Another Sign That I’m In The South

12 Jan

As a small town we are fortunate that we have 3 gas stations, more than 1 restaurant, 2 meat/veggie markets and most importantly a Dollar Store. The gas stations charge about 10-15 cents per gallon more than the surrounding towns but they are great to have when we have ignored the gas gauge.  The restaurants are a mixed sort with one being a Mexican with marginal food, one American food only open for breakfast and lunch and another open all day but with a limited menu. In the latter  Harry says the french fries taste like they are reheated but he likes the burgers. I’ve eaten a lifetime supply of the Texas favorite – chicken fried steak in both restaurants. It is usually on the daily special and nothing else on the menu appeals. We tried their pizza twice but will never try it again. A 99 cent frozen Jeno’s pizza has better flavor. I thought we would need to drive to Paris or Bonham for pizza. Imagine my surprise when we stopped at the Phillips 66 station on the end of town and discovered they had both a deli menu and a pizzeria as well as tables and chairs. The first time we ordered pizzas to go and they even baked them! The price was the same no matter how many of the 10 topping selections that were added. We could even get a thin crust mushroom-black olive for me and regular crust to go with all of that meat for the man. Another time we eat at the tables and tried the hamburgers (all of the smokers had left which is another story.) My burger was fried to death which appealed to me – no grease left. Harry was not fond of that but loved the fries. Who would have figured that a gas station would actually count as a restaurant? Seems to fit in a small southern town.

At first I assumed that the Dollar Store had driven away the old grocery store as well as other small retail stores. A number of locals set me straight. Those businesses were gone long before the Dollar Store opened so it was a major step up for the town. My brother had mocked our mother for her Dollar Store purchases years ago. Now I would be on Mother’s side although many of her food selection were really poor quality. We shop there with care but are so happy to discover that it stocks those last minute items needed for the night’s meal or milk for breakfast. During the summer we added a daily dish of ice cream. It might not have been a good food choice but it was a good hot weather selection. Last night during a Dollar Store run for refried beans for the tacos, I made a discovery that truly proved this was a southern store. The canned veggie shelves had the standard beans, corn and mixed veggies, but right there on the shelf beside the canned spinach was something I had never seen before. There were about 10 large cans of seasoned turnip greens. I didn’t stop to read the label but the picture looked like the greens were joined by bacon bits. It might be the bacon was to be added by the consumer but it was clearly mark “seasoned.” I have seen fresh turnip greens in produce sections before but never the canned variety. Somehow I can’t imagine finding that in a Seattle Safeway store but maybe I’ve been sheltered. It doesn’t take as long to check all items on the canned veggie shelf in our local Dollar Store.


2 Responses to “Another Sign That I’m In The South”

  1. Nancy January 12, 2013 at 8:46 AM #

    Turnip greens! We’re there collard greens too and okra? For my tastes, they are all great with a dash of salt and a dash of apple cider vinegar. My biggest food surprise came in North Carolina where the greens came sweet–really. “They” cooked the greens like a northwesterner would spinach and then added simple syrup.
    I’m intrigued by the Dollar Store having fresh dairy. I’ll need to revamp my definitions of “food desert.”

    • compterteach January 12, 2013 at 12:55 PM #

      No canned collard greens but okra is a big yes. Both are also available in the produce section of regular grocery stores. The Dollar Store also has fresh and frozen meats and cheese. You can buy laundry detergent and area rugs plus stationary and toys. It is a lot like a mini sized Wal Mart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: