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.