Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Today, as we prepare for one of the most "gluttonous" holidays of the United States, I feel thankful for food. I have never known hunger, but I did know long lines for basic staples during my childhood due to wonders of Soviet economy. Our city at least was lucky, and we never had rationing, but I distinctly remember bringing food (yes, food) while visiting our relatives in the places where food supplies were limited and strict rationing was in place.
When I came to the United States as a refugee, we were getting assistance in the form of food stamps. Food abundance in the stores seemed amazing to our eyes, but we did have to consider what we are buying, because, unlike what you might read in the conservative press, food assistance is not enough to get "real food". I distinctly remember being happy finding sales for chicken legs or pork shoulder and learning to cook with new ingredients. Luckily, I was able to find a job after a few months in the country, and our food choices were much improved.
Now I take good food almost for granted, however, when I come to our local grocery store, I am often flashing back to my childhood when fresh produce was available only when it was in season and when my father was bringing bananas as a special treat from his business trips to Moscow. The life is different now even back home, and fresh produce is available year round... if you have money to afford it.
I am grateful that we still have small, privately owned grocery shops in our neighborhood and we have larger supermarkets as well. Our favorite International Food store is owned by a Lebanese family and carries a lot of international delicacies as well as basic staples. I love seeing people of different origins shopping in this store conversing in all kinds of languages. This store is also well known for fresh, locally grown produce that is usually of a better quality than supermarket fare. They also have excellent beef and chicken, but no fish or pork - this is when a larger supermarket comes in handy. I enjoy making new recipes and choosing good healthy food for us to eat. For this abundance of choices I am grateful.

Your Turn

Where do you buy your food?

2 comments:

MaryAnne K. said...

The Bay Area is certainly full of amazing places to buy food!

CRC said...

We do most of our shopping at Trader Joe's, Winco and Grocery Outlet. There are times when our grocery budget is a bit tighter and times when we splurge on special ingredients and trying new things. We're so grateful to have a plethora of options for shopping and thankful we can get by even when times are tough.