Browsing Tag

Grocery Shopping

Love Ireland, Missing Home

Paper or Plastic???

June 24, 2013

Have I mentioned how homesick grocery shopping in Ireland can make me?

Trust me there have been many tears shed while standing in the grocery store being unable to find that one ingredient for mom’s christmas cookies she makes every year.

I also must admit I cried at the site of Frank’s hot wing sauce when Dunnes began carrying it.

I also ran to Aldi when it opened last Thursday because they had Libby’s canned pumpkin…..

It will forever be one of those daily mundane tasks that can have me missing home on a moments notice…but I am adapting.

Due to a government levy on plastic bags, I have become accustomed to bringing my own bags rather than being offered that comforting option “paper or plastic” and answering “both.”

Sure on more than one occasion I have found myself stuffing groceries into pockets and handbags while balancing the remainder precariously in my arms simply because I had forgotten my bags and was certainly not going to be buying more at 70cent per bag when I have a press overflowing with them at home.

BUT, I have also relished the moments of triumph when I have remembered my bags.

And while I have experienced the annoyance of having to get the correct change simply to unlock a shopping trolley from the trolley bay, not once has my car been struck by a rogue shopping cart left sailing in the wind by some negligent shopper.

For at least the first year i lived here I broke out in a sweat trying to bag my own groceries in a speedy manner rather than suffer annoyed glances from other shoppers more adept at bag packing.

But I have learned the efficiency of loading the conveyor belt in such a manner that permits speedy bag packing such that all the fridge/freezer food is bagged together making unpacking at home also more efficient.

After 9 years it seems I have grown accustomed to my new way of life. The last time I was home visiting my favorite grocery store, I was shocked to find myself almost irritated while shopping. I mean really is there a need for paper AND plastic bags???

I was tempted to point out to the cashier (and therefore bag packer) that I was (believe it or not) a relatively fit person who could in fact carry bags containing more than 4 items in them.

And why the hell can’t people in NY put their shopping carts back where they belong?!?!

Does anyone else find there is something that can make them both long for home yet they have also grown to appreciate as a new way of life abroad??

Missing Home

Wegmans- paying homage to a hometown treasure

April 29, 2013
English: The front facade of the new Wegman's ...

English: The front facade of the new Wegman’s store located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grocery shopping in Ireland continues to be somewhat of a challenge and therefore a frequent topic of discussion for me.  I realize now that growing up in American I was spoiled for choice…  I still get so frustrated sometimes that I can no longer peruse an entire aisle of salad dressings but I’ve also learned to make do and be happy with far fewer options to choose from in Ireland (and more importantly have allocated suitcase space for packets and bottles of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing with each trip home).

But beyond being an American, I am a NEW YORKER….from upstate.

Which means I grew up with the privilege and the luxury of Wegmans.  To this day the thought or mere mention of Wegmans fills me with longing and an intense need to go home and well…go grocery shopping.

I was a card-carrying member of the Cookie Club in the 80’s.  I LOVED grocery shopping with mom because it meant a free Wegmans original chocolate chip cookie and a hole bunch on my Cookie Monster club card.  Does anyone else remember the cookie club?

I’m not gonna lie, my family talks of Danny Wegman like he’s an old family friend.

It was cool in high school to work at Wegmans.  They had the best college scholarship programmes. I could actually see the disappointment on my parents face when my first part-time job was NOT at Wegmans.

When I went to college in Pennsylvania I first learned that not all grocery stores were created equal. Those PA grocery stores had nothing on Wegmans.  Thankfully, a few years later Wegmans opened up an hour away and I took it upon myself to convert my college friends to the faith and we travelled regularly to Wegmans.

In grad school I remember waiting patiently for the grand opening of Wegmans in Sterling, VA and I fought the traffic with what seemed to be thousands of blow-in “yanks” that first opening week.

And finally I dragged my Irish husband to experience the wonder that is Wegmans.  And he got it.

Throughout my life I’ve gone home to Wegmans. In fact, no trip home is complete without several trips to Wegmans.   I keep trying to explain it to those who haven’t been, you just have to go to understand.

To be honest most of my out-of-the-blue, tears-in-the-eyes, lump in my throat moments of homesickness strike me while standing in a grocery store in Ireland. Only a New Yorker who is far from home where Wegmans has yet to expand could possibly understand this.

Wegmans is more that a grocery store for New Yorkers far from home.  It’s the comfort and familiarity of home and I miss it. More than could possibly be sane to anyone who doesn’t get it.