Life in El Salvador is good. But it lacks so many common items and foods that I have missed. Most household and hardware items are junk that comes from China. China is the new Japan. I buy tools and don’t expect to get more than one use out of them. Cookware is of tin or iron. Coated pans wear through to the metal with little sponge cleaning. Living room furniture is hard. Mattresses lose their form quickly. I’ve gotten used to these shortcomings.
Food is another matter. So many foods that I was accustomed to eating in the U.S. are absent from our super market shelves and cases. There are fewer cuts of meat available. Some common American fruits are rare and expensive. Canned vegetables offer little choice and frozen ones are out of the picture completely. It’s rare to find sweet pickle slices and impossible to find relish. I like relish on my hamburgers and my turkey dogs on American cheese on a slice of white bread that Margarita has learned to make for me. But a couple of versatile and healthy products from my childhood days on that are not made here are sour cream and cottage cheese.
Sour cream on baked potatoes. Sour cream with sliced tomatoes. Sour cream on hot beets. Sour cream mixed with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese and buttered egg noodles. The list goes on.
On my recent trip to Casper to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family allá to make some important purchases of items I can’t buy here. At the top of my list were new pants, a white dress shirt and tie, a pair of real shoes, socks, toiletries, vitamins, and cold and flu medicine. But I also hit the grocery aisles in the super Wal-Mart and bought matzos, relish, Chinese noodles, sour cream and cottage cheese.
I wish I’d bought more Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese instead of the Bernz-o-Matic torch that American Airlines confiscated as a hazardous material. Two more containers of each would have gone a long way towards preparing some of the above dishes. As it is, I’ve enjoyed a lunch and a supper of Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese with sliced banana, and one lunch of Sour Cream and Cottage Cheese with white bread.
I still have about 1/4 of a container of each. I’ve been losing weight this week and last after a bout with stomach flu in Casper, so I hesitate to cook noodles for the balance of the Cottage Cream. I might not be able to resist tomorrow or next week. But my stomach is all smiles tonight.