El Mercado - lemon & lime Blog at Allrecipes.com - 278691

lemon & lime

El Mercado 
 
Jul. 2, 2012 9:56 pm 
Updated: Jul. 10, 2012 10:30 am
Buying groceries in Mexico used to be very different than in the US. I grew up in the suburbs where my mom would go to both the nearest grocery store and Costco once a week to stock up on everything that our family could possibly need. Sure we always had a great cereal selection, but the fruit, veggies, meat, fish, dairy, and bread were always insipid and unnatural. Now that we live in a city, it has become much easier to go to farmers markets for fresh cheese and fruits, a local produce stand for more fruits and veggies, and a bakery around the corner for fresh bread. It has definitely cut down the amount of times that my mom goes to the supermarket, which she reserves for meat, fish, and pantry items. This switch to more local methods of buying food products is the complete opposite of what is happening in Mexico. Costco has become ubiquitous, as have dozens of supermarket chains, which definitely provide the convenience of one-stop-shopping, but which at the same time have made the process of buying food products way less personal. 

Today I went to a real market with my grandmother, where over the past 15 years she has cultivated deep relationships with the vendors, something that cannot be replicated in any supermarket. They would chat with her while preparing her produce, chicken, cheese, eggs, fish, and tortillas, and besides chatting about the results of yesterday's presidential elections, would recommend certain items and give her recipe ideas. They also handed out samples of everything from mango, cherries, and white nectarines, to tostadas dipped in fresh cream. My grandmother mentioned to me that the vendors are no longer able to compete with supermarket prices, and that in fact she probably pays about the same as she would in the supermarket, but for a retired woman like herself who has the time to spare, she enjoys shopping at the market much more. The existence of many markets is now in peril though, because most people don't have enough spare time, especially during the day when these types of markets operate, or the ability to plan a week's menu at a time, which is necessary since they move around the city and are only in the neighborhood one day a week. It makes me really sad that in the US we are becoming more conscious of who grows our food and where, while in Mexico due to the economic situation, those concerns are taking a back burner to the low prices and convenience of supermarkets.  
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Comments
Jul. 3, 2012 2:14 pm
I am recently retired and now that I have less money and more time I am making a conscious effort to eat and shop for fresher food at a better value. This involves going to up to 5 different stores and produce stands during the week,but I have come to enjoy it. It is now like a hobby. I am saving lots of money on sales and specials and I am eating fresher than ever. In some cases, I splurge at the organic whole foods store but make up the savings at the dollar store on paper towels. What used to be a chore is now an event, and it is almost a game now with myself how much I can save.
 
 
 
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alinae

Member Since
May 2012

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy

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Boating, Photography, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
Hi Everyone! My name is Alina and I am a college student from Philadelphia, PA. I started baking in high school and for the past two years have been cooking quick and easy meals in my dorm as well. I love following tons of cooking websites, blogs, and photo-journals online for inspiration, in addition to my mom's old cookbooks and her tried and true recipes.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite thing to make are roasted veggies. I like how easy they are to make, and how they can be added to almost anything or even eaten by themselves!
My favorite family cooking traditions
When I was younger I would always help my mom make fresh tortillas before dinner. I remember sitting on the counter next to the tortilla press, and rolling little spheres of dough between my palms. I felt so strong and grown up once I could actually hold down the press with enough force to make a proper tortilla.
My cooking triumphs
A few months ago I prepared a molten chocolate cake under the tutelage of a world-renowned chef. I was terrified of messing up, so I asked him a million questions and double-checked everything. However it turned out delicious, and he was so happy with the results that he gave me his secret recipe as a present afterwards!
My cooking tragedies
It took me a very long time to figure out how to scramble and fry eggs. Before that all of my attempts yielded either very under- or over-cooked eggs that were pretty gross.
 
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