July 1, 2015

The etiquette of buying Vegetables!

Image courtesy : Complete Well Being
Incidentally grocery shopping happens to be one of my favorite shopping areas. As some of you know, I have a big weakness for fresh vegetables. When we were kids, mom mostly bought vegetables from the street hawker. I wouldn't say exactly a street hawker a.k.a sabjiwala. Once in a while when time permitted she would go to the nearest market and buy them in bulk. As kids we would tag along on these mini shopping ventures. So, began the art of buying vegetables. 

If you have to buy a tender Bhindi, you snap the edges of the vegetable. If it snaps tick and the edge falls off, you immediately put it in your basket. If you want to buy a Lauki, pinch it and see if your nail digs into it smoothly. Tomatoes have to be ripe but hard enough to not squish by the time you reach home. Greens have to be always green and shiny. So on and so forth...

All this while, the vendors would keep saying, "No Amma..you cannot do it". But who cares or who listens anyway? People would snap and pinch and press till they got the desired color, consistency and quality of the product. It is hard to forego those buying habits and techniques which were inculcated at a very young age. 

However, after moving to the U.S of A; vegetable shopping had been a slightly different affair altogether. There are no more sabjiwala bhaiahs who would shout tomato, mirchi, aloo, beans and the family of it. There are no Raitu Bazaars or Sabji Mandis. There are, only we discovered them much later. Somehow I felt it odd to snap or pinch the veggies any more. All I could do comfortably was to pick those that are fresh, green or shiny. As years passed, even picking each of them seemed silly or ridiculous to me. 

Please don't snap them:

Want to know the trigger for this post? The other day I had been happily shopping veggies for the week. I go to the bhindi table. Who can stop me when there is a heap of fresh, green bhindi? I was stuffing my bag to glory and then noticed a brown hand snap, snap, snap. I know it's not manners to stare at people; but you know I don't have good manners. So, I lift my head to have a peek at the person with brown hands. He stops for a second and continue snapping in a slow manner. The store manager happens to pass by arranging different vegetables and removing empty trays. Not sure if it was the store manager or my stupid gaze, the guy packed a few and left. I kept wondering if he really needed that little and he had to pick them? Whatever. I continued and finished shopping. While waiting in the line for billing, I was doing people watching. A good way to kill time. And here I see our bhindi guy with brown hands and a gold chain happily picking bhindi. Seriously??

Please don't break them:

Another thing that gets on to my nerves is breaking vegetables. Breaking the long vegetables like ridge gourd, snake gourd, drum sticks. Some people break them to fit into bags, which is okay. But breaking them to taste the bitterness or the freshness of the vegetable? NO.

Please don't pinch them:

Whenever people pinch vegetables with their nails to test how tender they are, I immediately feel like pinching or poking them in the same manner. 

Pick 'em up:

Leave about snapping, pinching, pricking and breaking. Let these all be their personal preferences. What irks me to no end is dropping vegetables while putting them into bags. You think it is popping pop-corn into your mouth while watching T.V lazily in your sofa? Come on!

I don't think people would behave the same way or continue the same habits in any American grocery store. Then why abuse Indian stores??

Raitu Bazaar - Farmers Market
Sabji Mandi - Vegetable Market
Sabjiwala Bhaiahs - Our neighborhood vegetable sellers
Bhindi - Okra
Lauki - Bottle Gourd

18 comments:

  1. Sheepish grin. I still check the bhindis and lauki in this manner but I've never had to put back a pinched lauki. I like handling the veggies and fruits, touching and smelling them. But it is bad manners to leave them in bad shape. I hated veggie shopping in the US. All veggies are super sized and super tasteless. I liked the farmers' markets though.

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    1. Hehehee,,,,couldn't stop laughing at your comment. I totally forgot before publishing the post that 90% of us do the same. I know what you mean. Even I smell Mangoes, Pineapples to check how ripe they are. AAhh ..tell me about it. Now we have got used to it pretty much. When people come from India, they feel everything is like rubber..LOL

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  2. I don't think visually checking vegetables is being rude; I would like to get a good quality product and check before I buy it. I do this irrespective of the store; Indian or otherwise!

    I used to snap bhindis but now who has the time to snap all of them?! I just look for good color and dump a bunch in my shopping cart!

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    1. Visually checking is perfectly fine. Physically damaging the vegetable is a total no no for me. I heard many people converse about the same many times.

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  3. Oh yes, pinching, twisting, smelling, that's how I saw my mother buy fruits and vegetables too. No marks for guessing that I do the same too. But the frequency of checking each bhindi or lauki has reduced considerably. No time and no patience either! :D

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    1. Yes, Shilpa. All of us have learnt that way only. I think eventually I ended up not doing the above is due to lack of time but the main reason was; it looked awkward to me doing all that. :)

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  4. Smelling muskmelon or gauvas is a good way of deciding their sweetness and it does not damage the fruit too.But sticking nails in lauki--even my veg-seller does not allow.

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    1. True, Indu ji. Even I smell many fruits when the look of it doesn't decide the ripeness of it. See...they don't like it either. Because no one buys the left over ones that are pinched.

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  5. Some people like me are just clumsy and we do end up dropping vegetables but thats not intentional , trust me ! :D

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    1. LOL, Jaish...now you know that there will be people like me who will make faces. :D So just spare a few extra minutes and handle them carefully. :) But, I trust ya..

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  6. Ha ha, what a post Latha:) You wrote for all of and how we behave at vegetable markets! The people in advanced countries are clever and pack everything except, potatoes, onions and a few more vegetables so that we do not mutilate the poor things!

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    1. Actually, No. They don't pack them like that here. If they did, this post wouldn't have arisen at all :P

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  7. What all these vegetables have to go through! I havent really observed people doing all this to vegetables coz I quickly pick up what I want and leave. Perhaps will observe it next time.

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    1. Do it next time, Ashwini and you will see their torture. I mean the vegetables'. :P And it is fun too. You will think, "ohhh...there is so much science and technique behind the art of buying vegetables."

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  8. Somehow I feel like saying - please don't hurt the veggies, Latha has feelings for them.

    Anyway, you are right. There has to be some manners while picking vegetable and fruits.

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    1. hehehe....sure, I do, Saru!! Have special feelings for them I think. I must have been a vegetable or a vegetable seller in my last birth :D

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  9. Nice post! some ladies bargain so much that it becomes a funny spectacle! :)

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