Monday, May 20, 2019

American Week again...oy vey

No matter what time it is, it seems to be American week at one of the grocery chains in Germany. Oh wait, never mind; that was a song about it being 5 o'clock somewhere.

However, that doesn't mean that one can't get some "American" delicacies with some regularity among the local grocery stores. Visiting either Lidl or Aldi last week (sorry, I visited both so I can't say which one it was exactly), I came across a display of the infamous McEnnedy brand (don't get me started on the name).

In addition to the "American" popcorn (which is sweet but not really kettle corn, thus not really American), muffins, etc., here are some items that stuck out. Or shall I say struck out? Har har.

Potato snacks: tomato ketchup flavor. Gag. I'll eat fries with ketchup but the idea of eating potato chip-esque versions of these...just no. (Maybe that's because I don't particularly like potato chips or fries anyway).

Pancake mix in a squeeze jar: yes, we actually have this in the US. It's kind of wasteful (from both countries), especially given how easy it is to make pancakes from scratch.

Family brownie: the family that eats brownies together...I don't know where to go with this -- stays together? It has hazelnuts in it, which we generally don't do, but if you like them, it's a special treat.

Monday, March 4, 2019

TooGoodtoGo App review: some cheap fruit & veg in Kaiserslautern

Recently, I read about an app called TooGoodtoGo, which allows restaurants and stores to sell leftover food at a low price. It benefits consumers with a deal; benefits the store by selling something that otherwise might make it into the trash; and of course it benefits the environment, too, by diverting food from the trash.

It was a pleasant surprise to find out that a few stores in Kaiserslautern participate. One was a fast food fish restaurant (Nordsee), which isn't for me because I don't like fish. However, the other offering, Real, a grocery store, was just what I had in mind: for 3,50 euros, I would receive at least 10 euros' worth of fruits and vegetables. Participating stores sell a limited number of shares but several were left at Real, so why not give it a try, I thought.

I downloaded the app, found the offer from Real, tapped buy, selected one portion, clicked buy, added my payment method, and received a receipt. Pickup times were between 1600-2000, so I tooled over to the store and went to the front desk and told the staff member I was there for the TooGoodtoGo pickup. After looking over my in-app receipt, she swiped it and told me to pick it my package in the produce department and then come back through customer service so she could buzz me through the gate. Easy enough.

I received about 8 different items, including: rucola salad, another container of some weird lettuce, some pale yellowish-orange carrots, cherry tomatoes, oranges, an apple, a head of broccoli, and a container of broccoli and cauliflower. Everything is still fresh enough to eat raw but I won't have high hopes for a long shelf-life since part of the purpose of the setup is to help the store move some of its older produce.

My treasure trove of fruits and veg
So, do I feel that it's worth it? Yes, I was happy with my purchase and I feel that I received even more than ten euros' worth. It is somewhat difficult as one person to use all this up so it might make sense to split the purchase with a friend, especially when it comes to the salad and fruit. I could make some vegetable dishes and freeze them though. For those who juice fruits and vegetables, it's a good haul. I think I'll even blend some up for a fruit smoothie of my own.

One downside is that the app is still gaining traction. In Kaiserslautern, there are only three participating locations, and even in bigger cities in the area, like Mannheim, there aren't a lot of options yet, but I hope that the app's popularity will grow and more stores and restaurants will participate.

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All opinions are completely my own. I received absolutely no compensation or consideration from the app or the store. I'm independent, yo!