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Saturday, February 10, 2007

grocery shopping in style

Inside a small bakery in Chinatown, I share a table with a couple and clutch a lotus bun. I rip open the pastry to find a thick brown paste. It's rich, and the paste taste like sweet chestnuts. Outside the wind blows snow everywhere while I get lost in my foreign pastry.

I decided to do some food shopping while wandering today. To be honest, I'm always grocery shopping. Instead of bulking up on groceries once a week, I shop daily, aiming for variety and freshness.

Back outside the snow has stopped and the sky is bright blue. I stop and buy a Chinese pear and a papaya, then head towards Kensington Market.

Deep in one of the many vintage stores I dig through a bin of scarves for two dollars. I settle for leopard print and a man with a twisted moustache, glasses, and a lovable smile lets me pay without tax because he can’t remember how much it adds up to.

Afterwards I stop in a natural foods store and buy some loose tea, some bulk cinnamon, extra strong mustard, and other pleasures I’ve been meaning to stock up on.

Out in the streets a man yells out to me, “Buy some dried fruit, some nuts!” He’s tall and Mexican, and he’s out there every day, trying to coax people into buying dried goods. This time I can’t let him down, and I fill a bag with dried apricots and nuts, and find some oils inside. As I leave the woman says “Hello, amigos!” To the next customer, and I warm up to the sound of her accent, to the foreign touches everywhere in this city.

Wanting to travel more I head to Little Tokyo, a Japanese food store. I buy sweets, tofu noodles and a sushi sandwich with sweet plum inside. These triangles of rice wrapped in seaweed are as tasty as they are appealing to look at. I’m always impressed in how the Japanese present everything so immaculately, always pretty with graceful touches.

Eventually I walk to the streetcar, my hands turning to ice and my hands full of shopping bags.

These are my favorite days, rich in tastes and textures.

It's hard to find the time to shop so luxuriously, but it's worth taking the day to do.



Blogger Grant said...

It's great that grocery shopping will get you out in the cold city to explore. I love just wandering around, most of the time I have no clue what I'm looking for. Every now and then I disappear for a couple hours to find parts of the city that are foreign to me. Great post!

9:01 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

It's kind of like taking a mini vacation in your own city, don't you think? and it's so much fun.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

I've been enjoying your blog for some time (thanks) and thought of tagging a few bloggers around the world whom I don't know but enjoy their wit and wisdom every morning. Hope you don't mind.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gillian I enjoy reading your postings and I find you a breath of fresh air. You always have such a positive approach to life and seem to find joy in most aspects of your life. I think your Mom must have been a very powerful influence in your writing style you could certainly write for a living if you chose to later in life.

I am of the same vintage as your parents and I now live north of Toronto and miss being in the core of the city but try to get back down as often as I can. I enjoy your photography and way you capture the simply things in everyday life, I find that people are often too busy or rushed to take the time to appreciate the simple pleasures. Those things make up the majority of our daily lives and make the trip worthwhile.

Keep up the great work and have a great day. I have a blog but nearly as inspiring but if you would like you could visit once in while.

8:43 AM  
Blogger N@ Lauzon said...

Stumbled on ya - nice work, girlfriend.

I am a T-Dot expat, circa 1998, when I graduated Ryerson.

All the best in life and on the dubya dubya!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous marina said...

Hi. Are you interesting in a link exchange with my blog ?

11:35 PM  

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