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Things I’m learning. The grocery edition.

I thought grocery stores would be more or less the same in most places. Fooled me. Here are a few tidbits I’ve picked up in the past few months.

  • Grocery carts come in a four-wheel drive version. Surprised you too, huh? Unfortunately this is not the kind of 4WD that is on my car. All four wheels move independently. Let’s just say that pushing this thing in a straight line for more than a few feet is a core workout.
  • Eggs come in packages of ten. And are located, still in huge boxes, in their own aisle. Not refrigerated. Use quickly.
  • “Best Before” dates are usually tomorrow. Don’t bother digging through the milk cartons. Fresh milk is probably still in the cow.
  • Most of the milk is in UHT cartons, not the refrigerator case. And you won’t find it in anything larger than a 1 litre container.
  • Like half and half in your coffee? Don’t come to Europe. It doesn’t exist.
  • Skim milk or non-fat yogurt don’t exist. Neither does cottage cheese, something that I’m beginning to miss very much.
  • Celery is an exotic vegetable.
  • Fresh vegetables in winter are carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage and kohlrabi. Enjoy.
  • The check-out lady does not weigh your produce. You do. Tie the bag closed and stick a label on it or they’ll send you back to do it right.
  • Beef is….best enjoyed somewhere else.
  • Duck and goose are readily available. Fresh, not frozen. On the other hand, turkeys come in pieces.
  • Fish? What’s that?
  • Some products have their own aisle. For example, sour cream takes an entire refrigerator aisle. Likewise, so do yogurt, kefir, flavoured yogurt and butter. Who knew?
  • Shopping bags are not available at most stores. Don’t leave yours at home.
  • Bread is white. Or maybe rye, depending on the store. And it comes with its own baked-on label.
  • The biggest section at the store is devoted to alcoholic beverages. Cheap. Explains a great deal.
  • It has been decades since I’ve seen pink or yellow or green toilet paper. Okay. But strawberry or chamomile scented toilet tissue? Really?

Evidently I’ve lived a sheltered life.

About sandyjager

When my husband was transferred by the Canadian Forces to Budapest, Hungary, in the summer of 2011, life as I knew it changed. None of my previous experiences prepared me for how different life was going to be. Fortunately, my inability to tolerate boredom means that I have lots of things to keep me busy - knitting, spinning, sewing, cooking, fitness and art. I will be sharing my latest exploits here, so stay tuned!

4 responses »

  1. I’m going to have to send my cousin – who worked for Fulbright and has seen the world in ways that shattered illusions – to read this. I lack your spirit of adventure. I don’t suppose dry ice and I could ship you cottage cheese?

  2. Oh that’s so funny. I do remember culture shock when moving overseas. Sorry you are missing so much. But at least they do have some fresh veggies. Do you have access to a commissary? g

    • No Ms. G, no commissary (not for one Canadian soldier and wife), unless I can finagle my way in via one of my American military acquaintances. Hmm. Good idea. I have a yen for peanut butter which, if you can find it, costs in the vicinity of $8-9 for a small jar. Wonder what I can trade?


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