Walking through the new Royal grocery store last week on the Subic Freeport, I was on the cereal aisle and was reaching up to pick a box of Honey Cheerios. A Kano was walking by and pointed out how costly they were. I laughed and agreed, and I pointed out that the package they came in was worth more than the product inside. While talking I found out that he lived in the land of the Big PX (The U.S. of A.) but he had spent a few years here as a child in the Philippines as his father was stationed here with the US Navy.
I explained that after living here for over 25 years that there are times when the price just isn’t right but if it an item you grew up with suddenly is there on the shelf, I’m buying it. We took a walk to the deli-section and I showed him the package of Oscar Myers baloney, the last time I had it was 12 years ago in Guam, and now there it was in the Philippines before my very eyes. Of course I bought it, even at $7.00 per package. This was not the first time my overspending just for a taste from my distance past. Last year I found a jar of Marshmallow Fluff (Made in Lynn Massachusetts) which is the key ingredient to Boston’s all time favorite sandwiches called the Fluff-N’-Nutter “Peanut butter and Fluff” if my classmate did not have a PB-&-J for lunch they had an Fluff-N’-Nutter. We were lucky back then because that was way before peanuts could kill you. The Philippines is very fortunate as that dreaded peanut killer has not reached these shores yet.
Being a tricky granddad I used it to convert my granddaughter to a new form of food. She was hooked!
Most of these rare items show up and disappear just as quickly which I understand, as I don’t expect a store to stock an item only because I like it. But I did wonder who bought the rest of it as a few days later the shelf was empty.
I was the officer in charge of the Navy Commissary Store (Grocery) in Puerto Rico, and a plump young lady came into the building toting a new born baby, looking like a basketball with arms and legs. And told me her doctor recommended canned Baby Formula with Whey. A first for me, so I told her I would find out the information for her. A phone call to HQ in Jacksonville Florida, they told me they could add it to the next shipment that arrived the following Monday. Was the lady happy? Oh hell no, as she started screaming at me, asking what would her baby eat until then. I smiled and asked if her baby had gone hungry since its birth? Again she raised her voice and threatened to go and see the Captain of the base. Next I told her two things, first she was addressing a Senior Chief in the United States Navy, and her husband can be punished for the actions of his dependents while on a Navy base. Second, if she wants’ to see the base Captain tell him, I’d be quite pleased to fly to Florida and bring back a case of that item for her. He is in charge of all the airplanes on the base!
A few days later her order arrived, I called her but her husband came to pick it up and apologized for his wife. I told him I was not angry and when she needs more to call or stop by I’d be pleased to help her. Oh she never went to the base Captain. I was still wondering what the baby ate while waiting? I was breast fed, which has been proven to produce healthy well adjusted children, it the closeness between the mother and child that does it, vice the bottle propped up on a rolled up towel, by itself in a crib. Oh well, what the hell do I know? The only thing left to find here in the Philippines is my favorite sandwich on earth. The Greek Gyro: Pita bread with shaved lamb and beef, onions tomatoes and lettuce, topped with Tzatziki Sauce (a smooth cucumber Yogurt dressing). I have scoured the internet searching the Philippines for this one item. If I find a Greek restaurant I will call and ask if they have it? They don’t. Mr. David Starr years ago turned me on to a little place in Pampanga, a restaurant that said they have them. In a way they did but for reasons beyond me they substituted chicken vice the lamb & Beef, and no cucumber dressing. All the years in Athens eating them, none of the street vendors gave me chicken, so I’ll assume that is not how they are made. To Mr. Starr, I still thanked him, as it was not a true Gyro (Not David’s fault) it was still an enjoyable lunch out with my family. A Gyro, I would pay dearly for just one more before I shuffle of this mortal core.