Some items to consider when you’re shopping at the Denner:
+ Lipton Yellow Label. Yellow Label is the only caffeinated drink you’ll readily find in the tea aisle. Trust me, I checked. There are all the fruit teas and herbal tisanes you could desire, exotic flavors like red currant, vetiver, and rhubarb brightly illustrated for those who can’t read German. The Yellow Label isn’t bad, but I’m rationing my imported stash of English black tea all the same.
+ Haribo Turtles. I’m used to gummy bears and worms, but these are something else: dense gems filled with a bright gel in any number of fruit flavors. Lecker gefullt! the packaging announces, neglecting to admonish parents to watch so their kids don’t choke on the treats. They are delicious but difficult to chew, and if you’re willing to be uncivilized it is easier to rip them in half with your teeth. There’s probably an art to this that I haven’t learned yet.
+ Toast. Well, it’s called Toast, but you get to do the charring as you see fit. Small blocks of bread are pre-cut to the size of your palm, preservative-free and so inclined to go stale within a day or two. One variety is called Super Toast!, pasty-pale and distinctly Wonderbread-like, and the packaging is splashed with a stylized American flag. The rest of the packaging is written in German, and I am left questioning the target demographic.
+ Bergmilch. Though all the milk here is ultra-pasteurized, they must use a different process than they do in the states. It tastes distinctly of cow, like organic milk does back home, and always seems lukewarm even when it’s come straight out of the fridge. It’s fine for adding to tea but hard to drink plain, even the skim. I feel guilty for not liking the animal flavor — this is what milk is supposed to taste like, after all, and it seems I like the neutral taste of plastic packaging better than the reminder that this was once in something alive.
+ Lemons. Half the lemons are wrapped in matte black paper, numbered in red and faintly metallic gold. The labeling fits a bottle of whiskey better than it does a fruit. There is no explanation for why some are wrapped and some are not, but the crate of black and yellow citrus resembles a carton of overgrown bees from across the aisle.
+ Easter eggs. Or what look like Easter eggs despite the fact that Lent hasn’t started yet — shells dyed a variety of jewel-like colors, sitting unrefrigerated in clear plastic cartons on the shelves. The room-temperature eggs have alarmed many students, who can’t imagine a world where that is sanitary. I have been suspicious of any sort of egg for my entire life, and so they’ve simply been an amusing novelty rather than something I want but am now afraid to approach.
+ Nutella. The hazelnut spread has swapped places and price points with peanut butter, a fact the American students alternately rejoice over and lament. I am not particularly attached to peanut butter but I’m sure I’ll miss it some time in the indeterminate future. For now the novelty sustains me as effectively as the food.