It’s already 2 weeks into the new year, and slowly, supermarkets are starting to stack up on products again. Before, many shelves had been empty, fruit and vegetables seemed quite rotten. But at least there was a sense of community while we were all browsing through mushy tomatoes to find a few good ones. Chitchat shouldn’t be underestimated, right?
Yesterday I spent an hour hunting down 3 jars of unsweetened yogurt, one of the few essentials I feel I can barely live without. Which is crap, of course, I mean, I have never heard of anyone dying of yogurt shortage, but hey, you never know.
In a previous post, I already expressed my frustration about the daily grocery hunt. However, since then I feel that things here have improved, we actually get more stuff more frequently, and I have no idea why (certainly not because of my little blogpost, but it almost seemed like magic!). But still, some days should be avoided when it comes to grocery shopping, like payday on every 1st and 15th of the month or apparently the beginning of a new year, that’s when you have to queue up for hours, yet end up getting nothing.
And while this fact can be annoying, it also makes me realize how spoilt we all are being used to getting anything anytime. In Seattle, we were very lucky to have a World Market just around the corner, so we could even buy German gingerbread and marzipan for Christmas. And yes, it is nice to get a touch of home every now and then. As long as it is only now and then, because otherwise, things become ordinary and we enjoy them much less. Same goes for produce, I find. I don’t want to eat strawberries all year round, even though it is possible. For me, strawberries require sunshine, eating them in winter feels just wrong.
Here, I came to appreciate some things more than I did before. Like the other day when I discovered stroopwafels, most delicious Dutch caramel wafers that always take me back to a dreary autumn day in a suburb of Amsterdam where I met with a colleague to sort things out for a big promotion. There we were in this large, dusty warehouse, getting things into order while it was the raindrops kept lashing against the window panes and the cold crept in, and we felt tired and terribly dirty, and then this lady popped up with mugs of hot tea and stroopwafels that we placed on top of the cups so the caramel got all soft and chewy inside – it tasted like heaven.
So now I spotted them here and bought a pack (yes, I restrained myself!), but I know this is like a one-time thing only and not the standard assortment, and actually, I am glad for they remain special and this is something so rare nowadays! We are so used to having access to everything all the time that everything has become more common.
I remember when I was little and we were travelling to England, we were always looking forward to Maltesers, those little round things that have crunchy biscuit on the inside and milk chocolate on the outside, and to Walkers shortbread. I don’t know why but English sweets always tasted so much better than what we had in Germany. .
A few years later, I was excited to see that you could actually buy Maltesers and shortbread in Germany, too, but the truth is that they became just ordinary things after a while. Well, luckily, I suppose, otherwise I would have turned into a big fat Malteser ball myself!
So yes, undoubtedly there are a few things that I would like to have access to on a daily basis, like e.g. unsweetened yogurt. Other things I learned to make myself like bagels which frankly are a pain in the a** to make, BUT our Sunday bagels now are a real treat. (Come to think of it, maybe I should get out my old yogurt maker and make my own yogurt again…) And with other things I just have to be patient and wait until we are in the respective country again – which is not too bad given that some things never taste right anywhere else, like Swiss cheese fondue. Which we can buy here, by the way, but only the instant version that Mr. R. and I snobbishly sneer at.
How about you? Do you miss things from home? Or do you actually feel you get to appreciate some things more because you cannot get them just anytime?