When we lived in the states, I did most of the grocery shopping. I honestly really liked it. I was one of those crazy coupon ladies, stock piling coupons, matching them with sales and promotions. It gave me this strange kind of thrill to come home from the grocery store with 4 boxes of cereal, a box of Capri Sun "drinks," and 2 boxes of fruit snacks for $4. I think I saved the receipt on that one for a while. That was a good deal.
I continued doing the grocery shopping when we moved to Brazil. Except it made me SO grouchy. First of all, it was expensive. There are no coupons here. And the stores advertise "ofertas" which usually mean that the regular price is R$5,99 and now it's on sale for R$5,79. The price of food has gone up a lot, even just in the past year. I don't like spending so much on groceries. I'm really lucky if I can make it out of the store and only pay R$150. And then of course, back then we didn't have a car. I liked to stock up when going grocery shopping, and it was not fun to come back from the store lugging groceries for a week for a family of five in one of those little wheely carts. Uphill. I have fond memories of sweating profusely, trying to avoid the dog poop on broken sidewalk or navigating the lack of sidewalk, a bag of milk breaking open and leaving a trail all the way up Rua do Ouro, and the stares from all our friendly neighbors, who were wondering if I knew that delivery existed, or that I could send my empregada/house keeper to do the shopping. Ah, memories.
My husband got tired of all my whining, and finally offered to take over the chore of grocery shopping. It has been a gift. Thank you dear husband. And he frequently comes home perplexed by the many challenges of grocery shopping in Brazil. The most recent confounding situation is the fact that the stores will be out of staples for weeks at a time. I have encountered this too. I go to buy cornflakes, and they are out. I go back a week later, still no cornflakes. Now granted, cornflakes are not a part of most Brazilians diet, but you can pretty much find them at all the bakeries, the drugstores, and the fruit/vegetable stores. Other times we've not been able to find tonic water, Cera incolor (the wax we use on our floors, makes them actually look clean), and vinegar. My friend Corinne said she went to the store one time and they were out of sugar. Hmmm…
The other strange that happens is that we find a brand of a certain product that we like, we get used to buying it, we enjoy it. And then one day, it's gone. We found some granola that we really liked, and about 2 months ago, it disappeared. This has led us to do some odd hoarding. When we find Rap 10 (something somewhat like a tortilla) we buy several packages and freeze them, even though we have a TINY freezer. It’s usually got some Rap 10. If I Dorito's Dippas (corn chips), I buy a bunch of bags. Because of the odd nature of supply here, it's quite possible that I will have a hard time finding these products again.
But the whole reason I started this post was because my husband went to the store to pick up a few things today. He actually came home with everything on his list (milk, fresh milk for yogurt, cilantro, eggs, popcorn, frozen French fries, granola, and 2 cans of tonic water), and it only cost him R$30. Needless to say, he was very happy. And it's such an unusual occurrence that I thought it deserved it's very own blog post.
Now I'm off for a very American night. I'm cooking the last box of Macaroni and Cheese that my sister brought for us back in July, make some Roasted Salsa to go with our Dippas, and then watch a movie with the family (did I mention that you can now get Netflix in Brazil? It's amazing). Happy Saturday night to you!