earl Grey Milk Tea?

Am I allowed to drink you only at 3:15 pm or can I have you “any time any where”?

It’s so like royalty to give such mixed signals.


7. “Paper not from trees.”

This toilet tissue claims to be made from something called “non-virgin-wood-fiber-tissue.” Now, I understand that by “non-virgin” the company means the tissue was made from recycled paper products. But weren’t the paper products, at some point, made from trees? So, technically, the toilet tissue did come from trees, just in a recycled, round-about kind of way, right?

This is like saying a “non-virgin-person” is not actually a person. Which would mean anyone who has had sex is a robot. Which would mean most adults on this planet are robots.

(Uh, except for me. I am totally not a robot as classy ladies like myself save ourselves for marriage. And I’m not just saying that because my parents read this blog. Besides, if I was a robot, I’d totally be better at math.)

8. “People smile in the morning. You could be one of those people if you eat this oatmeal!”

Not a chance, Oatmeal. Not a chance.
9. “Life is a road and forever wonderful journey.”

Am I the only one who thinks this is terribly ironic coming from a packet of tissues? I think we all know where the journey ends for you, Mr. Tissue.

And (spoiler alert) it’s not such a wonderful ending.

10. “I will make your microwave explode.”

As you can see from the packaging, Popz Microwave Popcorn doesn’t just promise you a delicious meal-alternative. (What? You don’t eat popcorn for dinner? Sheez. I bet you’re also one of those people who eats yogurt for dessert and likes it. You are probably also a robot. You might want to get yourself checked or something. Just saying.)

Popz Microwave Popcorn also promises a fun light show right in the convenience of your own kitchen – you know, when your microwave explodes! (Wheeee!)

Now, I’ll have you know, that I have had quite a few bags of this popcorn since discovering it at my local grocery store, and it has yet to make my microwave explode. This is rather surprising, actually, considering I have kind of a knack when it comes to making my household appliances explode… or at least burst into flames.

Needless to say, I’ve been a bit disappointed.

But that’s not the only thing disappointing about Popz Brand Microwave Popcorn. (You know, aside from the unfortunate spelling.)

I was shocked when I turned over my package of popcorn to discover this printed on the back:

Umm, WHAT??

I didn’t move all the way to China to eat crappy, processed food made in the United States. I moved here to eat crappy, processed food made in China!

As disappointing as this discovery was, it does explain why the popcorn hasn’t made my microwave explode yet. If that popcorn had been made in China, my microwave would totally be a pile of rubble by now.

After all, this is China we’re talking about here, people! China! China is the birthplace of fireworks and exploding watermelons! If any country can make a snack food that explodes, it would totally be China.

It’s just a matter of time, my friends.

11. “Vegetables are happy… and will help you with your cleaning up.”
So, I know this was only supposed to be a list of ten things, but I lied. Usually I would never do that kind of thing to you, but I’m blaming it on the company I’ve been keeping this week. (Two-faced, no-good groceries!)

According to the wrapping on my paper towels, vegetables are whimsical, two-legged creatures capable of human emotions like happiness. Also, (according to the diagram below) they are capable of helping you do the dishes.

This is a lie, people.

I have spent the entire week holed up in my apartment making conversation with my groceries, but I haven’t heard a peep out of any of my vegetables.

I mean, just look at these carrots:

Not exactly the life of the party, huh?

I mean, I’ve known cardboard boxes with more spunk.

And, where, I ask you, are the carrots’ legs?

Plus, I’ve had a pile of dirty dishes in my sink for three days now and those carrots have not once offered to help clean up!

There’s a reason why they’re called vegetables, people. They just sit around and act like… like… vegetables!

And check out this onion:

Let me tell you, Dear Reader, that onion is a total doucheball.


I’m sorry.

That wasn’t very classy, lady-like language, was it?

How about this:

That onion can kiss my Vidalia, if you know what I mean.



I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On July 3, 2011 at 7:04 am Sasha said:

    Haha great post! This is made even more hilarious because I’ve seen this stuff in the supermarket myself, in fact I nearly bought that mozzarella the other day to make a pizza. But then I thought despite there being a picture of a pizza on the packaging can you really make a pizza that looks as good as the pic on the packaging with that cheese?…Nup, didn’t think so! Those lying dignity less Frenchy’s!

    P.S. That onion does look quite douchy!

    • On July 4, 2011 at 3:02 am Sally said:

      I have to say I have been tempted to make pizza with the cheese just to see if it can be done. Plus, I just got a toaster oven so it might be a good experiment. If worse comes to worse, I set my toaster oven on fire and I can simulate the light show that is missing from my kitchen seeing as the microwave popcorn refuses to make my microwave explode!

  2. On July 3, 2011 at 7:23 am Alouise said:

    This post was hilarious. I can’t believe how evil some of your groceries are, like the first one. Passing off grape juice as wine, that’s just tragic. And I completely understand your opinion on yogurt, I eat it every morning and I still can’t do yoga.

    • On July 4, 2011 at 3:00 am Sally said:

      Totally! Yoga is such a jerk. I also eat it all the time and can hardly sit cross-legged. What’s the deal, yogurt? Why can’t I do yoga, yet??

  3. On July 3, 2011 at 9:36 am Katrin said:

    *sigh* what a world, you can’t even trust groceries anymore.

    But if it’s any comfort, finding decent coffee in Romania also seems to be next to impossible…

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:59 am Sally said:

      Well, there, you did it. You just made me cross Romania off my list of places to live in. Wait, but do they have cheese? I might be willing to reconsider.

      • On July 4, 2011 at 7:17 am Katrin said:

        They have tons of different cheese. And the cake they have kinda makes up for the lack of good coffee – so maybe you could give Romania a try 😉

  4. On July 3, 2011 at 10:12 am Katherina said:

    I was shocked about the chinese calling THAT cheese… and I can’t believe THAT was made in France! It must be one of the french hidden activities, to use something that is not cow milk to create processed milk to sell it to Asia, since, no offense, most of Asia – if not all of it – doesn’t really like cheese nor knows how the real ones tastes (you know, the one that is not for special pizzas).

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:58 am Sally said:

      Well, in all fairness, the Chinese did not call THAT cheese, the French did. So it’s all their fault.
      It’s true that cheese isn’t very big here. One of the reasons is that a high percentage of Asian people are lactose intolerant. The percentages are changing now that many young children are growing up on milk and dairy products, but, in general, a lot of Asian people don’t eat dairy because they really can’t.
      But they should really import better cheese so that those of us who can (and DO) eat cheese can eat better cheese!

  5. On July 3, 2011 at 10:31 am Erik said:

    Awesome! Too funny.

    I can’t wait for the book.

  6. On July 3, 2011 at 11:11 am The Travel Chica said:

    Nasty fake cheese and crappy coffee have been two of my biggest disappointments in Latin America.

    I was really excited when i found slices of cheddar cheese at the giant Super Wal-Mart style store in Buenos Aires. Of course I bought them and immediately went home to cook a grilled cheese sandwich. Didn’t taste remotely like cheddar. In fact, didn’t taste remotely like cheese.

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:52 am Sally said:

      I was really surprised by the crappy coffee in Latin America, too. Okay, so I’ve only lived in Brazil, but you would think that Brazil would have amazing coffee since it is, umm, BRAZIL, where lots of coffee is grown, but nope. All the street vendors & grocery stores sold instant stuff. I eventually got used to it, but I was so happy to return to good coffee when I moved back to the States.

  7. On July 3, 2011 at 11:12 am Theodora said:

    Oh god. I’ve been there with the pork pastry/doughnut/whatever. Sooo many times. Ordered something that looked like it should have been pork in sesame seeds. And it was something mushy, meh-y, and hideously sweet.

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:50 am Sally said:

      The thing is that I know enough Mandarin that I could have probably asked them if there was pork in the pastry (well, at least I know how to say “pork”) but I was so CONVINCED there was that I didn’t even bother asking. I have learned my lesson… oh, how I’ve learned.
      And when you come to Shanghai, I’ll have to show you the place where I got the pork pastries before. So good!

  8. On July 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm Steph said:

    China confession: I once was so desperate for cheese that I bought brie, in a can, from germany. It was definitely a lie, but maybe in a more existential way.

    Grocery shopping in China is the most fun of all, I almost miss it.


  9. On July 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm Don said:

    Good one Sal!

  10. On July 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm Brendan van Son said:

    Oh my, you have really come off your rocker now. But at least it’s entertaining to read. great post kiddo

  11. On July 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm Michi said:

    Someone send Sally a giant bag of Starbucks’ French Roast, quick!! (I would, but the nearest Starbucks is a 3-hour bus ride from me). I’m craving pork-filled pastries now, mmmm.

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:48 am Sally said:

      Just bought some yesterday, so, luckily, I’m saved… for now. (But everyone’s welcome to send me coffee anyways).
      And, come to think of it, I’m craving pork-filled pastries now, too. 🙂

  12. On July 3, 2011 at 7:33 pm Ken C. said:

    Oh, gosh…I am always enticed by food-wrapped-in-pastry-dough [especially that extra buttery, almost-croissant-like pastry dough]. I don’t really care for pork or beef, but savory chicken–yummy. It’s like having dessert with your entree [but since you truly haven’t had dessert yet, you can always have chocolate afterwards].

    Of course, I have been horribly misled by foreign-language labeling or venders, but, I have a hopeful palette, and I’m ever hopeful that something wonderful is in the next tray.

    And this crazy Asian obsession with instant coffee is just nuts. In Thailand, a hot seller is Nestle Instant Coffee with sweetener AND creamer combined; I think it’s called 3-in-1. It’s probably great for survival situations (like the upcoming great zombie apocalypse), but please! Besides, I heard it’s hot enough in China to brew coffee by just setting a pot of water on the kitchen counter [this from a very reliable source].

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:47 am Sally said:

      Here, a lot of the instant coffee is 3-in-1 and, depending on the level of “coffeeness”, it often ends up being just tasting like sugary, creamy, vaguely coffee-tasting grossness. Luckily, I finally broke down yesterday and headed to the Starbucks to get some REAL coffee. No more 3-in-1 stuff for me (at least until I run out of the Starbucks and I’m forced back to my usual state of desperation).

  13. On July 3, 2011 at 8:17 pm Rease said:

    haha, I love this. I often see totally weird things in the super market and cannot help but laugh to myself. Thank you for sharing.

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:44 am Sally said:

      I swear all you need to do is take a trip to the supermarket to keep yourself entertained. I just wish I still had a camera phone so I could take more pictures (I feel weird pulling out my camera to snap photos of oatmeal). In fact, there have been a few times that I’ve bought stuff I didn’t need or want just so I could bring it home and take a picture of it. Yes, I’m sick.

  14. On July 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    I’m laughing so hard I can barely type! I loved this post, I didn’t want it to end! I’m a total coffee snob too. 😉

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:43 am Sally said:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Andi. And it is no surprise that you are a coffee snob as you truly are a classy lady (unlike, umm, some of us). 🙂

  15. On July 4, 2011 at 12:06 am Ali said:

    There are no words, except hilarious! (And, um, did you just tell us you’re a virgin?)

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:42 am Sally said:

      Why yes, Ali. And, should my parents be reading this as I know they probably will be (Hi, Mom & Dad!), I’ve also never done any kind of drugs, I waited until I was 21 to drink and I never lied to them. Ever. Phew. Glad that’s all cleared up!

  16. On July 4, 2011 at 1:37 am Whitney said:

    I’ve been stalking your blog for a while and just wanted to say I totally love it. This post brought back fond memories of living in Vietnam and trying to melt “cheese” into an omelet, which ended up as a puddle of scrambled eggs freckled with rubbery, un-melted, dice-sized chunks. Good luck with the book!

    • On July 4, 2011 at 2:40 am Sally said:

      Thanks so much for commenting & glad you’re enjoying my blog! I will make note not to use the cheese to make an omelet… unless I want a “special omelet.” 🙂

  17. On July 4, 2011 at 7:15 am Ciki said:

    ROFLMAO!!! Friggin hilarious woman! Yeah all health foods lie. I agree. And bad food lie too.. so just eat up and be merry you lived another day to tell the truth about FOOD;)

  18. On July 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm ChinaMatt said:

    Brilliant. I love food packaging in China. I used to buy things because the labels made me laugh. Wonder how much money I blew on useless items at the grocery store.

  19. On July 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm Megan said:

    Wow, you know that 3-in-1 coffee stuff you guys were talking about? I’ve actually grown to *like* it. I prefer the real stuff, but…ugh, look what Asia has done to me!

    I’m still holding out on the cheese, though.

    • On July 5, 2011 at 3:47 am Sally said:

      I know how it is… in Japan, I was one of those weirdos who actually didn’t mind corn on my pizza. When I start ordering pork floss on stuff on purpose then I’ll know I’ve clearly been in Asia too long.

  20. On July 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm Heather said:

    Hey classy lady, I really don’t know what to say except that you made me smile and laugh from beginning to end 🙂 I figured you should know.

  21. On July 5, 2011 at 3:17 am Uncle Ed said:

    The key to great onions is muck. Surely there’s muck somewhere in China. Hehehe.

  22. On July 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm Alex said:

    Oh my, the amount of money I spend on foreign candies only to spit out half of them containing nuts. It’s an addiction!

    • On July 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm Sally said:

      I generally like stuff with nuts, but I had convinced myself this thing was filled with pork so it was quite the disappointment. (Plus those green & red bits were creeping me out.)

  23. On July 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm Keith said:

    I’m glad to hear you did a cleansing after wearing that karaoke pleather. The last time you posted that photo I was almost too distracted by my concern for your safety to continue reading….

    And good call on that pork pastry deception. Reminded me of buying a beautiful sweet-looking pastry in Russia only to discover it was stuffed with sour, room-temperature, mystery “curds.”

  24. On July 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm Margaret said:

    Great post as always! I’m sure the food in Chile lies too. Mostly when it calls itself delicious. or food. my strict policy is that anything that has the need to convince me it’s food probably isn’t!

    • On July 11, 2011 at 3:03 am Sally said:

      Ha ha! Oh dear. I do think it’s a good rule of thumb that if the food is trying to convince you it’s food than it’s probably not food. Kind of like people who say, “I’m not a racist, BUT…” (“I’m food, BUT….”)

  25. On July 13, 2013 at 5:59 am Sandy said:

    they sell this kind of cheese in Singapore too..i think:( btw love ur sense of humour. i was slacking and looking at ur post and almost lol…hehe


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