The Changing Taste of America

October 12, 2010

Went to visit Nick at college today, and we stopped into the campus grocery store. I was fascinated by what this tiny little place had on offer.

Right by the door, in the most prominent place was a case filled with sushi and hummus. The sushi was no surprise: it was the garden variety sort that you now find in every supermarket. The hummus, however, came in a dozen different flavors. Have I somehow missed the hummus revolution?

The produce section was equally interesting. To Nick’s disgust there was no organic produce, but I was amazed to see, among the prosaic lettuces, onions and eggplants, a surprisingly diverse display of herbs and aromatics. Ginger!

One entire wall of the store was devoted to various kinds of soft drinks; no surprise there. And the vast cast of ice cream was complete expected. But I was stunned by the wide variety of grains: quinoa, cous cous, barley, bulghur….even sticky rice.

Looking back at the campus grocery store when I was in school, I mostly remember that I yearned for garlic, which was considered too exotic. Walking through the aisles in my memory, I am wandering past shelves holding what were once considered staples: mayonnaise, Wonder Bread, macaroni and cheese. Clearly the taste of America has changed. It gives me hope

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