A huge part of what I love about travelling is experiencing the different cuisines. I have become a lot braver in recent years and have started ordering things which I have no idea what they will be when they get to the table. The other night at Moranos, our favourite cafe bar, I asked the waitress what Soutzoukakia was. She had limited English and wasn’t able to explain, but she did say that it was “beautiful” so if it is beautiful then surely worthy of a try. It was really good! Meatballs – long sausage shaped meatballs, with the most amazing thick sweet tangy tomato sauce.
With us being in house sitting mode, we can’t pretend that we are on holiday constantly – Oh wouldn’t that be great though? Unfortunately the funds wouldn’t stretch to that luxury! So trips to the supermarket each week is the normal for us – just like home. But it is not a hardship! It’s like a tourist attraction for us, the humble trip to the supermarket! We just love looking at all the different things on the shelf, the fresh produce department, the meats, cheese, bread, spices, even the canned goods! The beautiful mouth-watering cakes and then the weird and wonderful things that we can’t even start to guess at what they could be! Sometimes it’s hard to work out what things actually are, and good ole google translate comes in handy. We love seeing things which are common for us but are in a different language. In France we were quite regularly “Missing In Action” – just at the Intermarche AGAIN!
It is funny how we seem to slot into using the food which is usual in the country we are in. While in France, we always had cheese and bread. Almost every meal had a cheese and bread component, even though I felt I was cooking similar to home. Now in Greece we are favouring the locally eaten produce. I am fascinated because this has not been a conscious decision, it seems to have just happened. So here in Greece we are living on pita bread and hummus, tomatoes, feta and olive oil, and drinking Ouzo (anise flavoured aperitif). The fresh produce here is outstanding and so reasonably priced. Tomatoes like you have never tasted before! We bought butter the first week and have hardly touched it, yet in France we were going through it like crazy – nothing beats a fresh baguette with butter, so simple yet so divine! I suppose it all depends on what is available.
In Asia we ate out almost all the time, it is so cheap that it was almost not worth cooking at home, and boy can they get the flavours right, so much better than anything I could cook at home! But this didnt stop our trips to the supermarket. Probably the most fascinating grocery shelves we have seen. Oh and the food markets in Asia – WOW, so much to see and smell! Little lady sitting cross legged on the bench chopping meat, with the biggest cleaver, in front of her while babies sleep behind her, chickens with heads, chickens with no heads, live, unrecognisable seafood in buckets swimming on top of each other, little girls selling plates of dried crickets and grasshoppery looking bugs! Its a feast of all the senses.
Some of the house sits we have done in Asia have had quite primitive cooking facilities, so eating out has been a good option. But at USD$1.50 for 2 fried eggs on toast with coffee, or $2 for a bowl of stir fried veg, who wouldn’t. It is such a social thing too, the motorbike kitchens all gather in the same area and start cooking, you sit on tiny child sized plastic chairs, or on mats on the ground, and all sit around eating and laughing and being together. So cool!!
Brazil! Brazil was the carnivores dream! Meat meat and more meat! All you can eat meat! Yumm. 600g streak. Pork roasted, stewed, chops, ribs ….. burgers and more burgers. We did miss the fresh veg and salad there but hey! When in rome! Delicious! And we drank Cachaca! (fermented sugarcane juice – blows your head off)
Italy next….what’s the bet we end up cooking a lot of pasta!! And will no doubt drink Limoncello!