Buying food in Europe


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June 16th 2010
Published: June 16th 2010
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A brief word on food in Europe probably should be said. My first introduction to buying food in another language (other than Spanish) was on one of the first days I was here. We had to stock up on food for four days because the stores would be closed all weekend and Monday for a holiday, so we had to get food fast, with no time to figure out what we were actually buying. It actually worked out quite well, with some things being recognizable, but other things I just had to buy and hope it was moderately close to what I wanted to get.

Some things are sort of close to what you intended to get, such as this peanut-butter type stuff. I think it is actually some sort of chocolatized-hazelnut-milk spread, which is not what I intended to buy, but is rather good.

Another example is this tube. It is close enough to “mustard” for me to guess correctly that it was, and it comes in a handy little tube that was 1/3 the price of a plastic container.

The third object that I usually buy some of and eat on weekends is fish, mainly because the cafeteria does not serve fish (though with as close as we are to the sea, I am not sure why not). It has a picture of a fish, when pronounced it sort of sounds like “fish sticks,” and it was with other containers of food in the freezers that I could readily identify as fish. Cooking fish sticks (and everything else) without a microwave or an oven has been interesting, but is just another adventure.

The last thing I had to ask an employee of the store about. I can survive eating just about anything as long as I have garlic powder and chili powder, and I had not found either yet. After searching in vain for the spices, then finding what I thought was garlic powder, and asking an employee about it, who assured me that this is indeed garlic powder, I found one of the two spices I need to survive. Except for curry, it does not seem that spices are used widely in the Netherlands. The food here is great, but the barbecue sauce and what passes for picanté sauce here are terrible. I have already decided that the first food I will eat when I come back is Mexican food and/or barbecue.



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