Kraft, Post & Heinz, OH MY!
‘The American Store’ as it’s called by expats (the actual storefront has no name), is a little shop nearby that could almost pass for a HomeGoods. They sell housewares mostly… towels, curtain panels, random lamps ‘n whatnot. There’s a selection of cosmetics that look to be older than I am, tempting! They also carry Halloween costumes (all year long) and even have a few pet products, all labeled in the vernacular of Amurrrica! It’s the little things…
The crown jewel of the store, however, is the one aisle of American groceries! Hallelujah! After weeks of sad, barren shelves that were getting progressively dustier by the visit (customs workers have been on strike)– they finally got a shipment! Drumroll please!
Kraft Mac ‘N Cheese, A1 Sauce, jarred jalepenos, REFRIED BEANS (regular AND black), Duncan Hines brownie mix, Aunt Jemima Syrup, Domino Brown Sugar, off brand Lucky Charm-esque cereals, Gatorade, Jiffy Corn Bread Mix, candy, and more!! Ooh the joy of familiarity. I think you can guess what I had to have first…
At $5 a box, the Kraft Mac was a splurge, but mega worth it. I’ll take 5! You never know when they’ll get another shipment, man! Don’t judge! In our two months here, I’ve learned that if you see something you want, buy it – ideally, in multiples. In fact, feel no shame in clearing the shelf of that item! Just because a store has something once, doesn’t mean it’ll be there next time you go to find it. I had been hoarding the final box of Kraft that we brought from the states in case of an emotional emergency, but now it’s game on! Weee! Red and Yellow number 5 never tasted so good.
With those blue boxes in my shopping basket, I was happy as a, as a…. homesick American in a foreign land about to eat some effing MAC ‘N CHEESE!!! But you can’t let the giddy get to your head. One must not be hasty! There are rules at the American Store. It’s time to inspect your potential purchase.
- Is it free of bugs? Hopefully so, but not a deal breaker.
- Has it been opened? If so, put it back!
- Subquestion: Was it the last one? Yes? How bad do you want it!? Haha.
- Check the expiration date.
There’s always a catch! Inflated prices aside, (refried beans are almost $7 a can) many of the items for sale are at the tail end of their shelf life. Despite my deep aversion to expired or near-expired food, I bought 2 cans of refried beans that need to be eaten in the next two months. You do what you can with what you’ve got, yes?
Despite some questionable looking items from time to time, there is really no bad trip to the American Store. Even when the selection is bottom of the barrel, you can usually still get a Shasta soda or some Spaghettios, but I haven’t sunk that low. Here’s hoping that never happens!
A tip! Although the American candy looks tempting, remember the Tommy Boy rule: stick to items with a candy shell. Transport time from US to Africa + sitting around waiting for customs inspections = really weird looking/tasting Twix Bars. Rookie mistake!
Sticking to Skittles, M&M’s, and Blow Pops from now on,