The other day, a friend caught me eating some nuts and reminded me you are what you eat. I inconspicuously slid some beef jerky back in my pocket and asked what she meant.

"You can tell all about a person or a culture or anything by looking at the food of choice," she said."What do you have in your refrigerator?"I could have told her about the fast-food containers, expired milk, sour grapes, aging crab and flat soda.

Or I could have talked about the rock I found eight years ago that somehow looked like it belonged in my refrigerator. Or the 1,500 hibernating ladybugs the plant shop guy told me to keep chilled until I was ready to release them in my garden. Except I never got around to planting a garden.

"My refrigerator is empty," I said.

"Go to the grocery store today, and I will be by tonight to analyze your personality."

I would beat her at her own game, I decided. I would turn the outing into a study session and learn about the meaning of foods preferred in Utah County, then I would bring home only the self-flattering ones.

Walking into the store, it struck me that the layout was like a rats' maze. Just coincidence, I'm sure. Stores are probably like that in every county. I walked into the cake mix aisle and noticed there was four times as much angel food as devil's food mix on display.

This must be a fairly open community, I decided. The Bakers' Secret pans weren't any better kept than the other tinware.

The natives were willing to pay high prices for pressed oil, I learned. There were containers of oil mashed from sunflower seeds, olives and peanuts. There was baby oil.

These people have a great respect for paper, I decided. Cookies in small paper containers and with paper protectors inside were much more costly than bulk cookies in see-through packages.

I was a bit confused on the parsley issue. While the herb was pictured on a disproportionate number of food packages, very little was actually for sale in the store. Could parsley be something all people want but few buy?

Perhaps the parsley was just for appearance's sake, a very important factor in Utah County. I knew that from the fruit. Ordinary-looking fruit got almost no attention, but there was a whole aisle of dried fruit roll-ups, fruit dinosaurs, space shapes, spooky fruits, fun fruit, letter and number fruits and even fruit wrinkles.

Fun fruit looked good, but since looks aren't everything, I bought some fruit wrinkles too.

I was walking out with my prize, confident I understood the system, when I saw a display of rat poisons. Some of the boxes boasted "a scientifically balanced blend of all-natural ingredients." Wouldn't want to upset the poor dears' stomachs while we are killing them, I thought. Oh well, I guess there are some things I will never understand.