Friday, November 20, 2009

relish the thought

Went to the nearby grocery to replenish a dwindling supply of sweet relish. The condiments were well stocked, taking half of the shelving in an aisle close to the store's entry. As well stocked as it was, with an ample selection of mayonnaise, mustards, barbeque and hot sauces, there was no relish to be found. I re-scanned each offering carefully, to make sure that I hadn't missed it as many containers - lids on the bottom, the latest trend for viscous condiments - are the same size and shape. It was confirmed that no form of relish was to be found in the condiments section.

After a couple of serpentine scans through all of the aisles, I chanced upon a wide variety of relish on the opposite end of the store, in the canned and/or bottled vegetables section. Once there, I quickly found the desired variety of sweet relish. After getting back home, I had to check to make sure I knew what "condiment" meant. "Something used to enhance the flavor of food ; especially : a pungent seasoning," sounded about right and "relish" did seem to qualify. Oddly enough, when looking up "relish", it cross-references directly back to "condiment".

While I was living in Japan and couldn't read any of the labels, I had to rely on the contextual placement and shapes of related goods to wade through the language barrier. I often thought of what a passive-aggressive grocer might do for amusement at the expense of tourists - place the hemorrhoid cream next to the toothbrushes? Nair next to the shampoos? The possibilities are endless.

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