Do you recognize any of the products? Doesn't it seem odd to you that Stove Top, Lucky Charms, Crisco, Nerds, and tabasco (among others) are all in the same section?
Have you guessed why yet?
This is the "American" section of a grocery store in Italy. This is what Europeans think we eat. This is what enough ex-pats demand when overseas that this store imports these items.
Yes, I'm horrified, too. It does not, in any way, match my own food shopping experience. Heck, I don't even buy most of what's on these shelves, though I will admit that Karo syrup, canned pumpkin, and peanut butter are all staples for us.
With our very own German teenager on his way, I'm eager to find out how different our reality is from his expectations.
Last weekend we were in the Bay Area and we stumbled across a farmers market. Since we were on our way to Sonoma (for an ill-advised attempt to go wine tasting on a Saturday in August), we stopped in to get some picnic items.
I picked out an "elephant heart plum" for myself, and a nectarine for Gene. My plum was nearly the size of my fist. Both were delicious.
I resisted the berries, but only because they don't travel well and I didn't feel like scarfing an entire container in the car.
Another vendor had the prettiest "cheddar" cauliflower I'd ever seen.
We purchased some smoked salmon from another vendor, joking with him that we'd driven all the way from Seattle only to purchase something we can easily get at home. He was very nice and we talked about the trend in Washington to have "salmon candy", or smoked salmon that's treated with a sweet glaze.
The market was overflowing with gorgeous produce. Hey, it was California after all. We didn't buy much but our eyes drank in all the lovely sights of a productive and busy market. I'd take anything from that farmers market - ANY farmers market - over the "American section" of the Italian grocery store any day.
On a related note, we've been introducing Kaelen to solids for about 2 months now. We've yet to find something he won't eat, so I'm getting more adventurous in what I give him. Neither Gene nor I care for beets but as you can see in his reaction to a batch of baby borscht, Kaelen doesn't share the sentiment.