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A visual grocery list?

I got this email last month from someone looking for help making a grocery list that spans languages (to a degree). If you have any ideas, send them to me and I’ll pass them along.


I live with my Russian mother in law who speaks no English… I struggle with Russian. One of our biggest challenges is when she gives me her grocery shopping list, hand written in Russian. I wish I could print out a pictorial grocery list for her to circle, etc. Any suggestions?


My idea was to save labels/cartons/etc from various commonly needed foods in two boxes or envelopes. One box is labeled “DON’T NEED” and the other is “NEED.” The mother-in-law could move the desired product from the “DON’T NEED” box into the “NEED” box whenever she wants that product from the store. This would probably be easier than using clip art or something like that. For example, “Greg” could just rinse and cut out a panel from a milk carton, cut the front off a pasta box, etc… What do you think?