Monday, 18 March 2013

Trauma in the aisles!

A little dramatic perhaps, but the dark clouds and fierce winds blowing outside are a good metaphor for my internal state just now!  Yesterday delivered what I believe is called a rude awakening!

It was my second trip round a supermarket since I started to think about my weekly shop, mentally picking out what I buy when in UK.  My first trip, I realised my love of international cuisine was going to be challenged: no curry powder, no tortilla wraps, no coconut milk and the herbs and spices section was less than 20% what you would see in UK.

This second trip, I set my sights a bit lower and focussed on the staples, only to be met by more disappointment: no fruit squash, no frozen chicken, no tinned soup and what I did find in terms of tinned tuna and packs of minced beef were easily 3 times the price I'd pay in Sainsbury's.  I know it's only food and it's not like my friends are going to let me starve out here, but the reality of not being able to make, eat and drink even the basics I live off in UK has really unsettled me.  I am coming to realise that it's not that it will be nice to learn to cook Italian out here: it's essential for survival!

So what do Italian supermarkets fill their shelves with?  Well, it's certainly not an indulgent range of fantastic chocolate, which I could have accepted as a trade off for a world food aisle!  Nope, here you find entire aisles dedicated to endless varieties of pasta, assorted dried bread snacks and I have never seen so many options when it comes to tinned tomatoes!

"But of course," some of you will be thinking, "you're in Italy: bread, pasta, tomatoes all the way!  Embrace it!"  The problem is, as discussed in my post on Food glorious food! carbohydrates are a no-no for me and I am not a fan of tomatoes!  So I may be forced to live off new flavours of old favourites!

Tuna philadelphia anyone?

Lychee or papaya tic tacs = part of my 5 a day?

There is a glimmer of hope (can't believe I'm about to say this!): Lidl!  As I understand they have the same products in their stores across Europe so perhaps I may bump into a bottle of soy sauce or even a pack of bacon in there.  My friends however have informed me they cannot be seen in Lidl and will be staying in the car while I check it out - strangely reassuring that some things stay the same!

Oh and just incase you you're thinking of telling me to get on with it and try some new ingredients, I'll leave you with a picture of these bad boys at the fishmongers!

Polpo grosso (literally "big fat octopus"!)
P.S. This "Top 5 tips tips on having a happy expat life" popped up alongside my emails today.  I think someone knew I needed a pep-talk!

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