Thursday, December 21, 2006

In search of ... Bonito Flakes

Having a diabetic cat meant a bunch of changes around my house, largely centering on food. When, how much, and (very important) what. Diabetic means low-carb. It was out with the old food, and in with the new. Out with the old treats and in with freezed dried bonito tuna flakes. These changes have been very popular with the kitties.

But I realized last night that the bonito flake supply is getting a wee bit thin. I'm down to little slivers. Now, I'm new to this feline diabetes gig, but one thing I already know, for sure, is that Isabella will put me in a headlock and take me down if I don't keep the bonito coming.

It happens I had a little time on my hands (OK, I skipped my workout. Sue me.) so I popped over to the Asian supermarket to pick some up.

Popped. Right.

In the door, I was first relieved to see that the signs over the aisles were in English. Snacks? No -- I'm pretty sure it's not a snack, except for my cat. Sauces? No -- but it's gotta be pretty flavorful (judging from the stench, er, aroma), so I'll start here. Wow, lots of sauces. Never noticed if there are this many at Safeway. No sign of bonito flakes.

Ah! At the end of the sauce aisle -- cans and containers of fried ground fish. That's pretty close. I studied everything in the vicinty. No dice. And now I realize that I'm not certain what sort of package I'm looking for. My inaugural supply came from the pet store (where it's conveniently located under the "Cat Treats" sign) in a little tub similar to faux butter spread. Here, I'm sure it ain't in the cat treat section and it could be in anything from a tub to a bag to ...

On to the next aisle. Seaweed: dried,canned,jarred. Lots of mushrooms (in states similar to their seaweed neighbors). Turnips that really, really, don't look like turnips. Seriously. I picked up a pack and thought it was squid. No bonito.
Next aisle: "Japanese items" says the sign. Oh, crap! I never gave a thought to what sort of asian market this is. What if bonito is a Japanese thing and they don't stock it in this not-japanese market?

I asked the lady shopping in the aisle with me. She had exactly no idea what I was talking about. I was probably speaking the wrong language. I'm two miles from home, and I can't communicate. Double crap. Why didn't I go work out?

Next aisle: Noodles. Both sides. The whole aisle. Only noodles. Wow. I backtrack to that "snacks" aisle. Ya never know! At this point, all bets are off. Nothing. Back to the canned fried fish. Again: no.

I'm determined to find this stuff. I slowly cruise aisle 2 (Seaweed, if you recall) and BONANZA! There it is! Bags. Big, lovely bags of bonito. All the writing on the bag is, um, not readable by me, but I recongize it! Look -- a wee tag: "shaved bonito." I would have seen it on the first pass if I hadn't been distracted by those weird turnips.

Sweet success. I scored a big bag, for which I paid one dollar more than the pet store bonito and it's easily 20 times more. (Probably 20 times as smelly, too.)

While in line to pay it dawned on me that this would be a good store to find things like hearts and livers and other icky (but low carb!) cat treats. I deduced this from the large bags of unidentifiable meaty things purchased by the shoppers in front of AND behind me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm exhausted.

2 comments: said...

Same experience here - I was paying $8.49 for a small tub of flakes and $13.49 for about a typical yogurt container size at my pet supply store. I found an address for a Japanese store online, and went there. $5.99 for the large bag. It is easily 4 times the size of the $13.49 container, so I am paying $5.99 what would have cost $60.00 before.

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