Sunday, October 2, 2011


Getting food into the house in Brazil is not as simple as going to Costco or Trader Joe's (whimper). We're slowly beginning to figure out where to go for different things. Since we don't have our car yet, I have to rely on Mitch to drive us everywhere in his work car, and my shopping style has changed. In the States, my method of grocery shopping was to arrive mid-week right when a store opened, get in, and get out. This way, I was able to avoid, you know, people and crowds and amateur grocery shoppers and stuff. I've had to put my fear and loathing of crowds on the shelf here, right next to my impatience and germophobia (my mental medicine cabinet is crammed. Don't hate me).  Shopping with my better half isn't as bad as I thought it would be. He doesn't mind standing around waiting in long lines, and he picks out all of the wine, a chore I used to loathe, because I'm not very adventurous and I can never remember what we've had and liked or disliked. We do have a grocery store in our neighborhood, but we rarely go there. It's expensive and we can find better produce being sold on the side of the road. I know! ME!  Buying stuff off the back of a truck. When in Rome...(Okay, full disclosure, I wash everything in bleach water before we use it. Baby steps.)

On Saturdays, futebol/playdate/sleepovers permitting, we get up early and go to CEASA, an open air farmers' market, along with most of the population of Brasilia (excluding those from our neighborhood who are just getting into bed after a night of partying). The prices are great, the food is fresh, the sellers are wonderful and patient with our crappy portuguese. We try to drag Jack with us to help with the language. We generally end up buying way more than we need because everything looks so good.

What a couple of nuts.

 Watch this video on How to Peel Garlic. If you want to, I mean. But you know you want to.

Yep, you read that right. "House of Chocolate".  The chocolate here is very different from what we are used to, and the imported chocolate is outrageously expensive. I've also not found chocolate chips anywhere (sad face). The kids love picking out unusual packages of Brazilian chocolate, though. Sugar is açúcar, am I right?

Spotted: the elusive American teenager picking out figs and starfruit (you guys, I totally made an awesome chicken dish  with those figs).

We go to other stores for non-perishables.  There are  a few things that they don't sell here. Most of it I can get online or do without. I've learned to make bagels for the kids and you can buy cream cheese, so they're set.

Maple syrup doesn't exist here. You can buy the fake stuff at the commissary, but our UAB contained four big jugs of real maple syrup, which I am currently keeping under lock and key and doling out with a medicine dropper.  Jack tried to start a business at school (I'm not kidding, he had a business plan and everything) selling our stuff at a highly inflated rate to Brazilian kids, and it would have been successful if we'd let him go through with it. One kid offered him a hundred bucks for some real maple syrup.  I still feel kind of bad for squelching his entrepreneurial spirit, but the State Department frowns on that sort of thing. 

There is plenty of cheese to be had, but you can't buy good cheddar cheese here. Anywhere. So, in true pioneer fashion, my darling husband ordered books and supplies to make our own cheddar cheese. I'm growing basil and hoping my food processor arrives some day so I can make pesto, and I'm ordering coffee beans from the States. That's right, I'm importing South American coffee to South America. Shut up, you would too if you were me and had a mental medicine cabinet with a special shelf labeled, "FUSSY".


Carla @ I Run, You Run said...

Brazilian cheese is pretty good, you should try it (queijo prato and catupiry are delicious!). Also, Brazil has the best coffee in the world, and I'm not saying that because I'm biased, but buying your own coffee beans from the States? Really? Give Brazilian coffee a try. Melitta "extra-forte" is my favorite, don't let the vacuum packed boxes fool you.

Kate said...

We like Brazilian cheese! I just like a good aged cheddar to make macaroni and cheese for the kids and mexican food. Thanks for the tips on coffee-will try it. I have had a hard time finding good espresso beans.

Carla @ I Run, You Run said...

Brazilians do drink sell more powdered coffee than beans. Try the powdered stuff though (melitta is powdered, not sure if they have beans?), since it's still pretty damn good.

PRJ said...

You've made me laugh out loud on a few occasions. The most recent is your description of doling out syrup with a medicine dropper.