Thursday, March 18, 2010

East, Easter, Eastest

I don't like to go grocery shopping—or at least I didn't until I came to China. Shopping now is like an Easter egg hunt.
We can't read or speak Chinese, so if there is a particular thing we are looking for, we just have to wander around until we can find it or give up. As soon as we learn where something is, they change it.  (I did, however, learn the word for popcorn, so that we never have to go without.)  Sometimes we don't mind wandering around. I especially love to troll the imported food section to see what might be there this week. Granola! Diet soda! Mustard!

And what a variety of different foods. The egg section alone makes coloring for Easter unnecessary--not that we could find the dye anyway.

Too bad we don't know what most of the food is, nor can we tell how to cook it. At first, we did not let that stop us. We've had a few interesting meals when I walked down to the front desk in our apartment building to ask for a translation of the package. Because their English is limited, especially in the cooking vocabulary department, the conversation goes something like this:

"You put it in middle dish or....., I don't know how to say in English."


"Yes, that's it. Put water. Cooking five minutes something middle heat then take away."

"I see a 3 in the instructions, too, what is that?"

"Three minutes."

"What am I supposed to be doing for three minutes?"


"I thought I was supposed to cook it for five minutes."


"So I should cook it for five minutes, then cook it for three minutes?"


We stopped buying things unless the instructions are in pictures or English, or the package is shaped like a chocolate Easter bunny.

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