Hey Hey, it's Memorial Day! Our second in Pune!
We celebrated with an American BBQ at our friends' house and pigged out on buffalo tenderloin, corn on the cob, tortilla chips, homemade guacamole, and a SLAMMIN' banana cream pie made by one of my favorite people. It was a good, good day :-)
Lately, life has been kind of quiet and I haven't really done anything blog worthy, so the inspiration for this one came friends back home, many of whom ask us about how we do daily life stuff here in India. We were putting groceries away yesterday I thought it might be fun to do a fridge tour and give a little info on where we get stuff, how much it costs, and what we're eating here when we aren't entertaining or dining out.
There are a handful of places I go, in order of preference, for different reasons:
I go grocery shopping twice a week to stock up because I've noticed that vegetables don't last as long here and we have a seriously small refrigerator with an even smaller freezer...see? A few other expats we know a bought standalone freezers or secondary refrigerators to supplement their space.
We don't eat much bread so I keep it in the freezer for the occasion that we do have it. That's a "9-grain loaf", and I've found that most of the bread here is terribly low in nutritive value. No Ezekial here! This was $.55. Above the ice trays is a frozen, a homemade pizza from our friends, a 1-lb salmon filet from Firangi Foods, some streaky pork bacon ($8.50 p/lb, Dorabjees, I took the big package and split it up), a big buffalo tenderloin ($10.17 for 1 1/4lb), and three boxes of buffalo mince/ground meat ($2.93 for 1/2 lb). The meat is all Firangi Foods. Cow beef is illegal here so we go for buffalo, which is great minced or on the grill.
We keep our Lavazza Espresso in the fridge (Dorabjees, $9.42), and our lettuce and butter in these great storage containers we got in the states.
Eggs seem to come two ways: in a plastic tray that holds 30 eggs and can be bought on the roadside or in shops for about $2.50, or in packages that hold just 6. I've yet to see a regular dozen. They are sold at room temperature only. We buy these, Keggs, which are nearly organic, whatever that means, and "safe", as opposed to the other brands which are...unsafe? I'll never understand product marketing here. Anyway, they're $1.50 for a pack of 6. Danone, more commonly known as "Dannon" in the US, makes yogurt, which is called dahi here. We get it in 14 oz. containers of low fat yogurt for $.94 each. They also sell the little flavored varieties too, and make a yummy mango one. We go through 12 eggs and 3 containers of dahi per day in our house.
This drawer is expensive real estate. Domestic butter is sold very inexpensively if you don't mind the taste, but we cook simply and when butter is a major flavor, like in omelettes/eggs and on vegetables, the taste matters. I haven't seen any American brands, but we love France's Elle & Vire, which we buy in an 8oz package for $6.30. Cheese is always touch and go here. Sometimes I use the deli counter where they cut it from the wheel but 65% of the time it's rancid. I don't know if its a hygiene problem, a case setting problem, if it goes bad with temperature variances in transport, or if they just keep it way too long. Anyway, I've been burnt too many times and cheese is expensive, so we just buy the Ford Farms prepackaged stuff at Dorabjees. Even that sometimes is a little funky, but most of the time it works out great. Each of these varies from $8.00 - $11.00 for just 7oz. The little green box with the green dot inside it indicates this is a "veg" item. These markings are on most foods in the grocery store to inform customers who observe certain dietary principles.
It was late in the day when I went shopping so there aren't any veggies in here from Shivaji Market, but the selection at Dorabjees is pretty good. The green beens (top left) were $.60, the sweet potatoes (no yams here!) were $.40, and the limes were about $1.00. On the right, the asparagus was $.78 per each bundle, though it's a lot thinner than it's European or American siblings. Mushrooms were $.78 a package, bags of fresh mixed salad was $.77, ginger was $.31, brussels sprouts were $.1.25 a pack, and that awesome Thai Herb bundle was $1.13. Still don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I'll find a recipe! Couldn't pass up a bunch of herbs I've never tried before!
This is not an exciting shelf. It's got 2 pounds of chicken breasts which we got at Dorabjees for $5.00, some Atomic Horseradish which we brought back from the states (have yet to find pure ground horseradish here), and leftovers: Dijon maple baked chicken breasts and sliced cabbage.
Condimentsssss......from the top left: homemade coconut/mango vinaigrette (I get a wine bottle full of cold-pressed organic coconut oil for about $3.50 here at a local shop), pre-peeled garlic in a glass jar ($.47), Green Tokri basil and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (Green Tokri makes delicious sauces, these were $1.87 each), Maille mustard which we got in France last year, and Nordic Naturals Omega-3 capsules. I got these online and they were mega expensive, like $60.00, but I trust the brand. On the bottom shelf is some Hoisin sauce, another half-finished jar of pesto, bacon grease (I've become very resourceful in this country), our friend Blair's homemade strawberry jam from this winter's crop, Lemon Curd which we got in Dubai, and Rose's Lime Marmelade, given by a friend.
Top left is some homemade lime pickle that our maid Elizabeth put together for me, Mother's Recipe mixed pickle, a super sour condiment that goes on everything (my own opinion. This is not shared by Marc). Branston Smooth Pickle, from Dubai, one of my favorite spreads ever, Mirin rice wine for Chinese recipes, capers, rice vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, an essential in our house, Kikkoman Spicy Teriyaki Sauce. Mostly all of these came from Dorabjees. On the bottom is ketchup, a can of Tuborg beer, American Garden BBQ sauce (this company seems to be very common here), Ricola Nighttime tea from France, a jug of filtered water from our filtered water tap at our sink, and a liter of Provilac whole milk. We get Pride of Cows delivered to our house twice a week, but picked this up to try for $1.08 a liter.
I've been having a great time experimenting with new foods and have learned some great tips from Elizabeth, who is always willing to give me her advice when I bring home an unusual item, like this pink amaranth, which she told me to sauté with garlic, a little salt, and olive oil, just like spinach. If you see this at your local CSA or fresh market, pick it up! It's packed with vitamins and tastes awesome!
I'm always curious to see how other people eat and what's in their fridges, so I hope that this was interesting. I'll save you from a whole other 4 shelves of pantry items just in case it wasn't :-)