Saturday, June 21, 2008

the Hispanic foods section of Pathmark

It was on one of those humid New York summer days, I believe at the time of my last visit, that I went into the Pathmark supermarket, and while my Mom was busy shopping in some other part of the huge air-conditioned store, I chanced upon the Hispanic foods section at the far end of one of the aisles. All the products in that particular section were Hispanic. I began scrutinizing the labels with fascination, partly to test my Spanish translation skills, and partly to determine their origins, which turned out to be Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. In California most of these kinds of products come up from Mexico, but in New York there is a different pipeline that apparently crosses the ocean. These cans of beans and jars of pimentos seemed to embody the spirit of this east coast Hispanic culture as distinct from that of the west coast; the graphics were similar to and consistent with cans of Bustelo coffee, which may or may not have been on the same aisle -- I don't remember. I do know that the foreignness of these products kept me occupied and entertained for a few minutes, and now, a year later, it remains an obscure and warm memory that lingers on.


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