25 May 2011

I ♥ Rancho

I pretty much love Rancho Market. Rancho has been around a few years and they have several locations scattered throughout Utah (most of them are in West Salt Lake). I first started shopping there in Provo because the ads came in the mail and I couldn't resist the call of cheap, cheap.

Every experience there is a slightly uncomfortable one. The stores are cramped and usually kind of dirty. They always smell kind of funky. Spanish music blares from the speakers. Practically everyone is Hispanic and speaks Spanish. They sell weird things. Some of the things they sell seem to be labeled only in Spanish and are completely unidentifiable to me.

Their meat counter is probably the most unsavory to white middle-class sensibilities. It's all very open and unpackaged and they sell crazy stuff. It reminds me of that time I went to an outdoor market with my host dad in Russia and it was like going to an actual butcher (which I have never done). That sort of thing happens behind closed doors around here. At this market in Russia, though, they had this huge circular wooden block there where they were just chopping all kinds of meat with the same hatchet and had stuff hanging out all over the place. Despite its similarities (chicken feet just chillaxin', for example) and suspect hygiene, I braved the Rancho meat counter once and bought a pork roast. There was a lot of pointing because the guy helping me didn't understand much, if any, English. But it was successful, and best of all, it didn't kill anyone. In fact, it was good.

But that may not surprise you, because if you know me, you know that my food hygiene is suspect anyway. (Maybe personal hygiene, too, but that's a subject for another post.) It may surprise you, though, to know that I once had a food handler's permit. I definitely don't uphold those standards in my household, but when cooking for other people, I try harder to avoid throwing things that fall on the floor back into the pot or stirring a pot with a spoon I've already licked 500 million times. (I do clean my floors with bleach water more often than anyone I know, though. My cleaning habits are somewhat anal, actually, which seems ironic.)

Anyway, it's interesting becoming a minority when I shop at Rancho. Usually there are people congregated outside in the parking lot, sometimes blaring music from their cars. I don't like to go there after dark, actually, because it kind of scares me.

But oh my goodness, do they have cheap food. It's glorious.


Meredith said...

I think you should've mentioned that you spent 9 bucks on a watermelon, 2 pineapples, 6 avocados, a bundle of spinach, and bundle of cilantro, 5 pounds of onions, and 13 pounds of oranges. :)

Holly said...

I can't believe how cheap you are. ;) I would never have the nerve to go into that store, though Sam has--granted, it was to make tamales, not for the weekly groceries.

I have to say, though, I'm impressed with your courage in going again and again even though it is apparently full of awkwardness for you each time. Way to persevere. A+

Amanda said...

I'm also impressed and slightly concerned . . .

I have to say, though, that I'm often tempted when I see their 6-bunches-of-cilantro-for-$1 deals and such in their ad.

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