Adventures in food land

I have been quite ill these last two weeks. I was diagnosed with GERD and have had MANY terrible nights waking up feeling as if I was having a heart attack. The attacks are becoming more infrequent as the medicine takes affect and I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I have still been quite busy in the kitchen, making lots of goodies for my honey.
I still face the weekly frustration of not finding what I need for a certain dish at the supermarket. I really am constantly surprised at what isnt available here. I'm not even sure why many of the things arent available.
Like what is the problem with finding baking soda and cream of tartar? I know they are here (I finally got some baking soda) but it's like people over here dont use them. Why not? Do they just not bake a lot of cookies and such as we do in the US?
And chocolate chips...only ones you can find are those little bitty ones in a package half the size of the one Im used to (if you are lucky) ...and the price!?! Coconut...shredded coconut?..nope they have something like, I dunno, grains? Its great, I like it, but why dont they have shredded coconut? Marinated Artichoke hearts...I guess that was really too much to ask wasn't it?
Black beans? It's not happening. Period. (Update: I FOUND THEM...in a weird little african hair salon/grocery store in Agen. We went there to meet D's mother and sister who was getting braids in her hair...and there on the shelf...A BIG BAG OF BLACK BEANS YAYAYAY!)
Brown sugar? well I found something thats sorta dirty white, that technically could maybe be called brown sugar, but its not.
A decent salsa? NO way. The only salsa they have here is the kind that you sometimes in the states desperately buy at that all night mini mart on the corner...that never really tastes as good as the stuff you normally buy. I CRAVE southwestern salsa from Safeway. CRAVE IT!
Cilantro? They have no idea what it is.
I find mself cringing now when I want to try out a new recipe that has an ingredient that I havent yet had to search for. Especially since D still almost always goes with me to the grocery store. I can just imagine how much patience he has to exert when I go one more time on that unending quest for ANOTHER elusive ingredient. Most of the time he jumps ahead of me. "They wont have it" he says. "I'm sure of it!" :(
So some of my 'much desired to try' recipes sit and linger on the shelf without much hope of ever getting tried out, amd that chicken chimichunga recipe sounds SOOOO good! I have become the queen of making up things to replace ingredients. A few weeks ago I spent the day trying to recreate chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Nevermind that there is no way to GET chipotle peppers here. I used some dried peppers that D's mom had given me and toiled away to make the stuff...I guess it was ok. but I really wonder what those fish tacos would have tasted like if I had really used Chipotle mayonaise. LOL!
So the next time you pick up a brick of cheddar cheese at the grocery store...or a container of sour cream....Italian bread crumbs....herb and garlic feta...stewed tomatoes with italian seasoning..liptons onion soup mix...reeses peanut butter cups...mint extract...hot wing sauce...think of me.
8 comments on "Adventures in food land"
  1. Sorry to hear you've been sick and that you're having trouble finding lots of the ingredients you love.

    I have a couple of suggestions. Have you tried using crème fraîche epaisse instead of sour cream - they taste much the same to me. Also I think cilantro is what we call coriander in Australia. The one place I've seen that here is at a market stall run by a chinese family. They sell lots of chinese vegetables and herbs. Do you have local fresh produce markets or any chinese stores in your town?

    Good luck :)

  2. I hope you recover soon, what is GERD exactly, I've never heard of it?

    So far the biggest thing I miss is bread that I'm used to. I've tried 'American bread' but it seems to be really sweetened so it's disgusting. Sometimes I'd just love a piece of toast with Vegemite...

  3. penny: Ah yes, I do use creme fraiche to replace sour cream, it's not quite the same but it's better than nothing. We do have a chinese store in our town but cilantro is the leave of the coriander plant NOT the seed and they really cant be interchanged when using for mexican cooking. I am going to try to find somme seeds and grow my own. Thanks for the suggestions though. I really am trying to embrace French Cooking but I have some terrible cravings that reaar their ugly heads occasionally
    le tigre: GERD is a short way of saying acid reflux disease. Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease. I know how you feel about the bread too...what they call American bread is NOT American bread that I have known. the only thing I can use it for is to make toasted cheese sandwiches because it disguises how awful the bread is HEHE. I have been making my own and not eating many sandwiches and NO toast at all. Its just not the same here.

  4. Baking soda is considered a medicine and you used to only be able to find it in the pharmacy. They have little packages of 5 minatures "envelopes" that have the baking soda type ingredient. It is usually next to the flour which I remembering having trouble finding. Salt wasn't by the spices either. I brought a container of some from the States last time I was there. I pretty much have given up on making mexican food and just save that particular craving for trips back to the States. I've been trying to learn French cooking since the ingredients are easy to find.

  5. Oenny is correct, Cilantro is Coriander. In the UK we would ask for Coriander.

    Here is a link for making Sour Cream which seems relatively easy.

    Sorry about the reflux, my daughter has it and it's not fun.

  6. Yes cilantro is coriander. It is the leafy part. Unfortunately here when you see coriander it almost always refers to the seeds. Either sold in whole form or ground. The two (leaves and seeds) are nothing alike in taste and therefore cant be substituted. A lot of people abhr the taste of cilantro and scientist say its genetic. Some people have the gene and some dont. The ones that do think cilantro taste something like soap or somme other unpleasant substance. The people that dont have it find cilantro quite pleasing. Thanks for the easy sour cream recipes ^^

  7. with regard to the corriander seeds.

    Indian grocery stores will have them

    they are used heavily in indian cooking and you will be able to grind them up yourself in a motar and pestle - or buy them ground to save the trouble.

    here are the deatils of the biggest one in paris:

    Velan (SARL)
    83, passage Brady
    75010 Paris
    Tel: 01 42 46 06 06
    Metro: Château d'eau or Stasbourg St. Denis

  8. oh and I forgot to mention:

    with regard to the bread you could try Brioche - I know that carrefour sells it in small loaves.

    It is quite sweet - like american bread - so this might be a comprimise.

    Otherwise you could try these guys:


    they are at:20, rue Saint Paul 75004 PARIS Tel: 01 42 77 68 28 or 29

    or get your fix at one of these:


    The Real McCoy
    Largest selection of US products in Europe
    Hershey's Kisses, Reese's Pieces
    You can find it all at the REAL Mc Coy
    At 194 Rue de Grenelle 75007 (Metro: École Militaire) * Tel: 01 45 56 98 82


    McCoy Café
    The real taste of America
    Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner cooked to order
    Bagels, baguettes, burgers, speciality coffees
    At 49 avenue Bosquet 75007 * Tel: 01 45 56 00 00

    hope you have some luck!