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Monday, July 16, 2012

to market, to market

One of the things I love most about this island is the thing I struggle the most with: grocery shopping.  I think it has been clarified that prior to living here, I had no idea what to do in a kitchen besides make pasta and boxed brownies.  (The latter usually never made it to brownie form because the batter is just too good..)  I was a frozen aisle, pre-made, McDonald's (breakfast) eatin' kind of girl.  All of that came to an abrupt end when we got here.

Very little is frozen.  Next to nothing is pre-made.  And wait for it, McDonald's does not serve breakfast.  Thank goodness for Ikea meatballs or it really would have been ugly our first few weeks here.  Since I had little experience in the kitchen, I had even less experience with fresh food.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a leafy salad, but I don't always know what to do with fresh food.  How do I prepare it?  Better yet, what is it?  

As if this weren't perplexing enough, food here can really rob you blind.  Especially chicken.  You don't want to know how much chicken costs.  You'll cry for weeks.  (I know I do every time I buy it!) And I kind of have a weak sauce stomach that can't handle local fare like lamb, pork, and heavy beef.  (Even though my favorite food is a good ol' cheeseburger, go figure!)  So trying to pick and choose foods that me, my stomach, and my wallet can handle has been quite the experience.

Enter fresh produce.  When it's in season, fresh produce is SO dang cheap here!  When it's not, run away.  No really.  Run!  Right now, watermelon is so affordable.  I got a kahuna of a melon for €2.26, or about $3.00.  We still have some in the freezer for slushies and it's been nearly two weeks.  Grapes are just coming into season right now as well.  What is always in season?  Tomatoes and cucumbers.  And olive oil, but that's a different story.  Whatever market you go to, there will always, always, ALWAYS be tomatoes in at least two varieties.  And cucumbers.  Up the wazoo.  And let me tell you what, those tomatoes are DANG good.  And I don't even like tomatoes.  Like can't even pretend to like them and now live off of caprese salad.

My favorite part of the produce?  How much of it is local.  While this island is tiny (and incredibly hot!), it is very fertile and perfect for growing just about everything you've ever wanted to eat.  Bananas, potatoes, lettuce, oranges, peaches, grapes, and the list goes on.  Heaven bless those Cypriot melons! 

Some day we'll talk about our love affair with Greek cheeses.  It's dangerous. 

4 comments:

  1. My verrrrry favorite food blog is Smitten Kitchen. I feel like she teaches you things that are mildly fancy and really fresh without being horribly difficult. I can personally vouch that everything I've tried from her has been really, really good.

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  2. mmmmmmm cheese! i'm so jealous of your local fare!!!!! and don't worry about the cooking thing. i couldn't cook a lick when i first got married, but after LOTS of time learning from the food network, my mama says i cook better than her {and THAT is a serious compliment!}

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  3. Can you get sausage/do you like sausage? We have a few yummy sausage recipes. Also, I have learned how to stretch a chicken breast in a meal. Phil and I can get buy with one breast split between the two of us for dinner and his lunch the next day with the filler things we add to the meal. Let me know if you want some of those recipes. I hate even paying 1.99 a pound for chicken.

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  4. Wonderful post. I hear you on the fresh, cheap and tasty watermelons. I have been waiting so long for them to come in to season. And my problem with the price of chicken is not as big as yours because its also pricey in England.

    Please write about your love affair with Greek cheeses. Mine is out of control!!

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