The Little Things: Groceries

We started using a new service, O Quintal Orgânico, for produce delivery. One of the small luxuries I miss about the United States is how easy going grocery shopping is. I have a few different dietary needs (pescatarian, gluten-free), so being able to go to a place like Shop Rite or Trader Joe’s where I can get everything I need in one stop is ideal.

In Brazil, it’s not as easy. We live within walking distance of about two or three grocery stores (including a Mundo Verde, which is like a much smaller Brazilian Whole Foods), but because of how I choose to eat — from an ethical, health, and sports standpoint — I can never get everything in one go. Which makes me feel like I live at the grocery store (or in an Uber to Guanabara, the big supermarket), rather than in Rio.

Despite the difficulties, I actually love going grocery shopping, especially here. The produce section continues to amaze me, and I hope it never stops. The first time I went to Hortifrutti, I stood there with Google Translate open to try to figure out what the hell I was buying. (Abóbora, a.k.a. pumpkin, and manjericão, a.k.a. basil, are still my favorite words in the grocery store.)

These days, the vocabulary has sunk in a little bit more, but the variety of fruits and vegetables has not. Like a child, I feel like I’m still discovering new tastes and names for things. Fruta do conde looks like a dinosaur egg, but certainly tastes much better than one. The fact that you can get the whole caju fruit here continues to blow my mind. I’ll never remember what ameixa and maracujá are in English, but they’re still tasty. And the weird seeds inside of a papaya freak me out, but not enough not to eat it.

Today, I was looking to add a few items to our biweekly delivery of fruits and veggies when I came across a nêspera. A loquat! What is that?! Fortunately, Gustavo remains entertained by my random exclamations of fruits, vegetables, and other words in Portuguese when I discover what they are.

Even if I still don’t really know what a loquat is, I hope this sense of wonder never completely fades away.

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