Sunday, February 1, 2009

Groceries and other Errands

My first Saturday after a week of work.  I felt no need to go out for tourism... Maybe I'll do some stuff Sunday.  All I wanted to do was mundane errands and some good old fashioned lazy sitting.  I had a few things to get done:  Groceries, Laundry and purchasing my Monthly Transit Pass.  Monthly transit was pretty easy, just a trip down town and a wait on line, no big deal.  Laundry was a little more fun, mainly because I have no idea how to read french or dutch.  I kinda just guessed which settings and hoped. All my clothing has remained the correct size, so I'll assume I did it right. 
I've gone to the grocery store twice now, each time was a great experience.  I've been planning to write about the grocery store for a little while so I did some reconnaissance. My first trip was the tragic, "I don't know where anything is, or how to read any of the words on things," trip.  Grocery shopping isn't usually a tourist event, so I imagine people were relatively confused to be documented in their natural grocery based habitat.  I had two incidents my first time around, the first was avoidable.  Delhaize is closed every Sunday, so Saturdays are PACKED.  A nice woman tried to walk by me while I waited on line only to knock my basket.  The only thing that popped outta the basket was my carton of Eggs... Luckily this is an event that can happen at any grocery store, so it is not a Belgian special mistake.  The second tragedy was my misunderstanding of the produce section.  Anything that you have to bag yourself... you also have to weigh and tag yourself.  I did not know this, the employee scanning me did not know how to EXPLAIN THIS to me in English.  A nice man behind me was forced to walk me to the nearest weighing machine and show me the error of my ways.  Kind of embarrassing, I've been told it happens to everyone.
My second trip (today) was much more successful.  I put up a picture of my receipt for today's trip to give an example of why I am so happy with this grocery store experience.  My entire bill for today's trip was 15.08 Euros.  That's roughly 18 dollars.  I got a single portion of Pork and Steak to make 4 dinners this week.  I got Bananas, Apples, Broccoli and Carrots (of these, I only had to weight the carrots).  Most of the produce comes in pre-packaged weighed containers.  I also got some lunch meat, some sliced Gouda and a loaf of bread.  Lastly I got eggs and some shaving cream.  
This to me, was a lot of stuff for a good price.  But I also have become extremely interested in the quality and value of the products.  The Broccoli never has a dried stalk and when you actually slice up the stalk and steam it, there is an almost buttery flavor to it.  It is wonderful to be able to cook the whole stalk because it extends the amount of use I get out of each purchase.  The Eggs... are wonderful.  I've only had eggs this fresh once or twice before.  The color of the scrambled eggs is more yellow than I have ever seen, and you can taste the difference.  I also like the fact that I can purchase a true single serving of steak or pork.  At this point I usually still cut it in half, but it is a much smaller portion than anything in the States.
A final thing I really like is the speciality aisles.  I included two examples... the Foie Gras section, which is completely absurd, and the Waffle section.  These Waffles are incredibly disappointing after street waffles.  But then again, there is a waffle SECTION.  I also like the bread and meat areas.  The bread aisle has two sides, one with packaged bread... the other with fresh bread.  They also have a bread slicer, so that you can purchase a fresh loaf of bread and slice it however thick you'd like for sandwiches for the week.  The meat area has more variety than I am used to, mainly because I've never seen quail in a grocery before.  I will save the pastry portion of this thought line for another post.  I may also study those pastries again before posting, so I know exactly what to write.

As for those of you that think I may be going overboard with pastries and waffles.  I'm pretty sure they have 0 calories.  That's what I've been told, and Belgians don't lie.  Also I walk up and down 5 flights of stairs every day (sometimes more than twice when I've convinced myself that I forgot to lock my door... even though I did).  I also have a half hour walk to and from work and about 4 flights of stairs to the subway.  Maybe I'll update with my new daily exercises stuff soon, once it is a full routine.  For now, trust that I'll be OK.


  1. yummy! making me hungry over here. sounds like you are having a great experience and it is wonderful that you are able to document it all! I read your blog all the time so keep the posts coming! I will try to think of questions :) ...

  2. i feel your embarrassment, wegmans requires the same leg work for customers and i did the same thing my first time..

    i would say jump back into the 100 pushups.. if you do it.. then i will too.. deal?