Cheese, avocados & eggs

Within a block of the Hacienda sit three mom-and-pop stores that provide essentials. These stores are called abarrotes, and most are connected to homes, and most abarrotes are tiny, dark and grim. They have eggs and cheese and plenty of other stuff one needs occasionally. Many are crammed with merchandise.

We used to frequent an abarrotes just around the closest corner, but the owner was such a suspicious sourpuss that we abandoned her. This was made more convenient when another opened about 20 feet farther on.

The newer one is run by a woman who is the mother of the sourpuss neighbor just next door. The barrio suffers no shortage of sourpusses. The second store owner has a daughter with severe Down Syndrome, and she has a big dog that sits in the door, obstructing.

We walk down there — it’s very close — almost daily. It’s far more convenient than driving a few miles to the nearest chain supermarket to contend with long, slow lines, hand gel and face masks. The woman who owns the second store won’t win any personality contests either, but she’s nicer than the other one, and it’s got to be hard for a middle-aged single woman with an adult daughter with Down Syndrome.

Plus, the abarrotes owners — just like me — don’t care about face masks or hand gel.

I usually buy tomatoes and avocados. Sometimes cheese, sometimes eggs, and often a package of baked tostadas, which we eat with pozole and minestrone.

Abarrotes remind me of a mom-and-pop store on a red-dirt road in the rural area where I lived with my parents and grandparents in southwest Georgia a million years ago. The main difference is that the Georgia store was far larger than your average abarrotes, and the owners had smiles on their faces. They were glad to see you. I’ve never had the impression that an abarrotes owner was happy to see me at all.

But the convenience makes up for that.

The third abarrotes I mentioned in the first paragraph is behind the Hacienda, not too convenient. We rarely go out the back door.

As I write this Thursday evening, a hog is screaming bloody murder next door. They’re possibly killing it for bacon and ham steaks. That also reminds of my grandparents’ Georgia farm where hogs were murdered for the same reason.

6 thoughts on “Cheese, avocados & eggs

  1. We have a new abarrotes in the village run by a very nice young couple. They have it all stocked up now. It’s nice and bright. They have a young daughter who rides one of those seats with the wheels that where outlawed up north many years ago. There is 20l pail that sits in the middle of the floor, so the little one can’t get past it and out onto the street. No masks required. It’s up to you to decide if you want one.

    We have countless other ones, mostly little dark holes with no lights on, so it easy to pick where we go.

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  2. You know that abarrotes are what those stores sell, and not what they are, right? “Abarrotes” means groceries. So these little places are “tiendas de abarrotes.”

    Cheers,

    Kim G
    SLP, SLP
    Where the number of fabulous churches and plazas is breathtaking.

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    1. Kim: Yep, know that, but people call them abarrotes. Just like in English where many people say “I’m going to the grocery” instead of the grocery store. Well, at least we talk that way in the Old South.

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  3. An Oxxo “invaded” our neighborhood two years ago causing The Usual Suspects (almost universally northerners) to become hysterical about the effect the store would have on all of the local abarrotes. My Mexican neighbors ignored the fuss and use the Oxxo primarily as a banking and telephone service that just happens to sell some groceries.

    I have been as surprised as you that most of the abarrotes in my neighborhood (with one notable exception) are manned by owners that appear to be almost annoyed that a customer has stopped by. The exception is a woman who always asks about my day and what I am cooking for lunch. The Oxxo staff (at the store near my house — because my observation is certainly not universal for convenience stores) always greet me and call me by my name.

    I had hoped that competition would up the game of the other stores. It hasn’t. Even though the prices are lower at the abarrotes, a lot of my neighbors still shop at the Oxxo.

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    1. Señor Cotton: I remember about 15 or so years ago, the first Oxxo came to town, and the Gringos here had hissy fits. Now we have quite a few Oxxos, and they are no big deal. Actually, they’re quite handy, as you note. And yeah, you rarely get a smile in an abarrotes.

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