Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Da and Duh!

Today I decided to visit a large Ukrainian supermarket that I'd been to several times. This market is located in the far northeast section of Philadelphia. My first visit to this market about five months ago was confusing and I did not feel welcome. Perhaps I was staring at the people shopping and those that worked there? I don't know, but I got strange vibes. I told my friend who emigrated here from Belarus over 25 years ago and turned me on to the place how odd I felt shopping there. Most likely I looked out of place, not being a large person (most women in there are quite large), and perhaps not looking European enough, oh, I don't know.......I imagine I just look too American. Since that first visit my Ukie friends have given me hints on where things are located in the store, what is good to buy, what the deals are and to look a bit MAD. Helloooooooo? Look mad? Well, I can do that! A better word would be to look stern, that is nicer. I went a few times after that first visit, looking stern and acting like I knew what I was looking at and buying. I just stared at the radish/tongue salad like I see and eatit everyday (a bit NOT). I also did not speak English, I pointed to the lady behind the prepared foods and showed her the size container I wanted. "Dat" one I told her. I also used the word "da".........that means "yes." By the way, the only Russian word I know is "Da."

Today I went with my wee little digital camera. I love the way the fresh fruit and vegetables are big bins and everything looks so fresh and colorful. The citrus has leaves attached to it, something I rarely see at the Acme. After produce, I stopped at cheese. Oh my, a case behind glass loaded with Feta. Of course I was drooling and bought a half-pound of one of the fetas (Bulgarian was the choice today). Feta yes, radish/tongue salad, no. More pics of the cheeses, followed by the camera and I arriving in the prepared foods where that tongue salad is. Last time I was there I bought small containers of two particular salads my Ukie friend told me about: onion salad and beet salad and also recommended a farmers cheese w/herbs which has a spread-like consistency, all so delicious! Snap, snap, snap goes the camera and I get my wee little containers and land at the olives and pickles section. More snapping and then more of the bread section. Just as I was heading to the caviar display a very large American man stopped me and told me to please erase any photos I had taken in the store. Oops! For a slight moment it did occur to me that what I was doing was against the store's privacy acts. However, no one was stopping me until I was almost done. The man was nice enough and told me that folks could come into the store, take photos to show pricing, etc. I told him that I just was taking the photos for a hobby and may even drum up some business for the store for anyone that would read my blog. Oh yes, I imagined, my friends far, far away are going to visit me and insist on shopping at the store! I apologized and gave the camera to the gentleman who promptly deleted the photos. He really did not trust that I'd do it. I told him not to delete others that were still loaded and he did notice those were of broccoli soup. Man, I was getting looks from customers and employees. I felt like such an outsider, once again. So, my "da" adventure turned into a "duh" one. "Duh" is a word that accompanies an answer to an extremely obvious question, according to Wikipedia. Obviously, one does not go into Net Cost Market to take photos.

Here is a photo of the outside of the store:

and the two salads, spread and half-sour pickles taken at home:

Note: My Russian doll in the photo taken to remind me of what the photo is all about-Da!


  1. Oh Hilary, what I wouldn't give to go to that market with you but I would have giggled as you took the pictures. Thanks for taking me on that adventure with you -- how fun is that! I can not think of a Ukrainian market in the Boston area. So glad you took me with you today!

  2. Oh Hilary, thats a funny story. I know what you mean. we have several Ukie stores here but they are run by people that have been born here or are a generation or two here. But then we have some that recently opened up by some who just came to live here and the people there are quite rude and large, I guess due to the foods. Did you notice they all look mad for some reason.I too feel out of place.......but sometimes I like to go and get the perogies there and some Napoleon cake for dessert. Good Luck next time if you ever go to visit. I love the Beet Salad, my Grandma used to make a real nice salad.

  3. Hi Hilary,
    What a great blog! I love your recipes and I will attempt to make some. Keep it's really fun..."thanks for sharing"!