Visit ethnic grocery stores

IMG_7322Visit ethnic grocery stores, both locally and in the surrounding communities.  Middle Eastern markets, Italian delis, French bakeries, Asian food marts, European markets, etc…

Have you ever been to a Greek market and had their fresh feta?  Too die for!  And no comparison to the hard block that comes tightly wrapped in cellophane at your grocers.  How about fresh charcuterie from an Italian deli?  You’ll have a hard time going back to your weekly lunch meat!

It’s so exciting!  There are so many items there that you have never seen before, never heard of and of course, never tasted.  Or perhaps you’ve tasted a certain food before, but never the type of quality that’s offered at a specialty market.  It’s a whole new world of flavors.  And you learn about a culture while you shop and take it all in.

Take your time while you’re there;  browse.

Stroll down the aisles and look at all of the merchandise.

If they are offering any kind of food or beverage tasting, partake in it!  You could discover a new favorite food.  Or you could gag and decide that you’re never going to eat that again!

Talk to the store clerks or patrons and ask them questions. What is this? How do you cook this? What kind of dish would you serve it in?

If something peaks your interest, take it home with you and try it. Even if you don’t know how to cook it, remember that you can surf the internet for a recipe for virtually any type of food out there.

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Visit grocery stores and food markets wherever you may travel.  It may be to a foreign country or to the state which neighbors yours; no matter, you’ll discover so many different local ingredients, recipes and people excited that you’re interested and eager to share them with you.

A couple of personal accounts of local market visits while traveling:  In an Asian market in Portland, OR I was introduced to gooey duck (geoduck), a very large Pacific saltwater clam that bears resemblance to an elephant trunk,  a locally made and renowned cheese and smoked sausage in Vermont, fresh nutmeg and cinnamon just picked and peeled off a tree in Grenada, duck tongue in Shanghai, and Chinese whiskey with a preserved lizard in it.  You never know what’s in store (pun intended!)!

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