"Ribs. BBQ ribs."
"With corn bread, green beans and mashed potatoes."
"Gyros with pita and hummus."
This could be any conversation Cale and I have had in the last, well, two years. Or any conversation we have had with any other Peace Corps in that time as well.
You get two Peace Corps together in a room and you can guarantee a conversation about food. All topics eventually turn to food. Mostly we reminisce about food items we most miss, not that there isn't a variety of foods here. With all the new grocery stores stocking lots of imports, the selection has expanded greatly from only three years ago. When we first arrived, two years ago, the older groups told us that all the grocery stores we would come to rely on were new in the last year or two. What were those kids doing before Farmer Joe's and Ming and Hanna's? There will be new kids in October and they will be here to witness the opening of the new Lucky Foodtown. Will they even understand the previous groups' food dreams?
The tricky parts of imported food selections are they are often expensive and also cater to the Kiwi and Aussie sensibilities. We learned quite quickly there are few Mexicans in New Zealand, so their selection of Mexican foods are limited and not the best quality. Also, I would just like to point out that tomato sauce and ketchup are not the same. You are not allowed to call that ketchup and stop dipping your fries in it.
I have mentioned the ubiquitous breakfast cracker before. I have yet to figure it out. They are large, square, thick, dry crackers. I usually see them spread with butter or jam. They don't look the least bit appetizing. Why a cracker for breakfast? On the other hand, try finding a graham cracker in this country. I wanted some for the crust of Cale's Samoan Lime Pie, but they weren't to be had. I settled for a bag of crumble topping, like what you would use on an apple crumble. It turned out really well.
However, I have wandered off course here.
Sometimes I dream about food. Sometimes Cale and I fantasize up dream food tours for our return to America. Flat Branch burgers in Columbia. BBQ ribs at some road side joint somewhere in the South. Media noches at the Black Bean Deli in Orlando.
One benefit to our limited food choices is the growth in our culinary repertoire (and by our, I mean Cale's). He's perfected his alfredo and carbanara. We think our homemade tortillas are better than store bought (though, at this point, who remembers?) He's made bagels and perogies. I've made breads and pies. Of course, we have the benefit of an oven, unlike most PCs in country.
I imagine my return home will also include the return of the weight I lost here. It only took me 10 days to gain five pounds in New Zealand last year. Just imagine what will happen when I ham back around restaurants and goat cheese long term.