Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Things We Carry

Imagine you live in a foreign country. What food/beverage items from home could you absolutely not live without?

A friend from England brought a case of Marmite with him to France. A man I know in Alamos, Mexico, buys a trunkload of peanut butter every time he goes to the U.S.

We yearn for the comforts of home. Immigrants bring their food with them. Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Italian. Sonoran hot dog stands in Tucson. Curry dishes in London.

When someone heads to the states we send shopping lists. I remember one time I was at Wal-mart in Tucson and I had to make three trips...three separate shopping trips at one stop because I needed three carts. My fellow gringos wanted items such as toilet paper, birdseed, flavored creamer. It was a shopping nightmare.

Even when I left Portland for "the desert" I knew there'd be things I would miss. I carried two cases of microbrewed beer, stretched them out as long as I could.

My gringo grocery list always contains these: pasta, sundried tomatoes, pepperoncinis, asiago cheese, whole wheat bread, pita bread, Boars Head deli meats, reduced fat Cheez-Its, swiss cheese, Miracle Whip, pesto, peanut butter, some fancy salad dressing and even salsa. I can never have too many condiments: curry paste, peanut sauce, roasted red peppers, lemon juice.

I've been in Kino seven months without a shopping trip north. My favorite food stuffs are long gone. In my desire to live more Mexican I've held off sending giant shopping lists with friends. And I've learned how to make my own hummus, my own Thai peanut sauce. But there are three things I absolutely cannot live without so when PJ comes down from Bisbee I almost always have her bring:

  • Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Tangueray gin
  • ground coffee
What are the three food or beverage items you feel you need? Maybe there's only one item on your list; maybe none. But for most of us I'd venture to guess there's at least one thing we crave, one thing we can't find a substitute for. One thing that may finally spur us to make that 300 mile drive north.

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