Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't Be Ignorant

We have a new international grocery here in Winchester, VA and that's a great thing for the many foodies who have heretofore had to drive at least an hour in towards DC to satisfy their habits. We are very lucky to have this store here in town; it's the first East Coast outpost of a chain that until now has only opened locations in California.

The staff and I overheard a table comment the other day that they are not impressed with the store, concluding "It's only Mexican."

This broad-sweeping generalization really irked me (read "pissed me off"). This knee-jerk reaction to the customers who frequent the store which is located in one of the two major Latino neighborhoods in Winchester is ill-informed at best. One of the things that I really like about this store is that very few of the other customers look like me. I've met Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Malaysians, Filipinos, Koreans, Jamaicans, all manner of Africans, Mexicans from almost every state, and scores of Central and South Americans in this store. And everyone is asking everyone else, "What do you do with that?" It's a fantastic representation of the melting pot that is America and the antithesis of spoiled white-collar Winchester.

Looking through the aisles, you'll find produce, dry goods, and frozen goods from dozens of food cultures, everything from Chinese steam buns to Jamaican ackee to Nicaraguan fruits.

To dismiss this bounty as Mexican is ignorant. To dismiss the Peruvian, Nicaraguan, Brazilian, Honduran, Costa Rican, Mexican, Argentinian, Panamanian, Chilean, Venezuelan, Colombian, Salvadoran, Ecuadorian, and other customers as Mexican is doubly ignorant.

Don't be ignorant.

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