I'd like to invite you to join me on a little visit to a small local grocery store in my Carmichael neighgborhood. Within a mile of my home, there is a bakery called Naroe's, and right next door is the grocery store where they sell their fresh bread and other provisions: Naroe's East-West Europen Bakery and Grocery.
We must have driven past Naroe's a thousand times before we finally decided to stop and look inside. It was a few years ago, and we were going on a Letterboxing outing and needed some picnic style foods such as bread, cheese, salamie and drinks. Once inside we were captivated by the old world charm and very different selection of foods that are popular with recent European immigrants to our country.
The jars of jams were easy, because we could see the pictures of fruit on the labels. I have done very little traveling outside the USA and it gives me a tiny sense of what it must feel like to try and make your way in a foreign country. Something quite common and necessary like choosing food could become quite a puzzle.
Looking at the shelves of pickled cabbages and vegetables, we could tell that the European diet is not so very different from our own. But not the same.
The dairy case boasts many different kinds of fresh imported cheeses from Greece and the middle east. There are many intriging foods to try. But the one place I could not pass up was the fresh bread case!
There is also a produce section featuring fresh fruits and vegetables. Usually there are large bins of produce in front of the store as well. There are two cash registers right next to the deli case which features a large display of sausages and specialty meats, many also imported from Europe. Most of them are described with signs written in a foreign language so I will need to ask about it when ready to make a purchase. I didn't take a picture of the meat case because I didn't want to be too conspicious.
One of the things I like best about Naroe's is its small and cozy size. Going to a regular grocery store, hiking up and down miles of aisles and shelf after shelf of different products, sometimes feels like more of a chore than a blessing. I feel kind of jealous of people who can simply walk to a grocery on the corner and pick up a few essentials without it having to be a major outing. Maybe I'm just too romantic.
This was one of the light summer suppers we enjoyed not so long ago: Fresh tomatoes from the garden, sliced up avocados, some home-made fresh hummus, some kind of leftover veggies, and big chunks of Naroe's bread and Afghani flatbread to spread thickly with the hummus. We also drank from a carton of a cherry juice beverage. Delicious!
Naroe's is located on Fair Oaks Blvd. at the corner of El Camino in Carmichael CA. If you happen to live in the Sacramento area, follow that impulse to stop and check it out. If you live in another city, I encourage you to explore your own immigrant grocery stores and see what tasty adventures await!