It is Saturday on the Easter four-day weekend, which in Switzerland means it is time to jam the shops to load up on food.
Not that we can load up on much, what with our miniscule camping-cooler-sized fridge, but we will do what we can, because the shops were all closed yesterday and will be closed for the next two days. Today is the retail oasis in the sandy desert of commerce in our little town.
It takes some effort to adapt to Switzerland’s restrictive shopping hours. Back home, the horror of two non-shopping days would be soothed by a full-freezer, amply stocked kitchen shelves and a refrigerator happily humming as it cools buckets of produce, deli meats and other foodstuffs.
There in North America, on any given day, 20 people could drop in unannounced and we would be ready to put on a spread that based on the usual contents of our larder could include: Barbecue meatballs, meatloaf, mesquite chicken, spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, quiche, chili dogs, Kraft Dinner, homemade soup, hot rolls, and ice cream.
Here in Europe, they would get three Ritz crackers and a thin slice of Brie.
Once, when our Canadian mountainside home was cut off from civilization by a sudden and deep snowfall, locking us in with our adult son and his three friends – young men with corresponding elephantine appetites, we were able to keep everyone fed for three days and still have slabs of frozen pizza in the freezer should the snowfall extend their stay even longer.
Were that to happen here with our tiny food stores, the result might a lesson in how swiftly companions can turn to cannibalism. The horror.