If you ever want to spark an easy conversation with an expat (or-re-expat, for that matter), bring up the subject of grocery stores in their native country versus their expat country and you are guaranteed a lively discussion.
Our connection to food is a strong part of our subconscious cultural identity, and how we get our food is an integral part of the dialogue. Nevermind discussions on organic, free-range, locally sourced foods. I’m just talking about the actual shopping experience.
I loved and hated our London grocery experience. It was great to pop into the store on Kings Road and grab a few bags I could comfortably carry home after work. Items were generally packaged in volumes perfect for two adults, and access to organic foods was the norm. But on some days, I cursed the narrow aisles, limited choices and panicky self-bagging checkout experience. It wasn’t always easy to find everything I needed for a recipe, and the store stock always fluctuated. We did a monthly shop online, but I only ordered non-perishables from them since I always want to make my own produce and meat selections.
Now that we are back, I’m shopping once or twice a week between Kroger and an occasional Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s run. I am still getting used to a full-sized fridge (Did I mention that my full size UK fridge was this big? – 6′ x 2′). Since I’m working at home I need to keep plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner options at the ready. I’m trying to hold on to my healthy habits from London to buy only what we will use during the week, but it’s hard not to get distracted in the store.
Here’s a peek into my fridge this morning:
It is clearly lacking some protein (chicken is in the freezer and salmon is in the drawer), but otherwise, this is a pretty accurate look at our daily fridge stock. Maybe next I’ll let you take a look into our cabinets, but only if I get rid of the I-want-every-cookie-on-the-aisle evidence!