Thursday, November 4, 2010

Other Places

Originally uploaded by reallyct
Food issues aside, one of my favorite things to do in new places is stop by the supermarket. The world's travel writers have a million and one ways that visitors can dig on local vibe, but I have yet to see one emphatically suggest a sampling of local supermarkets - sure, they'll all tell you to hit the farmer's markets and bazaars, but I'm talking about the super pedestrian, industrial lighting, devoid of aesthetics supermarkets. I love them! I truly cannot go to a new place without stopping by a supermarket. When my parents were recently in Paris, my shopping list for them could be 95% dealt with at the Monoprix - a supermarket. Please bring sea salt and reusable shoppers.

I think you can tell a lot about a place from its supermarkets. Even in New York, the difference between shopping uptown and shopping downtown can alert the newcomer to micro-regional tastes (witness the tamarind vs. the dairy- gluten- taste-free crackers). So when we pulled off the road Sunday to grab coffee and carrots, I was thrilled to be taking in a little bit of the Pennsylvania/Maryland border culture as witnessed through the prism of the MegaMart.

And rewarded I was. For at the Halloween candy display, which we last-minute availed ourselves of for potential trick or treaters, I was overjoyed to discover Jesus Harvest Seeds.

It is important to note that the above package was ACTUALLY in the store. I did not mail away for this from some gag company. This is a product. People can buy it. At least at the Giant Supermarket somewhere in lower Pennsylvania.

And, as promised by the packaging, each snack-sized gem does, indeed, contain some scripture. I would have honestly crapped my pants had I ever received this as a child at Halloween! But apparently, not everyone in the country is as potentially bowel-incontinent as I.

I have oft been accused of having a warped view of The Rest of the Country, and some of that may be true. I enjoyed our time in the Carolinas greatly and could well see myself living there, but it cannot be argued that some cultural mores have varied levels of acceptance. And in Places Not New York, love of el Jefe, is an acceptable thing to shout from the rafters and plaster on your bumper.

I would venture to assert that ignoring these differences is just as dangerous as pretending they don't exist. But I will not lie: this sort of shit tickles me in all the right places!

1 comment:

  1. Really, I think the difference between NY and the rest of the country boils down to subways: here one can proclaim love of el Jefe to the captive audience that is the rush-hour subway. Elsewhere, candy and car tags have to fill in.