When I went from working days to working in the evenings, I thought the hardest thing to get used to was always thinking about food. What I was going to make, when I was going to make it, who would be eating. Here, by far the language barrier is the hardest part of being in Spain but making food comes in a very close second. The packages are not in English. Most of the pictures I can decipher but not all. But the thing is, even if I knew what the food was, I am having a hard time figuring out what to DO with it. And when I DO figure out what to do with it, the kids don’t like it and are asking me several times a day for a snack. Usually, before the meal dishes are even cleaned up. Which, by the way, makes me come unglued!
During my first few visits to the stores I was surprised at how few healthy food options there were. And I’m not a health nut, not by any means, but I found a lot of doughnuts, chocolate covered graham crackers, cured meats, cold cereal, etc. I was looking for dried fruit, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, pasta. But what I’ve come to realize is that the food here doesn’t tell me what it could be. There is no box of pancake mix announcing “I am pancake mix!” Instead I need to buy the ingredients to make pancakes. There is no hummus – I need to buy the beans and try to make my own. There is not a can of Alfredo sauce announcing itself, I need to make it. I did find the pasta though! I still haven’t found any vanilla or baking soda to make chocolate chip cookies; which then I would need to figure out measurements and visit the China store for measuring cups/spoons anyways. The girls have tried nearly every kind of yogurt I have run across; a few have been well received. And I like the fresh fish market on our street — although the shop keepers have no interest in playing charades with me so making purchases is a bit frustrating. Maybe soon, when we get the internet I will have a better chance at making more diverse meal plans.