I have a habit of sometimes buying food products because of what's on the outside--gorgeous graphics, colorful bits of happy art to decorate the larder. I once bought a blue tin with a charming Dutch girl holding a bouquet of white tulips on the label. Found it in a little Euro market and looked at it for a long time to try to figure out what was in it, since the language on the can was unknown to me. The shop owner was a handsome Bulgarian woman with an intimidating air of no nonsense about her. So imagine the scene..."Umm, excuse me...yeah, hi...I want to buy this because the label's pretty...can you tell me what it is?" Blank stare...right--got it anyway. It turned out to be canned milk, by the way.
Last year I bought a package of Easter egg dye there. The colors on the package just grabbed me. "You want this?" she asked with a quizzical look on her face. So what if Easter had gone by two weeks ago. I only cared that it had a beautiful painted rooster on the box, and was only ten cents. Who could resist?
My pantry closet is a regular United Nations. I love experimenting with ethnic recipes from everywhere. Like, if ever I were to go to Italy, yes, I'd want to see the statue of David, yes, I would want to see Venice, but first I'd want to visit a local grocery store. I find food and foodstuffs from different cultures fascinating. When I meet people from different countries, one of the first things I like to ask them is "What is your favorite food from home? What are you homesick for?" You'd be surprised how eager people are to tell you, and how delighted they are to teach you how to prepare it. Over the years we have been privileged to host cooking get-togethers representing at least twenty-some nations. The deal is that we purchase whatever our guests tell us, and in return, we learn how to make their favorite food and share a wonderful meal together. It's been a blessing to us because we have made some lasting friendships and we have gained a knowledge of the world beyond our own backyard.
So how about you? What's your favorite culinary journey? Or has anyone else out there ever bought some mystery item just because the packaging was pretty?