Yesterday could almost be listed as one of the best days I have had in the province of New Brunswick since I arrived here 10 years ago. All from a little store in Fredericton call Scoop and Save.

After years of searching and scouring this province for some of the food/grocery items that I sometimes need for making some of the so-called foreign dishes that I could normally make in any one of the big cities in Canada and coming up empty, I was told of this place because my wife was looking for a particular sugar for making authentic Liege Waffles.

When I moved here due to my boss coercing me (as a friend) I had no idea that trying to make simple Indian/Pakistani dishes would be so difficult. I literally had to go in the back of a store owned by an Indian and go through his closet to find some spices that I required. In Toronto I could just go next to my mothers’ house to the Indian Market to get them and no I am not Indian or any other ethnic national, it just so happens I like a variety of food and tastes.

This store had almost everything I could have thought of to make almost any dish. One aisle I was in South Africa with a lot of Dutch and Euro foods right beside them, next one over I was in the Kosher section, another aisle had gluten/wheat free products, while another had English and Mexican/South American foods. The variety of teas was surprising along with the staff who knew where everything was and did not miss a step when you asked if they had something. What a refreshing thing it was to ask a question and they either told you they did not carry it or took you to where it was in the store.

We spent almost 2.5 hours going through every inch of that store and by the time we left it felt as though I had jet lag from all the locations that I went to. Food does that, you can travel but you never see a country until you try a local dish made by a street vendor or someone who you have met invites you to a home cooked dinner at their house and that could be a one room location with a cooking element, a bed and depending what country a commode behind a curtain.

I have been lucky in that I have been able to sample some of this, but when you come back to your own country and want to make a dish from somewhere else it is like a scavenger hunt to get all the ingredients together. In New Brunswick it would be a miracle to get it locally and I had my brother and some friends send care packages to me so I get cook something with flavour.

After coming out of the store I was bushed and it felt like I went around the world from the time I walked in there to, the time I left. It was then I decided I needed another cookbook and Friday I was looking for a Vietnamese cookbook online as I wanted to make Pho. So off the bookstore to see what they had and I found an interesting book with recipes and stories from Vietnam as this person travelled from the North to the South of Vietnam and put together a wonderful book. His name is Luke Nguyen and he owns the Red Lantern restaurant in Sydney.

It will be an interesting next few weeks as I decide what will fit in to my new no wheat/gluten diet but so far not many recipes in the book have wheat or gluten in them, plus Scoop and Save has most of the ingredients I need for the recipes.

Ye s, it will be a good next few months.

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