It’s fair to say that Joshua doesn’t love going grocery shopping with me. He’s a man who has a list, he saunters into the front door, drifts towards the produce, lingers a few minutes in front of the wine aisle, contemplates the GT’s Kombucha selection (in the beer aisle, not the juice aisle, duh), chooses one of the rotisserie chickens, and walks out with just the items on his shopping list – a photo of the little dry-erase board that perches on our dubiously reliable refrigerator’s door.

I am a woman who really loves to appreciate the hard work of the produce department team, admiring how the organic apples are stacked just so and how the freshly cut onion slices and butternut squash cubes look so moist compared to my zipper bags of prepped vegetables at home. Hmmm should I get the Chilean sweet corn, which are plump and bright, or the locally grown corn, which is distinctly shorter and skinnier? I yank at a few tufts of the local corn, confirm that it’s the young and super-sweet variety and decide to pick up 6 ears – 4 for me and 2 for Josh. Ahem.

I choose the short, double-stacked grocery carts, good for maneuvering through the tightly packed aisles teeming with more selection of mustards and loaf breads than you would think possible. I start stacking my produce in the cart and then slowly drift towards the adjacent shelves and aisles. I marvel at the variety, click my tongue critically at food products – especially that of competitors’ – as I peruse the aisles in which my company’s products can be found.

Eventually, I remember that I forgot to take a picture of the shopping list on the dry-erase board, and I start to wonder what I had scribbled on the list during the past week. Hmm… Califa Farms BetterHalf Creamer (original flavor), GT’s Kombucha (the right one), Arugula, tomatoes… hmmm. Oh look, the protein powder is on sale. 

Josh usually gives up on me and lingers in some aisle of magazines or wine. Sometimes he’ll text to see if I’m ready to go yet. 

I love grocery stores. When I have time, I want to wander all the aisles and look at all the products. I especially love the frozen food and snack aisles (probably related to my work, both current and past). The creativity, innovation, and bravery that go into making new food products is signfiicant, and I like to experience it.

Of most interest to me is the selection of the flavor profiles, especially of food products that have been around for a long time.

I was chatting with a buddy in Germany earlier today, and we were talking about how different chip/crisp flavors are popular. In the U.K., we saw flavors like Rotisserie Chicken and Prawn Cocktail. In Thailand, I found kaffir lime with chilies and Tom Yum (the soup). Hong Kong sported nori seaweed flavors. In the US, we have cheddar cheese, sour cream & onion, and ranch as top flavors. BBQ is also huge.

If you were to take a look at my phone’s photos, you’d find a mix of snapshots of food from restaurants (they’re usually too dimly lit to actually post), packaged foods, and experiments in mid-process. I love to remember what I’ve seen and ate.