Tuesday, July 14, 2009

where is the variety?

Part of why I started this blog was because I moved to a foreign country. People were curious about life down here; what was different. I thought having a blog would be easier on me. I could tell it once and people could read at their leisure.

Lately I haven't been writing much of anything about the differences. By now I am pretty much used to it and although I still know it is totally different from what is in the US, I just deal with it.

I seem to notice one of my biggest complaints is the lack of products at the grocery stores. I have never elaborated on what is missing. I think it is one of the hardest things to deal with because cooking and eating food is a daily thing. Not finding things you are used to finding, or sometimes even things you rely on makes it crappy.

When I was in the US I didn't cook very much. It only being Jorge and me, we seemed to eat out a lot. Now we don't really have that option. Well, we could eat out but eating at home allows more variety.

Not having cooked much I didn't have many meals that I knew how to make. Sure, I can pick up a cookbook and whip something up. But, having those staple meals that you can just know how to make is nice. I have wanted to learn how to make more things but the problem is I look up a recipe and sure enough, there are most likely ingredients that I won't be able to find. It is very frustrating.

I came up with a small list of things you WON'T find in a grocery store here in Jalos.

english muffins
bagged shredded cheese
french dressing
turkey & roast beef lunch meat
rasberries & blueberries
cool whip
biscuits or rolls
graham crackers
vanilla wafers
grape jelly

I mean, this list could go on and on. Some of these are not staple items, but are just common items that would not be seen down here. It is easier to list what they do have verses what they don't have. I guess the way to describe it is lack of variety. They have a lack of products as well, but even the products they do have your choice is limited.

For instance:

  • salad dressings--your options:ceasar, italian, ranch, thousand island--yes, that is all.
  • ice cream--your options: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, lime, coconut
  • bread--brands to chose from: Bimbo, Bimbo or Bimbo. Can we say monopoly!
  • canned veggies--peas, corn, peas & carrots, mushrooms
  • soups--can't remember the choices, but I think there are only 5 choices, none of which are cream of mushroom or chicken & noodle or tomato
  • cake mix--chocolate, french vanilla, yellow or white
  • icing--vanilla, chocolate
It seems like they are just trying to stick to the basics. And, you are never guaranteed to find the store properly stocked. One day they might have potatoes, cilantro and green peppers and the next you might not find any of those. I was never one of those people that would go to multiple stores to grocery shop. And the reason people do that is for sales or a they like to buy certain items at one store and their meat at another. Here I HAVE to go to two stores when I grocery shop. Not because of sales or I prefer items for either one, it is because I can't find everything I need at one store. I make a list and we go to one store first, if I find it I mark it off and if the store doesn't have it I circle the item so I can get it at the other store. It is not uncommon to not find something at either store. There are several stores here but I am not going to run all over to find a green pepper or cilantro.
Overall it is just a pain to do grocery shopping here. I wanted to explain what I mean when I am frustrated by my options. One thing I look forward to is walking down the isles at Kroger and finding anything and everything I want!

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