10 thoughts on “Submitted: Vampires and grocery stores

  1. What a happy surprise it would be to run into you at the grocery store!  It would be fun to poke at the food with you. 
    I too like grocery stores, I find it cathartic in a way; perhaps it’s the way I prepare and shop.  Also I have several friends at the local grocer; we have formed a friendly relationship over the last few years.  They always have such good stories about the various happenings with the store, it is sort of like a mini soap opera in a way.

     You asked “How is one to know which is the best of the one thing craved?”. I am sure it is different for each person but for me it’s by smell, brand, or the overall look of the item.  I was once shopping at a local farmers market and caught the scent of something in the fruit and vegetable area that made my mouthwater.  It had to be one of the five types of apples they had there; so I then proceded to slowly walk pass the stand and discretely sniff till I found the right scent.  My diliagence was rewarded, it was quite delicious.  I agree with you about the chemicals and preservatives, I am not able to smell them but I can taste the difference and see the difference in the overall color of the food.  

    Aside from the variety of foods and the amount, how does the grocery story and the market place of your Mortal Rome compare?

    1. There is the obvious difference of chemicals added and size. Granted, we Romans had our own forms of crop gene manipulation, though nowhere near as efficient or effective as today thanks to scientific technology. So our produce was of a much smaller size, and even sometimes far less attractive. A Roman tomato (we did not have the tomato) would not have looked so smooth, plump, or red because these are genes that scientists have isolated and afterward nurtured to ensure that food looks as good as it tastes.

      A day in the Roman market was a more lively affair than a sedate and sterile walk down a shining, glossy grocery store aisle. A Roman grocer may have a dancing monkey to attract buyers. Or perhaps a poet or musician would be plying his trade in the hopes of securing a dinner invitation (more commonly found in markets outside of the slums, of course) or at least a coin or two. The ground would be covered in rotten vegetables for live animals to feed on before butchers slaughtered these animals in plain and gory view. So you would smell animals, hear animals, and hear their screams as they were killed. Smell of blood and flesh permeated everywhere. There were also the constant shouts of sellers hawking their produce, and butchers slamming down great knives.

      A lot of the food that would sold was already cooked, and was cooked fresh, as many “common” Romans did not have their own kitchen facilities. So mingled in with putrid animal flesh both dead and alive would be the fresh smells of stews and bread.

      Then you would have the haggling. It was expected. You never approached a food stand to buy anything at the price asked. Rather, you would have to talk down the price or barter a good that you had in your possession. Of course you had to make sure the seller knew that his goods were barely, if not at all, fit for human consumption. He was selling eggs? Then you had to be sure to inform him that his eggs were small and probably old, and certainly not worth the price he asked. What of his vegetables? Small and withered, and only suitable for feeding animals. You had to talk down the price. So these conversations and insults would fill the air. It was a sensory experience that overloaded every sense. Not for the faint of heart.

      1. So what you are saying is there is not much difference between the two then?  I don’t know about anyone else but what you described is a typical day for me at the local grocer. I usually bring treats for the monkey to give to him when his Master is not looking….*smile*

        When you write you are so descriptive that it was as if I was there, complete with the nausea I no doubt would have.  The whole experience sounds so visceral.  I think the smell of everything would overwhelm me till I was able to be desensitized to it all. Not for the faint of heart, indeed! 

        By the by because of this post every time I am in the grocery store now I think of you. 

        1. And that is why, my dear Juniper, a man of my status would send slaves to do the shopping. There was no way I would mix with such a crowd or suffer such noxious clamour. Yet I would be lying if I were to say that I do not miss it, and that I would not gladly spend a day in a Roman market now if I could.

  2. Your description on a market would surely cause me to become a vegetarian. Poor animals. What a shock it would be if a modern person would ever be sent back in time.

    I love thinking about the fashions. How style has evolved so much throughout history.

    Haggling is still very much expected in many parts of the world. I get to travel a lot with my job and I’ve become pretty good at it so far. Also, it’s good to know certain phrases in the language. Like beer, it’s very important you know.

    1. Fortunately, meat was a luxury that not many of the common people could afford, and therefore could not consume meat with every meal. A family such as mine would have afforded it easily, but many of the common people only ate meat if it was given out as part of a public sacrifice or festival. At least back then, blood and gore were common to us. These days, all of you are distanced from your food and its production. You do not see the cow getting slaughtered, you only eat the meat. For us, we were used to watching animals get slaughtered. Indeed, even people. That doesn’t mean we necessarily enjoyed it, but watching a cow get cut up was much cleaner and less messy than watching a human get torn up by a lion in an arena.

      Beer, wine, public transportation, and rest rooms. Those are the essentials of foreign travel.

      1. I’m happy to see more people trying to go for eating clean, that is avoiding GMO and preservative foods. It really is very difficult to avoid, it’s in everything. I’m on a “health kick” at the moment, but I’m surprised by how my body is affected by certain foods. I wish more people were aware of what they’re really putting in their bodies, it’s really a shock. If you fuel your body with junk, because essentially food is fuel, how will you feel? Like junk of course. Hippy rant, I’m sorry.

        I can’t wait to travel more, I love the cultures and foods (and beer!). Even grocery stores are different, the preferences of different countries, very fun.

        I love when you add historical tidbits out, it makes my day.

        1. For a long time, people were naive about the negative effects of their diet, the various chemicals and genetically modified produce. People did not consider how animals full of antibiotics would hurt children in the long term. A lot of this comes from people’s idea that technology always means progress, that it always means something better. Which is a flawed way of thinking. No one can call something like the atomic bomb, through certainly an impressive article of innovation in science and technology, necessarily progress. In a modern and developed world, further strides into modernity are embraced.

          I would propose that just because something is old or old fashioned does not make it out dated and disposable. Sometimes there is beauty in doing things a rustic and natural way.

          I should think after eating cleaner, you certainly taste the difference in the types of food. I do not think that I would enjoy it at all.

  3. working at a grocery store, I can honestly say that I’m not a big fan of them. People can be very rude and pushy, as well as feel that they are self-entitled to whatever they want, because they spend $300+ a week there.

    That aside…

    Considering modern day food…I am very picky about my food. I don’t like anything frozen or processed. I once gave a speech on the benefits of Organic Farming (1st place too!), and one would be surprised at all of the amazing benefits it has. A person might think that by eating a tomato off of the shelf, that they are eating healthy. They are wrong for the most part. (Although it is better than fast food or frozen processed food. I will give them that).

    I’ve always wanted to grow my own garden, but I know that I would forget to take care of it or something like that.

    And on the vegetarian note, one of my best friends/roommates became a vegetarian. And it is HARD. (Admittedly, not as hard as being a vegan). When she first began new diet, her iron dropped and she didn’t feel good most of the time. Becoming a vegetarian takes a lot of leveling out, I suppose. Now I just sit and watch her cook these elaborate recipes with tofu, asparagus, and various spices.

    I wish that I was as talented as her.

    1. I have heard that some produce is better when organic, and some has no real important notable difference. For instance, I read that leafy vegetables like lettuce are better when purchased organic. I suppose because there are many leafy crevices to hold on to pesticides and impurities that organic food do not have.

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