Monday, January 19, 2009

Net-Culture Shock -food

On Jan 6th I have been in Mexico for 6 months now. I feel like half a year is a good time to reflect on what Iv learned and how much I still have to learn. The main topics of my growth have involved being pregnant, food, children, and interaction with people, Spanish, and dealing with business. I don’t like each post to get to long so that people can read only on topics of interest to them so each of these topics will be discussed in different posts.

As many who have visited Mexico or know someone who had the food is usually the highlight of the stay down here. And aside from what his aunt would lead me to believe most of it is relatively easy to make. I have yet to attack the tamales process yet but some day I will. His aunt whom I spoke of earlier is a wonderful cook; she feeds us every time we go to her house. This is the most I can say that is positive about her.  When we have something out there that seems exceptionally yummy or that looks like I can cook it at home a later day, I use to ask her to please write down how she made it. Every time I ask she says that she would have to show me something first, either how to wash a specific veggie or how to cut a type of meat, or how to what ever. At first I was angry about it then I asked Issac if maybe she can’t read and write. Hey I’m not just assuming because she Mexican its more common even in the states than most people think. It’s something that comes to mind due to my nursing background. But he said no that she is prob just being difficult. So for most of those dishes Im waiting until his mom is around to ask her to write down a recipe for me, and Iv asked his sister to e-mail me some.
The biggest shock to me when I started trying to cook was being unable to find “normal” items at the grocery store. This went for baking and cooking normal dinners. First I would have to try and translate the food names but even then you just can’t find some of the stuff you need here. As far as baking goes for example there are few bake mixes here. Sure they have the cake mixes, and pancake mixes, and recently I have found mixes for tortillas. But the cake mixes are pretty expensive, and the pancake mixes can really only be used for pancakes they are really sweet, and I have found that buying fresh tortillas is so worth it. We bought a tortilla press but I’m supposing it was a cheaper brand because it only presses the tortillas halfway. I told Issac until he gets me a new one we will have to spend the extra grocery money to buy the fresh ones at the grocery store. I was supper siked the day I was giving the recipe for bisquick, and other recipes to use it in. This has been working out well. I just make a batch the size of one of the md boxes and put it in some Tupperware and use it like normal. Its actually so easy and cost effective I think more people in the States should do it. I actually just used it to make my birthday cake. Other things for example that you won’t find are cans of Rotel, biscuits in a can, blocks of cheddar cheese or most yellow cheeses. With the cheese it’s a come and go kinda thing, we see it there sometimes and others not. This week we actually asked at the deli for some because I needed it for a specific recipe. She brought out packaged Kraft sandwich sliced Cheddar cheese. This is the oddest thing; we opened it as soon as we got home to eat a little because it has been some time since we have gotten our hands on any. Im telling you the truth when I say this was American sliced cheese with extra yellow color. It looked the same color as Cheddar but texture and taste was American. What’s up with that Kraft, why try to fool the Mexicans?
The greatest thing about food here is all the street food and I went into detail about that in a different post so I won’t again but I did have to mention it here. This comes into the culture shock thing because it is literally on every street corner. A lot of people sell home made stuff right outside their door step, and others push around carts full of yummies. Coming from a place that the FDA is so strict you can’t even feed the homeless with out a lic now this seems strange and untrustworthy. But we haven’t gotten food poisoning yet and I love that we can randomly stop on the side of the street and grab some grub. Even the nice restaurants are not too expensive where I live. Issac and I can go out on a nice date for $500 peso or less. This includes dinner, drink and desert.
Speaking of pesos this come up a lot when grocery shopping. It took me at least 4 or 5 months to get use to thinking in Peso and not always trying to convert to the Dollar to decide if something is cheep or expensive. This meaning I have only been doing better at it for a month or so now, so this may be hard for me to explain. I wouldn’t have understood until after it started to hit me while shopping. See comparing does no good if what you make and therefore your budget is in Peso. Also it really still makes no sense to me why some things are more expensive here and others are so much cheaper by comparison, but trying to figure all that out while shopping gets old quick. So now I just take our budgeted peso amount and do the best I can with it at the store. We have done much better with our budget even now that I have shifted my thinking. For the most part unless your just here for vacation it is pointless to try and compare what the price would be in the States. I finally had to tell myself, “Your not in the States, Amanda, that’s why.” So my whys are slowing down and there fore shopping and cooking are coming much smother at this time.
For the most part I feel that I’m adjusting well to the new foods and ways of cooking. We even found “real” ice cream the other day. Most places have what is more like fruit ice, or butter ice cream, or what they call normal ice cream but its sour. We actually found a place that has what I consider to be Ice cream (milky and creamy). I’m not sure I could explain it better is just something you’d have to taste for yourself.
I think that’s about it for the food part. Hope it was interesting to read.

1 comment:

  1. I love the food here. Love it!

    Taco stands and street vendors are my favorite. Not sick yet!

    I tried to find flour to make Challah. No luck.