I’m sorry this took me a few days to get to. Yesterday was pretty cold and I didn’t feel like doing too much. I have to go to Starbucks to hop on the internet, and I wanted to check into a couple of other things to add to this before posting it. I can't get the pictures to upload for some reason right now, so I will try later to add some pictures.
One of my favorite things to do when I go to a new place is go to the grocery store. It is fascinating to me the different things you can find, and I think it says a lot about the day to day culture of wherever you are. So, of course this was no exception. The markets here are small, partly I think because it is a bigger city, so this may not be the best overall representation of Scotland as a whole. I decided yesterday to get some things at the store instead of buying lunch every day so I wandered the market for a bit.
The first thing that struck me is that they don’t have grocery carts, they use baskets. These are similar to the hand baskets in the states, but they are taller and have handles, so they can be dragged behind you, like a suitcase. The second and best thing I found is they have bacon potato chips! Yes, bacon flavored chips. How have we in the US gone this long without bacon chips when we have bacon vodka? I don’t know, but we should do something to change that. I am sure Congress will want to know about this revelation, so contact your local representative so we can do something about this. They also have Prawn Cocktail, Roast Chicken, Worcester Sauce, Tomato and Pickled Onion. In the vending machine downstairs they have a beef flavored one. I have noticed they flavor everything with meat. But, they don’t have barbeque flavored chips. Hm?
So, I did do a taste test with the bacon, the prawn, the chicken and the Worcester flavored chips so I could share that with you. Obviously, the bacon was good. I mean, can you really screw up bacon flavored anything? Most people I know would eat bacon flavored poop if they could. It almost tasted like BBQ, with the smoky flavor. It wasn’t a heavy flavor and I would imagine in the US we would want it stronger. The prawn flavor was actually really good. I didn’t expect to like it but it was sweet and had a flavor that reminded me of BBQ also. Maybe they don’t have BBQ flavor because of these others taste kind of like it. The chicken was ok; it tasted like chicken, kind of weird for chips. The Worcester was really tangy and I liked that one. Overall, the chips are less salty, which I personally liked. I would imagine that like everything else, we Americans would insist on changing that and adding more salt; if that is what’s necessary to facilitate getting bacon flavored potato chips, so be it.
As I wandered the small aisles, the first thing I noticed is that mince meat is in fact, ground beef. I didn’t know that. I assumed it was some type of magical meat that had special powers or something, but no. It’s just hamburger. They don’t have things like ground turkey but they do have all different types of sausages and wiener type meats as well as chicken. They actually have a sausage that is not refrigerated but packaged in a foil type bag, like a potato chip bag. I’m a little nervous to try that, it seems to go against everything I know about food borne illness.
They don’t refrigerate their eggs either. They are just on the shelf, which seems strange, sitting next to the bread. They only come in packages of six or ten so I am assuming they go through them faster so chilling them may not be necessary. Or maybe they have freakish chickens that shoot out rot proof eggs. I don’t know. So, next to the eggs is the bread section, not unlike any other bread section of a store, a lot of different loaves, but they have huge bread here. In the US when you have fresh bread and pastries it is in a cupboard, or in a bag; it’s not exposed to everybody who walks by or insects. Here, they are binned and open to the elements. I’m wondering if anybody here has heard of the swine flu. I have to say though that I have not seen a single insect since I’ve been here, so there were no flies landing on them or anything. But, still all I can picture is a little kid grabbing it or knocking it onto the floor and putting it back.
You can find a nice can of Haggis next to the Spam and the flavored ketchup. They must eat a lot of beans, because there are several types of what I would compare to baked beans. They even have “bean pots” for lunches. Jell-O is called jelly, jelly is jam. They don’t have much in peanut butter, just a couple different types and all in small glass jars.
I wandered to the baking aisle, such as it was. Their chocolate chips were in a tiny little bag, if it were in America, we would probably put it in our lunch. It said that it was good to put into yogurt and things like that, but it did say you could make cookies with it. I’m not sure how that would work; it was enough for about six cookies, if you use them sparingly. They didn’t have cake mix but they do have bagged icing, not in tubs. They have pre-packaged cookies, but they are all tea type cookies, not chocolate chip or what we would consider cookies, more like biscuits. They have a lot of tea; they drink more tea than coffee. Most of their coffee is dried, no fresh beans here, which is why I probably would never survive for long periods of time here! At Justin’s school, they have tea breaks. I thought he was saying pee breaks at first, not realizing they actually call them tea breaks. Ha! In fact, Starbucks closes early, before 7:30 PM.
On my way to Starbucks to get on the internet and post this, I stopped by another really small market, probably what we would consider a convenience store. I wandered around, finding the same type of items as in the bigger market, laughing to myself at the fact that I just about knocked the bin of donuts over with my backpack, thinking if I did, I would probably just put them back when I wandered to the magazine section. There, right smack in my face was a magazine with a woman bare breasted. Now, don’t get me wrong, the nipples were covered with small black blocks that said things like Oooh! and aahh! on them, so they weren’t all out there willy nilly. The caption on the cover explained that the girls in the magazine had “the biggest boobs you ever saw”. What was really ironic isn’t the fact that it was just out there on the rack for people of all ages to see, but the fact that the craft magazine next to it had plastic on it and this one didn’t. Apparently, it’s ok to flip through a nudie mag but don’t let them catch you trying to catch up on the latest cross stitch trends.