Viva le difference'
Mar. 3, 2011 10:13 am
Updated: Mar. 7, 2011 7:49 am
I probably spelled the title wrong or perhaps it's just a matter of staggeringly bad punctuation but I'm about as French as a Taco, so there ya go. I live in a really small town, a resort community that basically folds up into itself and hibernates every
winter. One of the many downsides is that we get the majority of our groceries out of a single supermarket. Now I'm pretty good friends with the guy who owns the supermarket and he does a really good job of making sure that we've a good standard variety of
fresh fruit and vegetables. That said, he does run up against the limitations of a very small market so it's not often that we seen new or unusual fruits and vegetables. It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered they actually,( the ubiquitous they!)
sold stuff like lemongrass in a large supermarket 60 minutes south of us. I know that's not likely new for most of you but for me, sheesh, too long in the small town.
At any rate, as I've grown as a cook, it's become something of a rare but much looked forward to thing to visit grocery stores when I'm in places I don't often get to. Whilst in Puerto Vallarta, our party, absent any idea of how to spend the meager hours available
to us, somewhat quizically followed me to the non touristy side of town to visit a supermarket. It was an eye opener. The aisles of dry goods were very similar to what we have, Campells, Chef Boyardee, Kellogs blah blah, you know the drill. The meat and dairy
were odd. A very small section where the meat was uncovered, warm, fly blown. The eggs were in a bowl, warm. Then the fruit section, a double row of amazing fruits, fresh and seductive. Then a triple row of nothing but peppers. I was gobsmacked, I had no idea
that so many types of peppers even existed. That trip was 20 years ago. It was on this visit that I discovered the joy of discovery in a grocery store and since then if I have the time when I'm afield, I'll spend hours in a supermarket trolling for new flavours,
spices, vegetables etc..
Which leads me to my most recent discovery. Now this wasn't in some exotic locale 3000 miles away, it was in the town 25 miles west of us, about 10 times larger and they boast three large supermarkets. At the Save On, I came across something I'd never seen
before. It's a root vegetable from mexico called Jicama. Its sweet, crunchy like a radish, large as a potatoe, tastes somewhat of fresh peas and summer. So far I've used it in stir fries and salad. I even set out some thinly sliced chips in a mixture of lemon
and honey that was well recieved after some initial slitty eyed suspicion.
Thusly I'm a foody browser. Am I alone in this proclivity? I suspect not, let's hear your tales of savory Witloof and sweet Kohlrabi.