15 June 2009

Sultan Center

...and on Day Four, Justin found Peanut Butter...To those of you unfamiliar with my fondness for nut butters, this may seem a somewhat mundane announcement, but allow me to reassure you that this is a rather major culinary development. As a quick point of comparison, Carmen and I spent much of our time in Greece, Turkey, and Spain scouring the shelves of markets (large and small, urban and rural) for any form of nutty goodness; finally, Peter Pan Super Chunky appeared like mirage out of the midday heat on the island of Santorini. Quite conversely, I stumbled upon an oasis of food down the street (Salem al Mubarak Street) from American Univeristy of Kuwait (AUK) and just off the sandy shores of the Arabian Gulf (quick geography tangent...the body of water we typically refer to as the Persian Gulf is actually known as the Arabian Gulf on the western side [i.e. Kuwaiti or Arabian side] and the Persian Gulf along the eastern coast [i.e. Iranian (historically known as Persia) side]). Truly a super market, the Sultan Center provides aisles upon aisles of foods from around the Middle East, Europe, and even the Americas. To date, I have purchased (from the Sultan Center):
  • two containers of Skippy Natural peanut butter
  • one loaf of Cappuccino Toast (baked locally by Bread Talk)
  • 4 pack Kuwaiti UHT Skimmed Milk
  • 1 kilo of Kuwaiti green beans
  • 3 kuwaiti cucumbers
  • 2 African Parkham pears
  • 125g Langnese natural bee honey (sorry Southern Slopes Apiary, I did not attempt to travel with any of your delicious product)
  • 1 box Dorset Super High Fibre Museli
  • 6 rings freshly sliced pineapple (origin unknown)

Although there are a few other items which escape me at the moment, I hope the thing you take away from my Sultan Center experience is the country of origin labelling. In the good ol' US of A, produce typically carries a SKU sticker that denotes in miniscule type where the fruit or vegetable was grown. Perhaps the byproduct of nationalism (not likely the result of a desire to minimize food miles and carbon footprints [blog about energy consumption forthcoming]), almost everything is visibly labeled as Danish Feta Cheese, Lebanese almonds, Saudi Arabian courgette (British word for zucchini), and so forth. Although this may not be designed in order to get people to buy local or regional products, it certainly makes it much easier to identify such items. So, my experiment for the remainder of the summer...purchase all my foods from the Middle Eastern region (considering that this is an experiment that I came up with about 36 seconds ago, there are a few parameters that need specifying; exact geographic boundaries yet to be defined). I'll be sure to keep everyone up to date with my exciting food purchasing adventures.