I know that sounds lame, but this is me we’re talking about. And lame is just kind of this thing I do.
Besides, I assure you it was a good time.
I mean, I could spend entire afternoons walking up and down the aisles, gawping at the weird stuff and wondering what the heck it was.
Even if there was some kind of English explanation on the packaging, I would still usually end up wondering what the heck it was.
And then I’d buy it. Because sometimes you just need to know what the “Nourishing Wisdom of China” tastes like already.
Turns out it tastes exactly like black sesame seed paste.
And now you know.Another thing I loved about Chinese supermarkets was how huge and sprawly they were.
In Japan, I could barely make my way down the teeny, tiny aisles of the teeny, tiny shops, with my teeny, tiny basket and my not-so-teeny-tiny American self.
Meanwhile, the aisles in my local Chinese grocery store were wide enough for at least two, standard-sized, grocery carts to pass each other.
Well, the aisles were technically wide enough for that kind of thing.
But, as I’ve mentioned before, grocery shopping in China is something of a defensive sport. Kind of like driving in China. So there’s really no “passing.” Mostly just lots of pushing and shoving and muttering English swear words under your breath. (Okay, maybe I was the only one doing that last one.)And while the selection of dairy products might have been dismal, they did have a surprisingly huge selection of other items. Granted, these were usually items you never thought you’d need a huge selection of.
Like honey. Seriously, guys. China is really into their honey.
And all manners of dried fruits. In flavors you never really thought dried fruits could come in.
And, of course, chicken feet. Which were available individually packaged. For when you just don’t want to share.
Or by the pound. For when just one chicken foot won’t do!
Well, I have two words for you: booze aisle.
Yep, the grocery store had an entire aisle full of alcohol – everything from French wines to German beers to Russian vodka.
I apologize for not having a photo of the booze aisle. This is probably because I was usually too busy grabbing booze off the shelves to be bothered with taking photos of it.
You’ll just have to believe me that it was there.
And, seriously, does this look like the face of a woman who would lie to you about alcohol?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.As much as I loved my Chinese grocery stores, I can’t say I miss them much.
Maybe things would be different if I had moved to some other part of the States – like some part of the country where people are forced to do their grocery shopping in stores that don’t have approximately five hundred types of cheese.
But I moved to Buffalo, where we have Wegmans.
WEGMANS, YOU GUYS.
I mean, as far as grocery stores go, things don’t get much better than Wegmans.
To be honest, I don’t even think Wegmans qualifies as a mere grocery store. It’s more like a wonderland of awesome and dairy products.
What’s that you say?
You’ve never even heard of Wegmans?
Well, you might want to stop reading.
And, whatever you do, you’re not going to want to look at this photo of the fancy, gourmet cheese case.
Which, I should mention is, like, one of nine fancy, gourmet cheese cases at my local Wegmans. This doesn’t even include the cases full of non-fancy, non-gourmet cheeses. You know, the kind of cheeses that haven’t been aged in a Norwegian cave for the last twenty-five years.
You’re just going to want to go find another blog that’s not going to make you feel all sad and inferior and like you’ve been living a life without any meaning. Or, at least, a life without an adequate supply of cheese. Which, if you’re anything like me, is pretty much the same thing.
But don’t blame me when you find yourself lying awake at night wondering how you can carry on with your life knowing that there is an ENTIRE GROCERY STORE FULL OF CHEESE THAT YOU’VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF BEFORE.
Ahem.And, let me tell you, it’s not just the cheeses that are classy at Wegmans.
Everything is classy there.
Even stuff you never thought could be classy is classy there.
Like the candy corn
And the bathroom graffiti.
Being surrounded by all that classy stuff always makes me feel all classy myself. It makes me feel like I’m the type of person who actually knows what radicchio is. Even though I totally don’t. (So, apparently, according to the Wikipedia, it’s some kind of leafy vegetable. Which is news to me as I thought it had something to do with bacon. That was probably just wishful thinking on my part.)I thought I would miss gawping at all the weird stuff like I used to do in Chinese grocery stores. But, you know what, I still find myself gawping at the weird stuff in Wegmans and wondering what the heck it is.
Even though it’s all in English.
Like, for example, there’s an entire aisle in the store labeled “New Age Beverages.” What does that even mean, you guys? I’m kind of scared to walk down that aisle for fear that I’ll turn into a hippie and start smelling like patchouli.
And, today, I bought this:
I have no idea what makes it “super,” but it better make me fly or give me X-ray vision or I’m asking for a refund.
And, while there is no wine or hard liquor in the Wegmans’ booze aisle, there is a mighty fine selection of beer, including lots of local microbrews and imported beers.
And, they have this awesome thing where you can make your very own variety six-pack.
Because, sometimes, you’re just not so sure you’re going to like something that claims to contain “The Spirit of the Finger Lakes,” and you don’t really want to commit to six whole bottles of it. I mean, that’s a whole lot of Finger Lakes, if you ask me.
One little thing I never, ever thought I’d miss.
You guessed it.
I miss all the pushing and shoving.
Sure, I was never a fan of having little old Chinese ladies attempt to run me over with their grocery carts full of live eels. But, as I’ve mentioned before, pushing and shoving can make things terribly efficient.
Being the classy kind of joint that it is, hardly anyone ever pushes and shoves at my local Wegmans. And, when they do, it’s usually a mistake. And, not, say, a premeditated effort to kill you.
Instead, everyone stands in line and waits their turn.
Which means it takes me FOREVER to shop there.
And sometimes you just want to get home already so you can crack open a bottle of the new beer you just bought. Because maybe you just need to know what the “The Spirit of the Finger Lakes” tastes like already, okay?
Turns out it tastes exactly like beer.
And now you know.What’s your favorite grocery store shopping experience? P.S. Wegmans didn’t give me anything to say nice things about them. But if you happen to work for Wegman’s, I will totally accept compensation in the form fine cheeses and fruity beer. Or X-ray vision.