Movie theaters here don’t serve butter with their popcorn. I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you, other than that it really shocked me when I realized it. The first and last time I tried asking for it, the checkout guy looked at me like I’d just asked him to pour a cup of urine all over my popcorn. In short, with true horror.
I sometimes take for granted our inherent ability to inject gobs of fat into our everyday cultural food-rituals as Americans, and I appreciate the difference in New Zealand. There’s no need for a Whole Foods chain here because almost all of the Kiwi supermarkets already follow the Whole Foods model. It’s easier and cheaper to follow a healthy diet when there are 50 outdoor farmer’s markets taking place every weekend and your local supermarket supports organic farming and free-range EVERYTHING. I’ve never eaten so many eggs in my life. The eggs here are this deep vibrant orange color. It’s like eating a piece of the sun.
And, if you’re allergic to gluten (luckily, I’m not) New Zealand is the country for you. Move here now. You will never have to worry about going out to restaurants or finding gluten-free products again. Every restaurant and supermarket has heaps of gluten-free options. I’m not sure why this is such a gluten-free friendly country, but I know exactly where I would choose to live out the rest of my days if I ever developed a sensitivity to it.
The other thing I’ve noticed: lack of billboards, lack of religious propaganda, smaller clothing sizes, smaller people. Old and young women alike shop at the same stores. This can be somewhat disconcerting when an 80 year-old grandma admires the same top you just picked up a few seconds ago, but it’s also kind of liberating. You never get that feeling that you don’t belong in a particular clothing section, like say, the Junior’s bathing suit aisle of your neighborhood Target.