Back when Jen and I were visiting my cousin Della in Berlin, we stayed at a sweet little studio apartment. It was awesome. Just across the street there was a small grocery with everything we needed.
In our rural West Virginia locale, we needed to pile into the car. Luckily everyone had iPhones with internet access and GPS hookups. We (and by “we” I mean Jeff and Jenny) were able to find a big box type food emporium relatively nearby.
Dunno if y’all experience this — maybe it’s just me. I went into a bit of culture shock in the Shop and Save. I was expecting a grocery, more or less, like the Stop and Shop here in Quincy. Nothing fancy but I can get most everything I need.
|some poor crab's on crutches now!|
At the Shop and Save there wasn’t a soy product to be found. No soy cheese, milk or even edamanes! And god help you if you’re looking for organics, tofu or kale chips. Don’t dare imagine, for even one slim sec, that you’ll find seitan either. Oh my no, you can forget about that.
Apart from that, the lighting was, well, just odd. I don’t imagine the store was gritty dirty as though the shelves hadn’t been dusted and floors not mopped in weeks but that’s how it appeared. It must have been the dull, watery lighting. Must have. Right?
There was a bakery section. Normally, not being a gourmet, I just drool and freak over sugary store-made offerings. This time? Not so much. This cake caught my eye right off. The frosting doodles gracing the edges looked like brightly colored slugs. Cheery and appealing if you’re into neon hued, slimy gastropods, I guess.
Then we got to the fish section. Now, I still eat fish but that’s def coming to an end, especially after this excursion. Not only were there racks of sad shrinkwrapped, whole fish staring at me with their sightless eyes (yes, I wanted to open all the packages and set them free or, at least, check for a pulse) there were rows of truncated crab legs — some, it seemed, as long as my own.
I felt distinctly ill.
As my Italian pal Cindy always says, if I lived in Italy I’d be a complete vegan. Yes, I can’t eat a poor beast if I’ve seen it whole (or in obvious animalian pieces) before being cooked. Tinned tuna — yes, this I can still do. Maybe.
In the deli section, here at home, I can find veggie sushi. At the Cheat Lake Shop and Save I found purple eggs. ‘the hell? Is it Easter? Nope. Are purple eggs a delicacy in these parts?
Unsurprisingly, I found a vast selection of Bob Evans pre-packaged, sodium rich, heart attack breakfast "food". They also carry industrial sized containers of Cheese Balls. And, for your daily ration of fruit, there’s Apple or Strawberry Ale.
I found, on Yelp, this review of the joint:
I will never enter this store again. The place is nasty, the people are rude, and I have picked up numerous items which have expired long ago. My biggest complaint is that the people must have been interviewed and hired based upon their complete lack of people skills and native intelligence. Is there a rating less than one star?I can’t speak to the rudeness business — I didn’t interact with anyone but the check out clerk, who seemed fine and dandy. Still and all, if I ever find myself in Cheat Lake West Virginia again, I’ll bring in my own food or drive the hour and a half up to Trader Joe’s in Pittsburgh.
Having said all this — there was great, fab-ola meals at Vaca Central. Every last Jones is a tremendous, thoughtful cook!