I know what you’re thinking… it’s where naughty, naughty little girls are sent. At least that’s what I thought the first time I walked past a Reformhaus sign when I lived in Germany.
It was only after I had been living there for a year that I finally figured out what they really are: shops that carry health foods of various sorts, as well as herbal remedies and wacky things of that nature. For a vegetarian living in former East Germany (where bananas were still a novelty), discovering the true nature of Reformhäuser was a dream come true. Tofu! Cranberry juice! Vegetarian Wurst! None of these things were sold in grocery stores in Halle.
Now that we live in Zurich, I am once again in the land of Reformhäuser. I haven’t been shopping at them very often, since normal supermarkets here offer a wider range of foods than those in Germany did. I often just forget they exist.
But the other day I was in the mood to try something new, so I headed towards the Reformhaus in our neighborhood, only to find it had closed down. Feeling guilty for not having given it more of my patronage, I changed course towards the only other Reformhaus I was aware of, the one in the underground mall at the main train station.
There I browsed for half an hour while picking out a couple goodies from the vast array of foods (many of which I have never seen before). I steered clear of the dinkel burger, but I left with my seitan, organic tofu-and-grunkern ravioli, and mung beans chips vowing to return again soon, or at least to find a new Reformhaus in my neighborhood.