You’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but I have a confession.
I love grocery shopping.
By now, you’ve probably gathered that I’m pretty fond of eating. While it might be hard to display because I have no oven here in Tel Aviv, I can promise you that I do love cooking and baking as well.
But my favorite thing in the world is probably grocery shopping.
I don’t know what it is about walking into the store, but it has an electrifying effect on me. Whether it’s my hometown supermarket, a specialty store, or the newly discovered shop around the corner from our apartments here, I’ll be just as excited to walk in and take a look around.
To be honest, I’m not sure why I love grocery shopping so much. Most people look at it as a tedious task. For me, a trip to the grocery store can brighten my entire day.
It might have something to do with the possibilities. There are rows and rows of items in front of me, some that I’ve tried many times and some that I’ve never even heard of before. I walk up and down every aisle, taking in the colorful labels and diverse scents of the products.
Spotting a new item to try is exciting, but so is picking out the freshest cherries or the tastiest cookies.
As I’ve mentioned before, most fruit in Israel is bought at the shuk. All the produce from Shuk HaCarmel was grown in Israel, so it’s the freshest as well as the cheapest. On our most recent trip, we bought grapes and nectarines.
There aren’t any huge, commercial supermarkets in Israel, or at least not in the center of Tel Aviv where we’re located. Instead, there’s a small grocery store named Victory a few blocks away that sells most items that you could need. Kind of like a larger IGA, but definitely not a Kroger’s or Giant Eagle.
Yesterday we found a new store, In the City, around the corner from us. It’s smaller than Victory, but it’s also cleaner and has a better atmosphere. I haven’t figured out if it’s significantly more expensive than Victory, but we had a successful shopping trip there including pasta, ravioli, chicken, couscous, and hamburgers for dinners in the apartment.
I love looking at all the Hebrew labels and items in the grocery stores. It’s almost a guessing game to figure out what you’re actually buying, and sometimes we don’t even know for sure until we’re back in the apartment tasting it. A related example: still not entirely sure if the body soap that I bought is actually soap or conditioner.
I’m telling you, I could spend my entire day exploring in there.
As far as meals go, we’re trying to keep it real. It’s too easy to impulse-buy snacks during the day and dinners at night. When you’re going out for both lunch and dinner, the bills add up (even though shekels still seem like Monopoly money to most of us). It’s hard to convince yourself to eat at home occasionally when there are so many incredible restaurants to be discovered in Tel Aviv.
Especially when your boss tells you about a new one every day at work.