Familiar Food

Rachel Torralba Lancaster University, England


November 13, 2017

Every Wednesday, there is a free bus to Sainsbury’s (it’s sort of a large grocery store that also has clothes, electronics, kitchen stuff, etc. It’s like Target or Walmart but with more emphasis on the grocery part). There are two main stores to buy groceries on campus, called Spar’s and Central, but it’s a lot cheaper to get food from Sainsbury’s. Food doesn’t expire as fast either. The expiration dates are so weird here, I can buy milk and it will expire in three or four days at one of the on-campus stores but expiration dates are much better at Sainsbury’s.

The fact that I am really an adult finally hit me when we went grocery shopping the first time. Having lived at home my whole life, my mom has always done the grocery shopping. I have gone with her, but only to put the good food in the cart.

What do I even need?

I bought what I thought I needed but I still had to figure out what the best price was, what brand to get (since there really aren’t any familiar brands here, I usually just get the cheapest), and how much to get. Grocery shopping is so exhausting.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I have to carry my groceries all the way across campus because I live in the farthest college. And it usually rains here, which makes it so much more fun to trek back. But it’s good exercise and none of my bags have broken…yet.

On my second trip to Sainsbury’s, my friend and I found the United States shelf. It’s a small section of food, tucked away in the corner and mostly hidden by a pole. I can’t describe the amount of excitement I felt over seeing familiar food. There were three shelves of candy (is that all they think we eat?), pop tarts, Twinkies, some kind of pumpkin thing, a shelf of pretzels, and, of course, a large bag of giant marshmallows. There was also Kraft mac and cheese, which is what my mom makes, so that helps remind me of home.

It’s great acting like an adult and finding things that remind me of home in the most unlikely places.