Monday, January 03, 2011

Sad Things That Expats Will Do Overseas

I don't live a life as "difficult" as most expats in Istanbul.  I get my boxes from Amazon in 6-10 days without having to deal with Turkish customs, someone else handles my visa processing for me, and my car was shipped to me with what I suppose is a relatively minor amount of hassle.  I live in an awesome country, where fresh fruit and vegetables are cheap and something is always in season.  This city is beautiful, and I find something new to love about it every day, it seems.  So why in the hell is it so tragic that I can't find any salsa or tortilla chips in this country??

Theoretically I can get chips and regular salsa through the commissary shipment we get every two weeks from Ankara, but the Tostitos supply get bought up within hours, and this girl rolls at a slightly higher class than Pace picante sauce.  I've resorted to importing massive quantities of Trader Joe's double-roasted salsa (lovingly shipped one or two bottles a month by my mother, who knows I'd eat them all up in a day if I had them all available - donations accepted!) by APO, and while I've tried the various forms of potato chips on the market here, none of them really make the cut.  (Seriously, the flavors are weird.  There are entire rows of Ruffles that I don't want to identify.)

I've tried making my own salsa, with tomatoes and peppers and onions and garlic and a few spices.  While the result is tasty, it's more like a Lebanese take on pico de gallo than the salsa we all know and love.  I've also tried making my own tortilla chips by broiling lavash that I've brushed with olive oil and salt, with mixed results.  1/3 of the time I use too much oil, 1/3 of the time too much salt.  Sometimes I use too much of both, and one time in five I forgot the bread's in the oven until it sets off a smoke alarm.  When it works, though, it's magical - almost like a taste of home to scoop up my delicious, contraband salsa.

It's a hard life I lead, you know.

15 comments:

  1. Later, I'll describe the lengths to which I'll go to get a burrito. But this is enough food insanity for now.

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  2. I guess it's a sign that I need to visit & bring tortilla chips? Or that you need to visit here?

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  3. My one thing was Diet Mountain Dew. Thank god for netgrocer!

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  4. I guess Justin needs to meet me at Dulles so I can pack a burrito on ice in my checked bag. I'll try to make a run to StL for salsa in the next few weeks. Gives me an excuse for a road trip.

    Oh, yeah...I'm your mother. QUIT whining!

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  5. This reminds me of how much I miss Jack-in-the-Box now that I'm not in Texas anymore.

    Strange that with all the wonderful veggies you have there you can't make your own. Maybe we can find you a recipe...

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  6. And don't even get me started on the lack of guacamole.

    I do have a good, easy recipe for salsa. Drop me a line on FB if you want it. Can't help with chips, though.

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  7. The lack of good tex mex is a serious and terrible thing, and a problem everywhere outside of the US. We had burritos last night. I can get most of the ingredients, but as Donna says, there's no good guac.. it is sad.

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  8. Can you get corn flour? Maybe you could make some decent tortilla chips if you made corn flour/regular flour tortillas, then baked or deep fried them. I also have good salsa/guac recipes. Email me if you want 'em.

    I also live near a Trader Joe's and could spare Mumsy's back the road trip.

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  9. GOOD NEWS, everyone! The biweekly shipment came in to the bodega this evening, and because I helped unload, I got to place an order after-hours - which means I could get Tostitos before the store sells out of them at approximately 10.35 on Monday morning! (The store opens at 10.30.)

    Salsa salsa salsa salsa...

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  10. @Anibanan...why am I just now finding your blog? That chicken salad recipe sounds wonderful.

    And thanks for thinking about the bum back!

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  11. An update: one of my coworkers told me that she'd gotten a laugh out of this post... after going to the store on Tuesday morning to buy chips and finding only empty shelves.

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  12. Salsa we don't have a problem with in Costa Rica...although sometimes finding spicy peppers, even jalapenos, in Costa Rica can be difficult, what we missed the most for a long time was Chipotle. Then my husband found recipes for the tomato salsa, corn salsa, rice and marinade for the steak, I was in heaven. I love finding a way to make something that makes life so much better.

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  13. Hey I appreciated your comment. Andrew says that it is very true, especially the 'interlocutor' part. I also appreciate that you have a very positive blog.

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  14. @Jamie - glad to help! I've been passing your list around to a few FS friends. When I go in to work tomorrow, I'll print out the list and keep it on my desk, in hopes that I can include them in my cables!

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  15. Mumsy: I've done the burrito research.. that's actually the best way to get it there.

    hannah: You know, I was done eating for the night. Until now. Bitch.

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