Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or Twelve Treats I Miss

I eat well here. Really well. Loads of food from loads of cultures, and I can buy most items that I use to cook. And with those I can't, I've learned to improvise and be creative. So I don't often have food-from-home cravings, particularly because I now truly realize how much of the food in America is processed and chemically modified/added/subtracted/diluted/altered beyond recognized form. And we wonder why two-thirds of the country is overweight or obese. But today as I was planning for a costume party I'm throwing this weekend, several things came to mind that made me think, "Gee, I wish I had that." And for which there is no substitute. None. Furthermore, most of these items are not things that can be sent either because they will break into a million tiny pieces, or, well, you'll see. Perhaps that's part of why I miss them so much- they can't be had, even in care packages. So, I made a list. I am not including in this list chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, brown sugar, molasses, or vanilla extract because even though they are nowhere to be found, they are sent to me faithfully by friends and family, so seriously, I have more of those 6 items combined than I would ever have in my kitchen in America. Feelin the love!

In no particular order outside of how my brain came up with them...
1) Ginger Ale. Gosh I miss this so much. Especially when I want to make punch.
2) Wheat Thins. Romania doesn't do crackers so much, and I can't even tell you how much I would pay for a box of Wheat Thins to eat all by myself.
3) Graham Crackers. See above.
4) Donuts. Oh my word what I wouldn't do for a Krispy Kreme glazed donut.
5) Reese Peanut Butter Cups. These were sent to me in a care package recently (thanks DRod!), in a bagged mix of several kinds of candy bars. I told my roommate, "I'm sorry, I like to share with you, but this is where my generosity stops. Eat anything else. Just. Not. These."
6) Chex. As in the cereal. Rice, corn, and wheat. You know why? Homemade Chex Mix.
7) Bagels. I'm a New Yorker. 'Nuf said.
8) Oreos. Yum yum yum. There is NO replacement or substitute.
9) Tortilla Chips. Corn products basically don't exist here. Which is really good in some ways (e.g., sodas are sweetened with sugar and not corn syrup- SICK, America, SICK), but can't a girl get a bag of tortilla chips at least??
10) Mexican Food. All of it. I want it. All. My teammate Hollie made enchiladas FROM SCRATCH a few weeks ago. Like the tortillas and everything. I told her she can make them every day and I would eat them. Every day.
11) Quinoa. I do get this in care packages occasionally, but this is my favorite grain, and I would easily eat it 3 times a week if I could.
12) Canned Chicken Broth. I may be missing it, but I don't think you can buy chicken broth here. I'm sorry, bouillon cubes just aren't the same.

And that about sums it up. There are certainly others (a good cheeseburger, a good slice of pizza), but those are the biggies. This is definitely not "woe is me" AT ALL, because like I said, I eat really well. But just in case you're wondering what particular items I miss, now you know. How about you? If you've lived abroad, what foods did you most miss from America?

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