Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Canned Salmon: The Thrill of the Hunt

Canned salmon for me, seedless black olives for dh, Mountain Dew for the kiddos, and we’re talking one happy family. It’s funny how little it takes to turn a simple grocery excursion to the city into a big thrill. I mean, canned salmon! Did you catch that?
Disclaimer: Let me apologize in advance to anyone suffering from a true craving that can’t be satisfied right now. Some of you have much more limited shopping than I do. Here’s a (((hug))) for you.
When we first starting living here, we were on temporary visas, requiring a “border run” to the U.S. (900 miles / 24 + hours in the car) every six months. Those were tedious, but at least I could fill the back of the van with non-essentials like cream style corn, cheddar cheese, and some American cereals.
One time I got so desperate for cheddar in between visa renewals that we piled all seven kids in the van and drove five hours - one way - to the Sam’s Club in Puebla to buy cheese. Then we got in the car and drove all the way back. In case you ever wondered if I really am nuts, this should confirm your suspicions. Other things were going on at the time, making a day trip well worth the time and expense, but still….
Nowadays there are very few things we cannot find down here. I am thankful for our very own Sam’s Club, only an hour away, with at least a few American brands and luxuries when we choose to splurge. What keeps it interesting is that the stock is forever changing. Sometimes they have an item for a very limited time, and all the gringos go overboard buying whatever it is.
Whenever I have used moderation in buying a new treasure, I have regretted it when I return a few weeks later to find it sold out, never to return. Once, for instance, I found Triscuits. Never saw them after that day. Another time they had Frosted Mini-Wheats, and having learned my lesson, I bought more than one. Now they seem to stock them regularly, and I don’t have to risk hoarding stale boxes of cereal.
The exciting bonus about the salmon and olives is that they are manufactured in Mexico, and the cans are in Spanish. Now we can add that to the long list of things to take for granted. As for the Mountain Dew? I’m afraid it will go the way of Root Beer and Dr. Pepper, just making an occasional appearance to tease us.
So, what kind of treasures have you found lately? What do you ask visitors to bring you from the U.S.? My list is shorter all the time.
Tomorrow I leave for the U.S. with plans to return August 15. My suitcase will have canned pumpkin, Triscuits, chocolate chips, schoolbooks, vitamins and nutritional supplements, and mineral makeup. The kids will each have a new pair of shoes and jeans that we can’t find to fit down here. No need to pack a pantry any more like the old days.
IRL* A few more days, and I’ll be at Stuff Mart; no big thrill there, but everything on the shelf where it belongs. (Not that I’m complaining!)
Next Week: I have invited a Guest Blogger to take my place while I too busy being a MOG to blog! Please welcome my df, visit her blog, and leave her lots of comments.


  1. Uh-oh. I think my posts got mixed up a bit. Sorry about that. This should have been next week's post, since I'm not leaving until August 4th, not tomorrow. Now my guest blogger can rest easy. She'll be joining us in two weeks, not one.

  2. In Africa, I used to crave corn chips and Burger King Whoppers! And good dill pickles.

    Now, back in the US, I miss Africa's tasty fresh fruits and vegetables, affordable avocados, and thick tilapia fillets.

    Have a great trip, Jamie Jo!


  3. We're back in the US currently, but in Paraguay, I don't have to "order" much from the US anymore...just coffee and a few spices. Otherwise I can get anything I need for scratch cooking right there. Only when I get back to the US do I start craving things I had forgotten about! :)
    Have a great trip, Jamie Jo!

  4. O that's funny! Each country I've lived in has had different "cravings" according to what we couldn't get there. (Believe it or not, in Honduras I craved peas!)

    Oh how I remember those border trips. Ugh! I remember one trip when I was a kid where we only crossed the border, went to Wendy's and Wal-Mart and drove all the way back again that night. My parents couldn't stand to stay longer.

    My husband is in the States right now and has a long list to bring back. Books are the biggest thing on our list. Chocolate chips and pudding always head the list as well. The kids each have their favorites like Hamburger Helper, Smarties, Blo-pops Minis, and Honey Buzzers cereal.

    Our list, too, gets smaller each year as more things show up on the shelves down here. I'm with you, though, on not buying in moderation! I found A1 sauce on sale here once and cleared the shelf! (We have 4 cases of Mountain Dew in our closet right now from the recent appearance at SAM's.)

  5. I'm afraid my list is to long! And it doesn't help that when I go to America I discover new things so then they get added to the future lists! A few things that we enjoy are Ice Tea Blend tea bags, cream cheese, coffee flavorings (this is a new item), books, clothing, just to name a few. This week I pulled out a bag of tea bags and made a gallon. Ugh . . . what does that taste like? Only to discover they must have been in the box that also holds my extra spices. So now we have iced tea with a bit of cinnamon and other spices flavor. Not exactly my idea of good 'ole southern iced tea!!

  6. Okay, maybe I'll add some tea bags to the list, too. Note to self: put any spices in a separate suitcase. (I am bringing down some Mrs. Dash seasonings for a friend.)

    Oh, and candy. Yes, the kids will certainly be slipping some of their favorites in, too.

    Off-topic, could y'all please pray for me? I'm down with Dengue Fever, and I'm leaving next Thursday. Thanks.

  7. Heading for my first furlough next week - looking forward to eating pork. And apples that weren't stored with moth balls! I'm so surprised that I haven't missed dairy products while overseas...though I'm sure I'll be indulging soon enough.
    Planning to bring back lots of spices, teas, (thanks for tip to keep separate), mosquito repellants, swim/snorkeling gear (yeah! there are some pleasures with island life!), clothes and shoes and lots of kitchen utensils/accessories. While I truly want to be content with the small sacrifices necessary, I wonder if I'll keep the contentedness when I'm in the land of plenty preparing to come back overseas! Oh my!
    I am praying for you now Jamie Jo. So sorry for the dengue fever!

  8. Cravings change as to where we live. We are planning a trip back to Ukr aine this autumn and we are already planning what goodies we are going to bring back: good black tea, mustard, horseradish, spices for certain foods & probably walnuts. In our current location, we can get some of that, but it's hard to find and very expensive. We recently purchased IBC rootbeer, DP & Mtn Dew--just enough for us each to have one can.

    From the US we crave Tex-Mex--especially corn chips & taco shells. We recently bought 2 bags of corn chips here & have enjoyed one meal with them. Yum! But at $8/bag, we have to take it easy so we are stretching out the goodness. :)

    JJ, I hope you and your kids are all feeling better before you leave on Thursday! I'll be praying for you all. Do you have carbon tablets? (Oh! That's another thing we plan to buy in Ukr aine. Can't find it here.) :) Take care and have fun, fun, fun! in the States!

  9. My dh just enjoyed a Mountain Dew that a friend/miss brought him from the States last week! Funny, he said it didn't taste as great as he remembered it! Guess that's the years of being away from it!

    My list seems to get shorter as the years go by, but a few things are constants like maple extract for making syrup!

  10. Sounds like the Sam´s in Costa Rica! I am amazed at how many things are imported but also at the price. Usually I just stick with national brands and lots of fresh fruit and veggies. It is nice to have Cheddar cheese though now that we are in the states. A cheese that actually melts! I miss the Costa Rican papayas and pineapples and mangoes and coffee a lot though, probably more than I ever missed the cheese!

    The only thing I have ever asked for anyone to bring to me in the 5 years I was in Costa Rica was Cream of Wheat. I was pregnant with my first and the ONLY thing I wanted to eat was bland old Cream of Wheat and french fries(not together though)!

    Praying for you health and trip.


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