This was in our local grocery store while we were in Italy:
On our recent trip to Texas, I was in the grocery store buying a vegetable platter for a party. The man in line ahead of me bore a great resemblance to “Uncle Jesse” on the Dukes of Hazard, complete with blue jean overalls. He glanced at my vegetable plate and then turned to me and said, “I’d eat yer vegetables, but I ain’t got no teeth!”
(And sure enough, he did not have any teeth.)
Then, because apparently buying a vegetable platter means you’re a health food nut, he started in on why he doesn’t like sushi.
“I tried them sushi things once. Don’t care for ’em. I hear sushi gives ya worms.”
Thanks Uncle Jesse. You’ve just ruined both sushi and vegetables for me. This is why I’m looking forward to online grocery shopping.
Many of us foreigners who move to Sweden like to tell stories of the horrible mistakes we’ve made in the grocery store. Two of my friends made a cake with yeast because they couldn’t tell the difference between that and baking powder.
Besides making mistakes in good and bad food products, my most memorable mistake was buying what I thought was shampoo. For one month I went around with greasy hair thinking there was something wrong with the water or air around here until I found out that my bottle that said, “balsam” translated to “conditioner.”
So when you see one of us foreigners walking around Sweden with bad hair carrying around food that you would never eat yourself, please remember how it would feel if you couldn’t read anything and hand that person the green striped milk and the decent yogurt (2 of the toughest things to figure out with a lot of trial and error).
In the months of November through April, I don’t have to rush home with the ice cream.
I was at the grocery store this morning when I noticed a new display with butternut squash. After years of seeing so many American recipes using butternut squash, it was amazing to find it for the first time in Sweden. Butternut squash is such a rare thing here that there isn’t even a translation for it. I immediately grabbed some and took it up to the counter. I don’t know why I expected things to go smoothly. My first clue should have been that I found the butternut squash display in the beer and soda section. The check-out woman had no idea what it was or how much it cost. She kept asking me what it was and I kept saying, “Butternut squash! Butternut squash! That’s what your sign says. There is no translation!” She had to ask another employee walking by who also had no idea what it was. Luckily this all worked to my advantage because he said, “oh just charge her 10 kr for it (about a dollar),” and I’m pretty sure it should have been 30 kr or more.
But this made me think about how many things I can get now in Sweden that I wasn’t able to get when I moved here ten years ago.
– Dr. Pepper – Although I’m told they tried to market it earlier, it was not succesful and didn’t show up again until 2001 and it was hard to find. Now it’s in every store, though I have never seen one piece of advertising for it.
– Pumpkins – My first couple of Halloweens, I remember it being almost impossible to find a pumpkin. I think there was one place in Stockholm where you could find a few but no one else carried them. Now all of the grocery stores carry them in October.
– Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – I think that only showed up about 5 years ago in the grocery stores and a scoop shop just opened last year. We’re spoiled now.
At the moment we’re all waiting to get our first Starbucks. They plan on opening it sometime soon at the airport. Now the airport is a bit too far to travel without a car, but hopefully this will lead to other Starbucks closer to town.
Now if they could just get some beef jerkey, rotel and velveeta, I would be all set.