Canned Goods


An asian woman checking out before us at Sprouts this evening had something like 30 cans of coconut milk (probably the store’s current stock). After the lady left the checker said “That was a little strange!” I just smiled and told the checker it was a run on coconut milk — the scene reminded me of Spain. During the three and a half years we lived in Madrid, the food staple we missed the most was hot New Mexico green chiles. There were green pimientos readily available in Spain that looked just like green chiles, but I think a bell pepper from New Mexico is hotter than those pimientos, so we were in a sad state of chile withdrawal for the first several months in Spain. One day, while looking at the ethnic food section at El Corte Inglés (I had never thought of the food we eat daily as ethnic, before living in Spain), we found cans of  Old El Paso roasted jalapeños. The gods were smiling on us! While not quite to the level of the local green chile we ate back home, roasted jalapeños were a great substitute. So we happily bought Old El Paso roasted jalapeños from our local El Corte Inglés for several months, until one day we bought the last can. We innocently asked a store clerk if he knew when they were getting more. He checked with the manager and told us they were no longer available. Upon seeing the panicked look on our faces, he told us the other stores might still have some. I spent the next day running from one end of Madrid to the other, and by the end of the day I had bought out the remaining stock of Old El Paso roasted jalapeños from every El Corte Inglés in Madrid proper and the surrounding afueras (suburbs). Thus I didn’t think it at all strange to see an asian woman buying up Sprout’s stock of canned coconut milk.