Supermarket versus Farmers’ Market : Part 1
A friend and I were in the supermarket to find ingredients for dinner. At the checkout a young male checkout operator held up a vegetable and asked “whats this?” And I noticed the checkout operator next to him give a little smirk, clearly amused by his question. I had hesitated in answering as I thought he must have been joking, then quickly realised he hadn’t been. By the time I got over my shock my friend had answered “a courgette”. I was tempted to chip in that “it’s also known as a zucchini” just to be helpful and throw that into the conversation, but didn’t want to confuse the boy, so I held my tongue. I certainly wasn’t going to add a history lesson that the courgette (originally) came from the Americas and the name ‘courgette’ is French and the word ‘zucchini’ from Italian. A young adult at the checkout not knowing what a courgette was is not amusing, or cute, it was just plain puzzling.
But, there have been countless times in the supermarket when we have been asked what a pumpkin seed or sesame seed or pine nut was.
I overheard an exchange in the same supermarket between a very young child and an adult. The child picked up a broccoli and refered to it as a “green cauliflower”. When informed by an adult, that the vegetable was actually a broccoli, the child immediately came out with “I don’t like broccoli”. I smiled at what actually does constitute a cute and amusing little exchange over vegetable names (and an obvious dislike of broccoli, which most people can relate to).
Having noted the courgette situation above, I have been in my own courgette situation. At a well-known takeaway franchise, I was giving a long-winded explanation of how I wanted to order a burger and fries as a deal of some-sort (because it would work out cheaper that way). There was no signage up to help with what they called their meal-deals and I don’t go there very often. “Oh, you mean a combo”, said the girl behind the till, after my drawn out explanation of what I was afer. Yes, after having heard the word for what the franchise calls their deals, I now remember, it did sound vaguely familiar. I said yes, and hoped what I was trying to order was in the bag. The attendant probably wondered who the ninny was that didn’t know how to to order a combo. She would know it by rote as she works there.
Anyway, my point is that we are all ignorant of something, but I would much rather be ignorant in ordering takeaways than not be able to name a specific vegetable.
On the other hand there is the Farmers’ Market to consider rather than supermarkets and takeaways…
(the next blog post is Part 2: on the Farmers’ Market experience)