Adventures at the grocery store

Sometimes you just have to take your adventures where you can find them. I do love the little grocery store where I shop. It's in the next town over which is one of the most diverse cities in Illinois; a town where more than 100 languages are spoken at home. As a result, the grocery store where I shop caters to a very diverse audience... I can find fruits, vegetables, and groceries there that I just can't find in a more traditional American grocery store. I feel a little spoiled and a friend and I have entire conversations about what we would stock up on if we ever moved away to a less diverse area. It's so diverse that if you covered up the English signs and just set someone down in the middle of the store, I imagine they would be hard-pressed to figure out what country they were in. Bhangra music often plays on the music system (which is actually quite fun to shop to) and it is possible to hear multiple languages as you walk up and down the aisles.

I mentioned that I can find unusual ingredients, and this morning I took advantage of that fact. We have been learning about the human body for school and M. has volunteered to do some dissection with everyone. This next week we're going to learning about the circulatory system, so I picked up some sheep hearts for everyone to dissect and examine. Now, buying animal hearts at the grocery store isn't all that unique, but I also bought something else. We had already learned about the brain and the eye, and today I hit the jackpot when I discovered that not only were pig's heads in the meat case, but sheep's heads were as well. The ear on the pig is always covering the eye sockets, so I can never tell if there is an actual eyeball in there. The sheep didn't have this problem, so everyone (with M.'s help) will be able to see the eye, tongue, brain, and teeth and how they all fit together. I will say it's a little disturbing to have your groceries staring up at you, so I covered it with some chicken I was also buying. Evidently, it is not one of my usual purchases, because when I checked-out, my usual checker holds it up and asks, "Why?" I told her and we agreed that putting it in its own plastic bag was the way to go.

Now, buying bizarre and disturbing meat purchases was not my only fun this morning. As TM and I were waiting at the deli counter, an older woman comes up to me and starts talking. It took a moment to realize she thought I was Croatian. (Do I look particularly Croatian, I wonder? How would I know?) I was able to figure out that she had a question about cabbage. I thought she meant pickled cabbage, so I offered to take her to where it was, so I headed off to the Eastern European aisle, leaving TM in charge of waiting for our cheese. When we reached the right area, she vehemently said this was not what she was looking for. (At least I'm assuming that is what she was telling me.) She then takes me over to the fresh cabbages, as we are walking she introduces herself and thanks me for the help. (Some help.) We reach the cabbage, but she doesn't want these cabbage, she wants something else... something bigger maybe? I was just about to dig out my rusty French to see if we could find a common language when her husband (I'm assuming) comes up and says something. She says thank you and off they go. I'll never, ever know what it was she wanted. My only clue was that as I was in the check-out line I saw one of the store employees helping them at a refrigerator case.

Ah, I think I may have just figured it out. As I was typing this I was trying to think what could be cabbage-like in that particular place. I have it. Sauerkraut! That is where I buy fresh sauerkraut when I need it and it is the ONLY thing in that case made of cabbage. I like to solve a mystery. It shows where my brain is these days that when she was asking me to help her find something with cabbage, all I could think of was kimchi. I knew that wasn't right, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what else would contain cabbage.

I bet you wish you could have so much fun. I'm now going to top off my terribly exciting day with a trip to the doctor. I know that surprises you. This time, though it's for me and I will get to cross off yet one more thing on my homestudy/dossier to-do list. Now, that is really exciting.


Rusulica said…
I am Croatian and I would say while you surely could pass as a Croatian, there isn't anything special about the way we look.. :) They say we have beautiful women, though!
As for the cabbage, my Croatian friend used to live in Utrecht, Nederlands, and she had to undertake serious road trips to different towns and even neighboring countries to find uncut pickled cabbage to make "Sarma" (ground meat plus rice rolled in pickled cabbage leafs), as Dutch used to cut it pre-pickling and they never understood the fuss about non-cut pickled cabbage, although they are such a multi-kulti country and certainly have quite a few of people there who would like to make a sarma. :)
thecurryseven said…
Sana -

That is so interesting... thanks for sharing. I'm afraid the nice lady was bound to be disappointed as I've never seen uncut pickled cabbage anywhere. I didn't even know there was such a thing, actually. The dish actually sounds really good.

My ten year old said to me recently, "Don't you think its ironic that at this store you can buy a cactus to eat, but not cilantro".

Renee, cohost of the #shinebloghop

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