Sunday, October 31, 2010

Food and shopping for food

There are many similarites and many differences when it comes to the food here in Poland. Shopping can be different. In the city there are tiny and medium grocery markets all over. There are also several outdoors fruit and vegetable markets. I would like to know where they get their fresh produce, as it looks incredible fresh and beautiful, but i am pretty sure they are not growing kiwi or bananas in Poland in October. It is fun to walk through these area's looking at all the different vendor's all selling mostly the same thing and decide who has a better price or better product. At the mall there is a larger grocery store and that is where we have gone to stock up for 2-3 days of food. It is about the size of a smaller Albertsons, but is huge by Polish standards. We have really only bought food for 2-3 days at a time for a few reasons. 1-we will be moving apartments and it is better to have less on hand when we move. 2-it has been fun to eat out here with all the different foods. 3-we are walking, so we can only buy what we can carry between us. There are alot of helping hands, but alot of mouths to feed as well. A difference here is you have to buy your grocery bags, even the cheap plastic ones cost, but they also sell larger, better plastic ones. Or you bring your own bag, which is what most people do. We bring our backpacks and load them up, then we still have hands free to carry something else or to help with kids, or push the stroller, which we also stuff with food next to and under Matthew.

It has been fun trying to figure out what certain foods or products are. I'll ask David to translate the package, but he sometimes only translates part of the package. In one instance we were looking for plastic sandwich bags and i asked David what the box said, and he replied "small bags, 150 count" so we bought the box. I remember thinking at the time, why is there a martini drink on the box. Well when it came time to use a bag I pulled the tear away strip to open the box, and under the tear away strip was the directions on how to use the bags--with pictures. I couldn't see this part in the store as the strip was covering, but when i saw it I knew exactly what the bags were for-and it wasn't sandwiches. So I took the box to David and asked him again to translate the box without showing him what the strip had covered. And he read the box this time and said " Oh, little bags for ice." Well, now i know why there was a martini drink on the box, and if he had just read the whole box at the store we wouldn't have bought it. But these are the fun things of being somewhere new!

They have lots of cheese here, much is different than home, and if it is the same as home, I often don't know it because the names in Polish are not the same in English. But all of the cheese is white cheese. Well I have children that love macaroni and cheese made with a regular (to us) cheddar- orange cheese. So David and I set out to find some cheddar. We asked at the stores we had been to, but they didn't know what cheddar cheese was. We did find it at one store, but although it is packaged as cheddar, it is really kraft singles of american cheese. To us, that is not cheddar. After a little research online we were led to a big grocery store a little further from the city center. It is bigger the store at the mall, but not by much. And they had a cheddar similar cheese that they called mimolette. I had already made a mac and cheese earlier in the week with i am not sure what kind of cheese, it was pretty good, but next time i will be able to use cheddar for my children that would prefer it. Bacon was another thing we couldn't find. They sell it, but not packed in slices like in the US, but in uncut chunks. So last night for dinner i chopped up bacon to fry for small bacon pieces to put in with my pasta and spinach dish. It is a bit of a challenge shopping and cooking, but it is a fun challenge in figuring out how to tweak my recipes and then find the ingredients here.

Another interesting food story. We have been trying lots of different cookies, and I had bought this particular brand that was delicious, well we wanted to try their different flavors. David had brought home a different flavor and it was a yummy cherry, so while we were at the store again we looked at the different kinds, and 2 of them had martini glasses on the label next to the flavor (including the cherry which we had previously tried). I wondered why, surely there isn't alcohol in cookies that kids would eat. Well, the kind i wanted to get had a martini glass and the word advocat next to the glass and a nut. I thought maybe that is the name of the nut. David didn't know what the word meant, so we asked another shopper on the same aisle, and she kindly informed us that the word is a kind of alchol drink. So we asked her did that mean the alcohol is in the cookies and she told us yes it is. Well, apparently we tried the alcohol cookies without knowing it. We're glad that the kind we really like is alcohol free, but we won't be trying the other flavors or the cherry again. We have to watch the candies too, and many of them have alcohol in them as well. Some that we bought to give the kids for Halloween have it, and after the cookie incident I had to check the candies and found that we will have less Halloween candy then i had planned, as it had to be thrown away. There is definitely an adjustment in shopping and food. Who would think that a candy would have the same alcohol % level as a beer.

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