Monday, September 15, 2008

food withdrawls

Since we've lived in Malaysia I've realized there are certain things that I'm just not willing to live without.  Food, mostly, that I am willing to spend any amount of money to make certain it stays in our kitchen.  One that is obvious to anyone who knows me is cereal.  And not what the locals call cereal...when you walk down the cereal aisle you can't see anything that doesn't have chocolate as the main ingredient.  yech.  At least not until you get to the imported cereals that I buy, things like Raisin Bran and Quaker Oatmeal Squares and Life and Granola.  Ahh, there's the good stuff.  So of course I spend more than I would in Utah on cereal, but still try to stay modest in my spending.  It's only a rare treat when I'll splurge for Cheerios (about $7) or Crispix (about $8). 

So anyway, that's my cereal issues.  There are other things that I wouldn't dream about buying when we first arrived here that have now become somewhat regular purchases.  There is a to-DIE-for yogurt that comes from Australia that costs me about $8 that I only bought to spoil myself every so often when I was pregnant, but that now is in our fridge on a regular basis.  I also lived without berries for the most part during our first year here and would only buy them very rarely to make a certain dish.  They usually cost anywhere from $5-10 for one of those little 1/2cup clam shells.  But now if I'm craving raspberries, by crackey, I won't even think twice as I place them in my cart.  The same thing goes for cheese, or pretty much any dairy item you can think of.  (Last week I spent almost $10 for a bag of pizza-blend shredded cheese).  Basically I can't live without cereal, berries & dairy of any kind.
So it made me wonder, what are the things other people couldn't live without?  If you were moving to another country and found that you couldn't get things you wanted there, what would you be stockpiling in your suitcases to make it through a year?  Twizzlers?  Butterfingers?  Popcorn?  Wheat germ?  Craisins?  (That was one thing we had to bring back here with us--a giant Costco-size back of Craisins--and those extra pounds were totally worth it.)  Or maybe you couldn't do without your Mac makeup or Carter brand baby clothes?  I'm curious what items YOU would be willing to pay three times more than usual for after months of deprivation.  And I'm not even going to mention how much I spend on Ben & Jerry's when I need to indulge.  (Ok, I'll tell you.  Once in Singapore I paid $13...and yes, that was on a pint.  I was 7 months pregnant, so sue me). 

Or maybe you've lived in other countries and have stories of how much you paid for certain things you couldn't live without? I'm anxious to hear them so bring it on.


  1. I agree about the whole cereal thing. I love it. You can eat it at any time! In Italy I didn't like how the milk was so different. It came in a box and you usually didn't drink it plain. I made sure to have cereal on hand too. :)

  2. i agree about the milk, tam. we buy boxed shelf-milk here (cause it's cheaper & more convenient) but it definitely doesn't taste the same and i wouldn't be caught dead drinking just a straight glass of milk here. sigh...cookies just aren't the same with a tall, cold glass of water.

  3. We had a big stock of canned pumpkin in our cupboard. We kept saving it to make the perfect pumpkin pie but rarely seemed to get around to it (I guess occasionally at THanksgiving). We also missed cereal like crazy. The U.K. has about 6 kinds of cereal and no more (CHeerios, Cornflakes, Wheatabix - just boring stuff). I got so sick of the six brands I stopped eating cereal but did not stop craving it. Cream of Wheat was another one I always asked visitors to bring as well as Jell-o and pudding. We ended up rationing these items so much that when we moved out, we had loads of Jell-o, pumpkin and Cream of Wheat we just gave away. My advice, just eat it, don't horde it. I have also paid $8 for a box of saltines but I was pregnant and would do it again. However, I eventually stopped craving most items from the states since we were in the U.K. for so long. I am now craving items from the U.K. I am never satisfied....

  4. I wasn't in Japan for very long, but it was long enough to really crave peanut butter and milk. The boxed milk there always tasted strongly of corn, and the peanut butter was very expensive (and really should have been labeled 'peanut jelly'). In Mexico I was surprised that root beer and ranch flavoring (dressing, Doritos, etc) haven't caught on. There were always plenty of yummy substitutes, though. I still cheer whenever I run across salt and lime flavored Fritos here in the States.

  5. heather...i second that--anything flavored with lime is aces in my book.
    joyce...that is perfect advice! extremely appropriate in our case--i actually have a can of pumpkin we've had in the cupboard since last thankgsiving! and i can see myself missing things from here, especially mangoes and mangosteens and roti canai and butter chicken and pad thai, i'm really hungry now.

  6. In England I would find myself craving Mexican food every once in a while and would end up paying about 10 pounds (20 bucks) for a can of refried beans, some tortillas, and some salsa. Mexican food isn't even my favorite, but I guess when you can't have something you want it even more.