Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving in another country: Part 1

Ahhh, the holidays.

First, a list of things the commissary does not have in stock:

1. Sweet potatoes
2. Green beans
3. Heavy cream
4. Crunchy onions to go on top of green bean casserole...you know the ones. The best part.
5. Cinnamon AH-HA! Found a secret stash in a "baking display" towards the back. Nonchalantly reached for one so as not to attract attention. We don't need a mob situation happening back here. Kept a close eye on my cart. Was sure someone would go to great lengths to steal such a commodity. Did not tell ANYONE where I found it. Avoided all eye contact for the rest of the shopping trip. Every man for himself, you guys.
6. Pie crusts
7. Sour cream

Now these were just the things on MY list that I couldn't find. I can't even imagine trying to search for things like "turkey" or "ham". Or dinner rolls of any type. OR BUTTER.

This is the "problem" (I know, I know...rich person problem) with having just one grocery store for thousands of people. In the states you're all like "Ugh, Publix doesn't have a great selection of turkeys...Now I'm going to have to haul ACROSS THE STREET to Kroger (and you know how much I hate that Kroger ever since they renovated the store and changed the aisles all around...I don't have time to learn a new grocery store layout!) to look at THEIR turkeys. MY DAY IS RUINED!"

Here, it's like..."Hmmm. No green beans. Well. How does asparagus casserole sound?"

Thankfully, Z and I have both embraced "shopping on the economy", better known as "shopping at the local German stores". We actually buy most of our groceries from the German stores, but for something like Thanksgiving (or, hello, Cheerios) you really need the US brands in the US store on the US military post. 

Pillsbury pie crusts. That's all I'm saying.

But here is the thing. Our little German grocery is no Publix. There may or may not be green beans available. I will go look today. I may get lucky. Or I may be making something creative. I'll let you know how it goes. For everything else, I think I'll be ok. Sure, it will require a Google Translation of "heavy cream" into German. And I'm pretty sure they don't sell those crunchy onions in Germany (God bless them). But this will be ok.

In the meantime, a shout-out to all of those warriors who (like me) waited until THE LAST MINUTE to go shopping in THE ONE STORE where we can find our American staples. I really enjoyed staring at the empty baking aisle with you, willing cinnamon to miraculously appear (heads up, it's "zimt" in German. Go to the German stores. They have plenty. But good luck with the pumpkin pie spice. You're going to have to Google "how to make your own pumpkin pie spice". A plethora of options, my friends). Also, to the man who stood next to me in the produce section, on the phone with his oh-so-patient wife...cheers to you! I felt kindred with you as I Googled "are yams the same as sweet potatoes" while you said to your wife "well, there's these things that look like sweet potatoes...it says "yams"...do you want me to get yams? Well I don't know. They are...like...big and kind of reddish. I'm just going to get them. I gotta get out of here." 

Me too, buddy. Me too.

We avoided all of this last year by spending our Thanksgiving in Morocco. Little did we know how brilliant that really was...

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