Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mystery Meats and the American Food Aisle

Dinners have been a bit of a challenge here. Well, they are back in Reno too, but that’s because our kids have some super-strong mutated form of Greg’s picky gene. Here, we have that to deal with along with several additional hurdles to jump over before dinner is even served. First hurdle - what to serve. Second hurdle - how to make it.

We were told there was silverware in the apartment, but upon arriving we realized that it was the Chinese version of silverware – chopsticks and soup spoons. So after stirring my coffee with a chop stick the first morning, we decided we needed some supplies. During our first trip to Carrefour, we found the “American” section of food. Similar to the American version of Asian or Latino food sections, it’s a short aisle with various things like pasta, pasta sauce, pancake mixes, ketchup, and (insert choir chorus here) macaroni and cheese! Picky eaters unite! We grabbed some spaghetti and sauce, a couple boxes of macaroni and cheese (kraft!), and some peanut butter and honey.

After opening up the can of spaghetti sauce with a wine foil knife because the apartment had no can opener, we all devoured our simple, one-pot spaghetti dinner. We have one pot and one fry pan, so if I can do it all in one, I’m going to. I even used a potato peeler to cut off bits of cheddar cheese to put on top. Hey, adventurous times sometimes call for creative measures.

I know it doesn’t seem possible, but I feared we would tire of things like spaghetti and hot dogs with mac and cheese, so I thought I would try a couple of new things at the store. So, on our second trip to the big mega-mart grocery store, I went up and down some different aisles. I stood in the bulk rice section for about 10 minutes watching other shoppers until I figured out how to get, weigh, and price your rice before I actually tried it. It was fascinating to watch people maneuver around these huge bins of rice. They would run their hands through it, inspect it very closely, and then sometimes walk away with about 10 pounds or so (after getting it weighed and priced by the store worker nearby). It took some of my famous (infamous?) hand gestures and pointing to get it weighed appropriately, but I did it! I proudly placed my little bag of rice among my other items, and as I continued on, there was a little spring in my step.

Then in the freezer section, I found these:


Yeah, your guess is as good as mine as to what these are. Mystery meat at its finest! And to be honest, these yummy little, um, pita pockets stuffed pizzas, things looked nothing on the inside like they advertise them in this picture. It was more like a little monochromatic sausage patty. Frankly, I bought them because of the back of the package:


Hot damn! The one piece of English on the package told me how to cook it! For dinner tonight, I made the rice, which honestly turned out to be some of the best rice I have ever had in my life, and these, uh, things. Of course, the kids didn’t eat anything but a few bites of rice. This inherited picky gene must be something that loses potency with age because Greg finished theirs off, no problem.

We also found one other little gem. These:


We each had one last night. Greg, Braedyn, Emily, and me. That’s four. Oooh, there are two left, and the kids are in bed! Gotta go!


  1. I would just eat the ice cream. Nothing but the ice cream.

  2. I'll eat virtually anything, so the menu wouldn't be a problem for me. My wife and kid might starve, though. But the language and culture barriers you guys are working so hard to hurdle would drive me nuts. I'm so proud of you!