Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday- the quiet before the open house...

Yes. So this post "may" continue throughout the day, or not depending on how successful I am at putting together all the food for this BBQ-Do (not "DOH!"), which T and I have thrown together haphazardly over the past couple of days. It is meant to be a sort of "hello, back" to all the new neighbors, and a thanks for all their charming hospitality...

But of course parties entail planning and cooking. I must start this AM. on the early to do stuff. (Sometimes I DO wish things were as easy to throw together here as they are in some other places like almost any other country in Western Europe or any state in the US. sigh.)

For instance, to get the 'fixin's' for the Barbeque,
I have to go to four stores. Well I probably don't have to, but I do have to go to the places that have the best meat: Sconto on the Paleo road (on the way to Sgombou), best veggies/fruit: Deillas in Kontokoli, best sausages and brats: Lidl (Paleo Rd.), most other stuff: Alpha Beta in Gouvia.

All the stores are on the east coast of the island (whilst I am in the center.) The distance isnt' great - the drive there is insane in the summer.
[It has become the de facto "truck and bus" shortcut even tho it's barely two lane and one lane mostly- with a charming one lane bridge that I keep thinking will one day fall in with a bus passing...]

Shopping is always a bit of a challenge when living in a different country. Besides the obvious things of packaging in a different language, there's also the fact that people eat other things than what you are used to --- and they put them in cans!

When we first moved overseas in 1992 we lived in Izmir, Turkey. Same challenges there. Frequently you enter a store that on the surface "looks" very much like a good supermarket in the US. But then you realise that though the shelves are full there's really only a selection of three or four things there. (aside: Things are much better now with improved trade with Europe, really.)

Once, early days in Turkey, I went to a brand new Migros, (Swiss chain grocery), and in the canned section the shelves were stocked high, down the aisle, both sides: all with the same brand of tomato paste and canned peas.

Shopping here in Corfu is mostly OK, though of course selection in the summer time is much better than in the winter, because the tourists shop, particularly from the large marina in Gouvia - so in the summertime there are strange and wonderful things on shelves like nori, and white balsamic vinegar, and tofu. In the winter we're pretty much back to the simpler life of "tomato paste and canned peas" shopping.

The other bright spot all year round is the British Corner Store in Perema, which tho uneven at keeping the shelves stocked, will bring interesting things over from England... at a price of course. (Periodically I can satisfy my inexplicable craving for McVitties Ginger Nuts...)

Another thing that baffles me is how difficult it is to find a whole frozen turkey or duck! You really only find them in the stores at Christmas, (and then really only about two or three weeks) which means if you like Turkey or duck, you better have a freezer! (sometimes I get lucky at the British Store) The other option is to negotiate with a local to buy one and do the deed yourself.

When I get together with my friends who live on the island year round, we always compare grocery store finds.

So. Today I must make a chocolate cake for dessert (cream cheese frosting); fix up a batch of my famous BBQ sauce for the pulled beef that I made last night for sandwiches; trim 2 kilos of chicken wings, parboil them and make a marinade for them to soak in for baking tomorrow, (they are sooo good); and start the process for the baked beans which I will probably slow bake this evening through tomorrow morning. [we'll also be having hot dogs and brats on the grill for anyone who isn't happy with wings and bbq sandwiches]

Any and all leftovers will be used to keep visiting grandson from starving over the next week. He really DOES enjoy my cooking. (still I think he'd eat cardboard if it had hot sauce on it...), grandson is off to Aqualand! T is dropping him off and hopefully some friends will be joining him around noon (and maybe he'll be bored and want to come home with them when they leave around 3!) Grandson promised to take many photos of landmark "Aqualand" so there WILL be a post on that local miracle...

Let the games begin!! (oh yes. and the laundry... )


Grandson had returned from a successful day at gigantic water park! WITH NO PICTURES! Well ok. He bought this one "special" for me... I tried to explain before he left that I would probably never ever go there, so I really needed lots of pictures. Hmmm. I don't know if it's because he's 14 or because he's a guy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I did 7 loads of laundry. (I do miss those marvelous HUGE washing machines from the States...) Anyway while this or that was simmering or baking I hung things up on the line so the sheets smell marvelous.

I've prepared a couple of pans of BBQ Beef, the special Boston baked beans are simmering (in the crockpot- I'm not a stickler for tradition), the chocolate cake is made and frosted, the chicken wings are parboiled and marinating... and tomorrow I make a giant green salad, pop the chicken in the oven around 4 and "ta-da!"

All that will be needed is a bit of warming up of the beef and we're ready to roll.

I may still fiddle with a recipe for chili to go on top of hot dogs. (I really miss chili dogs...)

So ... just discovered the sum total of my day is not quite finished as T has informed grandson and me that we'll be going out to dinner tonite at the marina! A nice treat for the cook and laundress (with the added bonus that we can buy a huge bag of ice to cool the drinks for tomorrow...) the man has a mind like a steel trap.

signing out (and looking forward to perhaps finding a good Chinese restaurant!).

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