My First Experience in an American Supermarket

By Adele Sharman

10 December 2021
So back home in the UK, we call places you buy food at – a supermarket, shop or you would go to a market and get your meat and fish for a Friday. Here in the USA they are called a store or market, (not like our markets).

So back home in the UK, we call places you buy food at – a supermarket, shop or you would go to a market and get your meat and fish for a Friday. Here in the USA they are called a store or market, (not like our markets). You have Walmart, Costco, Publix, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Sprouts Farmers Market, to name a few.

Then you have Seed To Table in Naples, Florida. This place is amazing. If Carlsberg did supermarkets, this one would probably be the best in the world. The whole concept of this store is mind-blowing, I have never experienced anything like it. It is 74,000 square feet of a speciality grocery store and culinary destination with a maze of upscale niches overlooked by a sports bar. It’s a food, drink and entertainment heaven.

Let’s start with food. Not only can you buy the food to take home, but you can also have it cooked and served for you in the store. Please choose your dish from cheese, olives, salsa & guacamole, hot and cold sandwiches, tacos, pizza & pasta. Let’s not forget the sushi bar, ice cream parlour, pastries and breakfast places. Do you wish to get some fresh meat or seafood for your lunch? Take your pick from the sustainable seafood counter, which has live tilapia and shrimp. Fancy a lobster to go with your Tomahawk steak, this place has it covered. Pick your steak and choose how you would like it cooked, take a seat – it will be brought right out to you.

Now would you like a drink with that order? Hell, yeah! This store has 4 bars, so if you want a glass of wine, fancy a coffee or even a cocktail – this place has it all. You don’t even have to be seated to enjoy that pint of beer. Order your drink from one of the bars and put your glass in the trolley to continue shopping. I was blown away the first time I saw this. Yes, your shopping cart (‘trolley’ for us, UK folks) has a holder for your glass of pale ale or a bottle of wine. You can have a girl’s day doing the weekly food shop, while your kids will be having fun in a play area. If you get too excited and drink a little too much, uber for the slightly intoxicated mother is always a good idea.

Did I mention that this store also has live singers and bands throughout the day into the evening? They have a battle of the bands and country jams, fancy dress evenings for Halloween – this is the most social supermarket I have ever shopped at. Seed To Table also has amazing visual displays for Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Mother’s Day. This store just keeps on giving. You will leave this place as the happiest customer in the world, maybe with lighter pockets but with memories that will last a long time.

What about food differences between America and the UK?

First of all, food is always a wonderful thing wherever you are in the world. You need to get on an adventure of the variety of culinary specialities around the globe. Even if you don’t think it’s a good idea, just give it a try. Trust me, this experience will be delicious 😉

Since I have spent a lot of time in the States, I have realised food is a big business, and I don’t just mean the portion sizes. Yes, I have missed certain foods! For an English person, especially one from Yorkshire, ordering certain foods or even having conversations with an American about food might turn into a very peculiar situation. They look at you with a blank expression on their face, trying to figure out what the hell you are on about. The thought of me dunking a biscuit into my hot cup of tea put most Americans in shock…Frankly, I don’t know if it’s the hot tea or the fact that I dunk a biscuit in my tea. Their biscuits are called cookies, and our biscuits here are something you have for breakfast with gravy on them. Get your head around that one! Oh and the tea is served iced.

Baked beans are the most staple item of food in an English person’s cupboard. Here they come in brown sugar, country style, vegetarian, maple-cured bacon, onion, barbecue and

chilli, to name but a few. My beloved salad cream is hard to come by out here as well. If anything, you can buy it from the British section at double the price of the UK. Please, don’t get me started on a variety of breakfasts in the States: crispy bacon with the side of eggs, but the most important question is which ones? The abundance of egg styles will amaze you: over easy, sunny side up, over medium, over hard, hard-boiled or an omelette. You spend 5 minutes choosing what you want to have your eggs with and then move to the bread! Are you ready? Please, choose a slice of bread for your breakfast: wholemeal, rye, wheat, cornbread, multigrain, sourdough, oh and they like to throw an English muffin in there as well. Keep in mind that the biscuit is served with sausage gravy, fruit and potatoes, all on the same plate. Then let’s go on to pancakes and waffles served with bacon and maple syrup with a side of butter (I always thought it was cream!).

One thing I know for sure – I will certainly not go hungry here. There is so much choice and variety of food in America, which brings excitement for a new culinary adventure!

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