Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grocery Shopping - US Style

* Note: sorry the pictures look weird. I don't understand. Oh well! 

So one of the first times I realized my reverse-culture shock was about four years ago on a grocery shopping trip with my mom. I remember it vividly. 

It was summertime. We were going to pick up a few things at a lovely grocery store. Once we conquered the produce section, mom gave me a task. Go to the deli counter and pick up some ham or turkey for sandwiches. Sounds simple enough, right? WRONG! 

I walked over to the counter, already pre-rehearsing my "Script" for ordering lunch meat, just like I would do in Panama. I arrived at the meat counter that stretched for miles. Picking out turkey or ham was not as simple as it sounded. There were 97,000 different kinds of meats to choose from, never mind the number of cheeses. I remember walking along the never-ending glass displays and reading all of the little signs. Honey, maple, glazed, smoked, stuffed, roasted, honey-roasted - how many choices could their be? And that was just the turkey! Mom eventually found me and I still had not chosen any meat. She had to bail me out. 

I've learned to shut myself off so often when grocery shopping in the states because the variety of choices is overwhelming. Stick to the list, get what I need, look at some options for fun, and don't focus on the 47 varieties of mustards (or insert any type of item). 

On my most recent trip to the states (ie: baby trip!), my sister and I went grocery shopping. It was lots of fun to go with her. We used LOADS of coupons and I think I annoyed her by the incessant, "I can't believe how cheap this is!"

One of the things I love most (food wise) berries! They are crazy expensive in Panama! While $2.99 isn't cheap in the states, it is WAY less than a small container of strawberries here! 
Look at their beautiful red delicious-ness! 

Love the wide aisles! Couldn't believe no one was shopping! 
Apparently the day we went, there was a run on the cabbage! I guess 25 cents per pound is a good deal and nothing says late December like cabbage. 
Has anyone ever seen this before? I had not! No, I did not purchase it, just took a picture. It's what I do. :) 
I really like bacon. It probably has something to do with the fact that the first few years of my life were spent on a pig farm. It's in the blood. Bacon in Panama is VERY expensive.
Sister and I loving our coupons and lists (by the way, just got a fabulous grocery list app called ShopShop - I really like it!) 
Totally needed these for a project we had done in class a few weeks prior. They were no where to be found in Panama (one dad imported them from the states and another parent homemade them for the project). These remind me of soup family dinners at a kid in January. 
This entire aisle was cereal (you can't even see the whole thing). A box of Chex (one of my favorites) was on sale for $1.99 - I nearly fainted. I just paid $4.55 tonight for the same box. 
(It's ok, remember that pineapple is delicious and cheap here in Panama. pep talk to self) 
This same container is $9 something here at Pricesmart. Again, near spastic reaction. I thought Hannah was going to leave me behind - well, she did end up shopping on her own for a while. 

Same price - here or there. Whew! 
Yes, I import yeast. It is SO cheap in the states. Hannah had coupons that were doubled, so the yeast ended up being 40 cents for the 3 packets. YES! 
This was taken for all of my darling gluten-free friends here in Panama. It is the item I always look for at Riba Smith, just in case the original is in stock. 
Our goods! So fun! 
This is for grandma and Allison! These are the types of noodles Grandma insists be used for swedish meatballs Main-style and they are stellar! Egg noodles are DIFFICULT to find here and the frozen ones do not exist. 

So while I do enjoy grocery shopping in the states, the fun adventure of grocery shopping tonight with four friends is also fun! There are so many things here that are in season and affordable that wouldn't be in the states. 

I should do a grocery shopping experience here sometime. Hmmm... maybe the next time major shopping is on the agenda. 

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