Mistaken identity

Well, it looked like BBQ sauce

Well, it looked like BBQ sauce

There are many variations on the phrase that starts with “A little bit of knowledge” and none of them end well. Every few weeks (or days) we fall victim to that concept and our most recent encounter could have indeed made us victims but Bill’s keen sense of smell saved us from that fate. We were looking at outdoor grills and everything that goes with them when we spotted this huge bottle you see in the photo that seemed really cheap for such a quantity of flavoring to give your food the smell of smoke. Just look at that delicious corn on the cob, steak, sausage, and asparagus and the words “barbeque, liquid, and grill”. Just don’t look at anything else on the label!

This is hand soap?

This is hand soap?

Yes, we bought a bottle of fire starter. The price did seem awfully cheap but it was at the end of the season so we figured that it was a clearance price. Since getting it home we’ve tried to pass it off on our neighbors but no one wants it. Even when I point out that picture of all the smoky food on the label, everyone just says it gives the food a bad taste.

Soon after we got to France all of those tiny airplane-safe bottles of liquids started running out so we went out to replenish them. Here’s a picture of our first purchase: hand cream. My gosh, it was only 79 cents for ¾ of a liter and we were already familiar with this brand called “Everyday” from previous trips over here as being a good value for a basic product. The first time I pushed down the pump out came a creamy liquid not much thicker than water so I examined the label more closely. While it does say the words “cream” and “hands”, in our haste we overlooked the other large word “washing”. While not as deadly as flavoring your food with lighter fluid, it was still an inconvenience.

Ranch thousand islandNow that we’re working on the house everyday, we have lunch over there and it’s almost always a salad. We normally make our own dressings but at the moment it’s just more convenient to pick them up at the supermarket and here you’ll see the bottles of Ranch and Thousand Island dressing we found on the shelf. Granted, the labels don’t actually say those words but the color was certainly right, you can see a tomato and lettuce on the front, and one of them even says “salad”. Yep, mustard vinaigrette; one with white wine and the other red. At least we’re getting closer.

So what’s the solution? I suppose we could take even more time than we already spend in the supermarket figuring out what we’re buying. However, I like Bill’s attitude better which is “Ah, we’ll use it someday.” We still have that huge box of salt that was sitting on the same shelf with all the other dish washing powders. At least it was cheap!

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About Bob

While living in North, Central and South America, in the middle of the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, and now in Europe, my passion has remained the same: travel and meeting new friends.

Posted on October 26, 2016, in Life in France and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. When I first moved to Europe (Belgium), I did a couple of my lessons with my French tutor at the grocery store. There are other things that aren’t packaged the same as in the U.S. or not where you might think. I also did lessons at some cafés/brasseries to learn menu terms (like what is a dame blanche????). Something to consider…

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  2. Tee-hee. After 4.5 years we still get it wrong sometimes. I think your salt is dishwasher salt!

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    • We know that NOW 😉 So many of the dish washing detergents include salt (now that we take time to completely read the packages) so we don’t need the extra salt. It’s fun making mistakes but it took so long the first couple of stock-up visits to the store to find basics that we needed.

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  3. Funny post. I hadn’t realized how much I have learned about decoding the packaging over here. I have a junk food tip for you. Try the “sauce pita/kebab.” It’s like Ranch with a major dose of garlic. The aioli is generally pretty good, too, but you probably already know that.

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  4. OMG! Glad you didn’t put that sauce all over a good steak that you splurged on!

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  5. Hahahahahaaa!!! This reminds me of the first time we went shopping in the grocery store. We spent HOURS reading labels….and that time I needed baking soda? oi.

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  6. Oh yeah, been there, done that! I find the cleaning products to be the trickiest. I recently bought some sort of dish rinse instead of dishwashing liquid. I also have a large box of dishwasher salt waiting for the day that I find a use for it. Perhaps I led a sheltered life prior to moving to France, but these are products that I never encountered before. What other tricks do French grocery stores have for me? Many, no doubt.

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