Choices are a modern wonder

Published 1:35 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

Does it ever occur to you how amazing grocery stores are?

Sometimes when I walk in one, it’s hard to take it all in. Maybe I’m especially conscious of them because both my parents worked in and managed grocery stores during my childhood. What great changes have come about since then.

I am overwhelmed by the abundance of fresh produce—luscious colorful fruit, vegetables of various shapes, sizes, and colors, red onions, white onions, yellow onions, red potatoes, yellow potatoes, white potatoes—such a variety. Produce comes from everywhere. I bought a cucumber from Canada the other day.

As I push a cart up and down the aisles, there is such a selection. Even when I rush in for an item or two, it takes a while to locate a can of this or that because there are so many choices that it boggles my mind. And it’s not just the canned goods, either. What about dairy products? What about breads and bakery items? We’ve come a long way from the time when there were just a few brands and kinds of bread at the family grocery.

As I looked for the fat free or skim milk we use at our house, I chuckled at the containers of non-fat buttermilk (how can that be?), as well as the non-fat half and half. When our son was visiting some time ago, I accidentally picked up a carton of non-fat half and half for his coffee. One look at that label and he was out of the house in no time, heading to the store to buy himself the “real thing.”

Today we have a choice of low-fat, light, etc. of just about everything. We are sodium-conscious at our house these days, so I search labels for the sodium content. Did you know you can buy low-sodium cheese and low sodium sandwich meats? Actually, you’ll notice right away that the figures are not really low—just lower than others on the shelves.

Now the cereal aisle is really interesting. Remember when you had a choice of maybe five or six, with corn flakes and raisin bran leading the pack? I eat oatmeal for breakfast. I don’t like oatmeal, but I know it is good for me. There are plenty of choices there, too. My favorite has raisins and walnuts, and I’ve decided it must be a big seller since sometimes there’s an empty space where it usually sits.

Another wonder is the seafood market. It doesn’t matter how far from the sea you are, you can find your favorites in those refrigerated cases at your grocery store.

And there’s that wonderful deli department which will whip up party fare on short notice or provide a basket of chicken for a picnic. When you just don’t have time to cook any of those groceries you’ve filled your cart with, look to the cooks in the deli for delicious meat, fish, vegetables, salads and desserts awaiting you.

I’m convinced that grocery stores are modern wonders.