My kitchen at home.
So, what do I struggle with and miss while trying to cook in Slovakia?
- Big rolls of Bounty Select-a-Size paper towels. I'm addicted.
- Blue 3M Scotch-Brite sponges. MP has an imported supply, so I'm happy.
- Big ovens. Not the norm here, and if available very expensive.
- Ice maker. Europeans have never seen the point, I guess.
- Grocery store coffee grinders. We keep trying, but even Starbucks in Vienna ground the beans too finely for the French press.
- Big boxes of kleenexes. Even the Kleenex brand only has a few in each box and mostly you see the purse-sized packs.
- Target and WalMart. One-stop shopping doesn't really exist in BA.
- 24-7 grocery stores.
- 90% lean ground beef. We had some custom-ground in Simmering, but it was really too lean; and don't they age their beef? It looks too pink and doesn't have the flavor of U.S. corn-fed.
- Good bread. Forces me to bake my own. People should insist on good bread. Maybe no one but the French remember what it should taste like. And, in France bread is a national treasure...
- Chicken stock. I would even settle for a mediocre brand. Again, forced to make my own. Produce is great here, and all I need are onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips along with a fat hen. And, the Slovaks know fat hens! Far more available than in the states because people here still cook.
- Spaghetti sauce in jars. You find these tiny jars that don't taste very good. We get several and doctor them up by adding tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, and garlic. Good, but not half as good as our doctored-up Prego at home.
- Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. We get around this by using Bambino or baby cheese which comes in little red tubes--kind of like a white Cheez-Whiz--and dried pasta. The little ones like it, but at first don't trust it's whiteness, accustomed as they are to the fake-orange of Kraft.
- Haagen Das, Ben & Jerry's, Dove. There are Magnum bars which are yummy, but this trip they don't seem quite as rich and over-the-top creamy as I remember--similar to what happened to Dove bars. Someone got cheap with the butterfat content.
- Pam. MP has one can which I am guiltily consuming. Don't think I use it this often at home...
- My kitchen. Yep! I have to admit that 5 weeks is a long time to be out of my element. I'm not tired of seeing new places and things, but I do miss the comforts of my kitchen.