It's official, at last I can walk into an American supermarket without hyperventilating.
It was never the bread aisles that got my pulse racing, although it always amazed me that a whole aisle fifty paces long could have so much bread and of so many varieties. All perfectly hygienically packaged in expensive looking full colour plastic with the entire composition of the bread printed on the plastic bag like a veritable book.
In fact a USA bread packet makes good bedtime reading, it gives you a breakdown of the USDA recommended eating guide, showing the food pyramid and all its nutritional requirements and it also gives you the nutritional data for a sliced loaf of bread. Now "Natures Own" which is the preferred bread of my Brother in Law David, is a low fat, cholesterol free food, it is 100% whole wheat with no artificial preservatives, colours of flavours. It gives you a calorie count, a carbohydrate count, a protein count, counts for vitamins, minerals, thiamine, niacenes, sodiums, cholesterol's and fats, it tells you it is bromate free, and it gives you a complete ingredient count and it has a bar code as proof of purchase . It also tells you that this product could help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers !
Now this is all well and good, and makes exciting bed time reading but we never ate a single slice of this incredible product while in the States.
Although totally deprived of bread at home, we had so many other food distractions, that bread sadly brought up the rear. I feel like a traitor, how could I spend so little time worrying about bread in the USA when it is probably the main topic of conversation when at home. I mean all my friends have bread making machines, my friend Flora brings me Botswana bread from Botswana, my friend Ali makes me bread in her bread making machine. My friend Lyn vies with Ali as to whose bread rises the highest. My friend Jack has a recipe for rolls as well as bread and is willing to share his secret recipes with anyone and everyone who cares to listen.
In fact I think I am the only person in our intimate circle who does not have bread making machine, but I have lengthy and expensive discussions daily with Charlie and Wonder as to availability of Haefeli's rolls versus Ascot Spar's bread. Of course now that the price has risen sharply, bread is not such a sought after commodity, it is only the bloated plutocrats who can afford it, and yet we sit with this plentiful bread in the USA, bread so soft and feather light that it is like eating air, and after ten days it is still as fresh as the day it was purchased, but it is not at all tempting, cos I can get icing covered cinnabons, kolachis, krispy cremes, whatever, you name it, in abundance and without queuing, it almost seems boring by comparison to my life of strife and toil in Bulawayo.
But as usual I digress, Ias I said, I no longer get jittery with American supermarkets, I can cope with the 34 wide, spacious, spotless aisles, each a hundred meters long, air conditioned, no packers to jostle with cos the shelves are packed at night, no gaps in the shelves, no dust, iced sprays coursing over the delectable green produce, I do however still linger longer than usual in the laundry aisles. I gape like a country bumpkin at the requirements needed for the average American housewife to maintain her family's cleanliness. I mean after all for all these years I have thrown clothes in the laundry basket and expected my Darling Gogo to keep my linen clean and fresh and shining with only a bar of sunlight and a packet of surf. !!
Now Mrs America keeps her family's clothes clean with not one , not two, but three rows of commodities in the supermarket. Umpteen brands of washing powder all promising whiter than white, germ free, wrinkle free, color fast, all things bright and beautiful to say the least.
One is faced with a barrage of "frebreeze" with which one sprays ones clothes to eliminate odours, spray on starches, sprays that eliminate wrinkles, College students never wash their clothes I believe, they just spray with frebreeze (unless they have been indulging in food fights or mud fights as College Students are wont to do !!)
They use a lot of "Shout" which when sprayed on whilst sorting the laundry, takes the specially dirty spots out as easy as a wink, Oxyvet for stubborn stains, chlorox for extra stubborn stains, lint removers , grease removers, ballpoint removers, paint removers, you name it, you spill it, they made an environmentally friendly chemical to remove it....
Everything possible to make life easier for Mrs Brand Spanking Clean America.
No one ever dries their clothes outside on a wash line, no one even hand washes anything, if it doesn't go straight into the washing machine and then straight into the tumble dryer, the adage is if it ain't machine washable and tumble dry-able ..... "DON"T BUY IT" !!
Who irons anything in America ? If it needs ironing off to the laundry or dry cleaner it goes, or if anyone does need an iron, they are certainly designed by NASA. As light as a feather, they never ever scorch or leave a shine, the ironing shelves alone in a Texas supermarket have incredible products that you and I have never dreamed of.
I feel so bad when I think that my Darling Gogo ironed everything perfectly with one of those old Mazoe irons for years and years. (We never did those old coal irons though so I suppose she was not so badly off !!)