Embracing Local Shopping Techniques
One of the first things I noticed when arriving in Barcelona is the endless amount of food markets scattered around the city. Even their largest grocery stores pale in comparison to the size of the typical supermarkets you would find in the United States. Intrigued and slightly confused by this difference, I asked my Spanish teacher why this is. She explained that residents of Spain do not typically go to the grocery store to buy large hauls of food like in the United States: almost everyone walks everywhere, and carrying an entire week’s worth of food through the streets is not practical. Instead, they bop from market to market throughout the week, gathering the ingredients necessary for that night’s meal.
Since being here, I have attempted to embrace this lifestyle – it’s much easier on my arms then taking one large trip anyways. An easy example of this is the meal I made tonight: Greek pitas. On my way home from class I stopped at four different stores just to grab the necessary ingredients: the local produce market for onions and lettuce, the local bakery for fresh pita, a small supermarket on my street for chicken, and a Greek restaurant right next to my apartment for fresh tzatziki and hummus.
This may seem like a lot of effort to Americans, but the sheer number of produce stands, supermarkets, and bakeries located throughout the streets here make it quite convenient – I did not have to change my route home from school at all to be able to hit all four of these stores. In fact, I’ve actually learned to like this lifestyle a lot. My meals taste fresher and its refreshing to know where each and every ingredient is coming from.