Sunday, June 7, 2009

Super Market Madness

Cachando Chile (see my favorite blog list to the left) has reminded me of one of my favorite indulgences when traveling to a big city or town in Chile. SUPERMARKETS! Jumbo, in particular, but any one will do. I go in with my wallet full and my eyes popping out of my head. Oh god, I'm almost salivating as I type. The long isles with more than one kind of everything! Freezer cases with food in packaging (instead of giant bags of lamb and chicken jumbled together with unidentifiable meat scraps clinging to chunks of bone). And you can cruise the isles freely! No stumbling over words to ask for what you want. The joy! THE JOY!

I went crazy. Ape-shit. Bonkers. I could wall-paper my bathroom with my Jumbo and Santa Isabel receipts. After what I spent these past several weeks at super markets, that's probably all I can afford to paper my bathroom with.

I bought spices! You see, in Futalandia oregano and salt are sufficient for stocking your pantry. There, if you don't like oregano, you don't need any spices. It is the only spice. Ok, basil can be found, but that's a little snooty. Oregano will do just fine. I bought two of everything in the spice isle. I don't even know what the hell some of it was so I thought, why not buy two. I bought salsas in bottles, I thought I might pass out when I spied horseradish sauce! I bought two jars and one is already gone (necessitating one final trip back to Jumbo).

I bought a monster bag of whole black peppercorns and another one of white. I bought sesame seeds, and cashews and rolled oats and unrefined sugar and quinoa. I loaded up on plain yogurt to eat while we were here. And fresh fish, and bottle after bottle of more salsas. Balsamic Vinegar! Holy shit! I'm racing down the isles throwing stuff in the cart like a crazy woman. I fondle the little tins of anchovies, lovingly. I bought and consumed buckets of fresh mussels which I sauteed with white wine and dusted with a nice spice mix that came in a bottle with it's own grinder built in!

I bought beer for $1,800 pesos a six-pack, which would cost me $2,700 in Futa. So I can drink almost twice as much, right? I loaded up on peanut butter which would cost more than a late-model vehicle in Futa. I bought cigarettes and writing paper, and more spices. I, then of course, had to buy snap-tight containers for everything. Then bigger plastic containers to put the little containers in, and by the time I was done (if I really am done...I have to check my wallet) I had to buy two 30-kilos cardboard shipping boxes to put everything into. Shameful. Oh! Oh! I bought two wooden serving trays and four condiment dishes to go with....(gotta have those)...and pretty dish towels and four clever cereal bowls (one broke already) and oh god, I think I've overdosed.

Fresh meats in Futa are either frozen blocks of freezer-burned meat, or in just 10 minutes ago it was bleating, or mooing or cackling outside the kitchen window. I might be exaggerating just a little, but not much. Tea in Futa comes in either a yellow box, or a red box, or is plucked out of a neighbors yard and hung to dry by the stove. Here, at My Jumbo, I bought green tea, and peach tea, and a variety box of tea. I bought bags of real coffee, whole bean. But just now I realize I have no way to grind it. And I am ashamed to admit that I bought gobs of Ramon Noodles. But at 230 pesos a package, you just can't pass that shit by.

And oh lordy, I bought blue cheese. Lots. It's all gone now. And my husband hates blue cheese, so that outta tell ya something about my self-control. Soon, I will be back in the land of simplicity. A place that suits my lack of self-control. No choices, no excesses. Ok, well, less excesses. Back to the land of serious planning and thoughtful shopping. As opposed to this hideous binge of Super Market Shopping. But...

Damn! It's been fun! (She says lugging 120-pounds of "stuff" onto the ship that will carry her back to Futalandia) Somehow, this is all Cachando's fault, because with addictions, someone is ALWAYS to blame.


Margaret said...

OK- My fault! Of course I'll take the blame- I understand COMPLETELY what a well-stocked Jumbo can do to the spice deprived! I guess that makes me a total enabler!
The other thing is that you'll probably have to eat all that stuff yourselves (what a shame) because your neighbors probably won't appreciate it.
We stayed with relatives of a friend in Coyhaique a while back and she was bewildered by las cosas raras "the weird stuff" that we were eating (it was BROCCOLI!)

Harry & Lisa said...

This is so funny! You must do stand-up! Well Vic I certainly hope you purchased a swiffer sweeper? I recall at one time your Mom instructed you to purchase one ... come on now, admit it!

Ms. J. said...

Yes, I did encourage her to pu rchase a Swifer Sweeper. With wood floors, or tile, they are wonderful. Maybe she should recieve one for Christmas.