Honey? Where’s the honey?


There you are, in the middle of the grocery store… and for all the possibilities that exist, you are lost.

It doesn’t happen often. And, the reality is, most of us feel somewhat comfortable in our local store. We can find the ice cream, bread, orange juice and potato chips quickly. Five-minute stops are only slowed down when we try to get in line to pay.

But then it happens… perhaps a specialized visit for a specific recipe item… and we’re circling the produce section over and over because, no matter how high or low we look, no matter what aisles we investigate, there is no garlic or avocadoes or green onions to be found.

And it can get worse.

I’ve had days where I’ve wandered up and down and up and down aisles. I’ve checked top shelves and endcaps. I’ve turned five-minute errands into thirty-minute adventures, breaking down emotionally when once again… despite my best intentions and efforts… I found myself arriving at the rows of dog food and paper products and laundry detergents that indicated I was crossing out of the regular items and into the frozen foods and I hadn’t found what I was looking for.

And the biggest problem is, despite the concepts of asking for help, it seems so easy.

For example… honey.

Where would you look for honey?

I literally went out this morning to run some errands, and decided to stop in four different grocery stores just to make sure I’m sharing accurate details from past experiences. And… I am. But before we get to it, consider…

Dutch processed cocoa powder.

About two years ago, I came across this specialized chocolate ingredient in a recipe I was thinking about making. I had used it before, but had never purchased it myself. (Those of you that know my mother, and especially those of you that understand the consistent supply of chocolates she has in her kitchen, will understand why I didn’t need to purchase it before.)

Dutch processed cocoa powder wasn’t something I used frequently—by any stretch of the definition of frequent—but it sure seemed like an easy enough ingredient to find.


I went, literally, to seven different grocery stores along roughly a fifty-mile stretch. I found rice flours and tapioca flours. I saw agave nectar. I even found chocolate chips offered as chips, mini chips, chunks and plenty of different kinds (semi-sweet, milk, dark, and on and on). In one store, when I decided to complete my shopping list and left the baking aisle, I laughed as I passed coconut milk and soy milk and almond milk and stopped counting after reaching a dozen types of rice.

Dutch processed cocoa powder? Nope.

So, our stores carry thousands of ingredients. Actually, thousands upon thousands of ingredients and products. But step outside of your normal purchases and suddenly things get a bit weird.

Back to the honey.

So, where would you look?

In the first store, I found the honey options near the peanut butter. Store number two had the honey on display just above the syrups. Store number three, back to peanut butter.

Any guessed for store number four?

Wrong. They went for a portion of the baking goods aisle.

Sure, sure, I’m trying to be funny. But the simple fact is that this is honey we’re talking about. Just some honey. The only cute ideas involved would be the size of the container and whether or not to buy it in the plastic bear. That’s it. It’s not a specific brand of granola, where the differences between cereals or organic specialties or some other idea might mean a distinct approach for shelf space decisions.


Head to the peanut butter. Head to the syrup. Head to the bread or baking supplies or… gosh, I just don’t know.


Is it any wonder that in grocery stores these days I often completely change my plans for dinner, shop accordingly for the new menu, and make it a point to add ice cream? (I’m guessing you understand.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com