Foods I miss as an ex-pat

There are certain things we can’t get here in Finland.  What, you’re surprised by that?  I’ve found substitutes and DIY recipes and made do with things that don’t taste quite right, but here are some things I miss dearly:

Goat Cheese.  The goat cheese here is…not right.  It doesn’t have that creamy texture, it’s more like a brie texture.  One of my favorite treats is spreading goat cheese on dried figs and wrapping some prosciutto around it.  There is no “spreading goat cheese” around here.

Spaghetti Squash.  God, I miss spaghetti squash.  I think when we get back to the States, Stephen may get sick of spaghetti squash, because it seems all I can do lately is think about it.  They have honeydew melons in the grocery store, which look exactly like spaghetti squash, which just makes it worse.  It’s like they’re teasing me…

*Not* spaghetti squash...

*Not* spaghetti squash…

Yellow Squash.  I know a lot of people don’t like yellow squash, but I do.  I can take a yellow squash and a zucchini and make a meal of it.  I can get zucchini here, at least, but I do miss yellow squash.

Monterrey Jack cheese.  Mexican food just isn’t the same without it.

Portobello mushrooms.  You can get 500 different varieties of mushrooms, especially in the fall when everyone goes foraging in the forest, but I have yet to see portobellos…

Velveeta.  I’ve got a serious hankering for White Trash Dip (aka Rotel Dip).

Sushi.  God, I miss sushi.  I can get it when I go to the “Big Town” an hour away, but here in town?  Forget about it.

Every single ex-pat, without fail, regardless of country of origin or where they currently live, misses something from home.  Tex-Mex appears frequently, which I can relate to.  The other thing I see a lot of is a craving for Kraft Mac & Cheese.  I have the solution!!!  And it doesn’t involve a huge, heavy box, or a half-assed DIY mix that’s good but not-quite-right.  Are you ready?

Go to Costco, Sam’s Club, what have you, and buy a Massive Pack of Kraft Mac and Cheese.  (My friend bought two 15-packs for us before we left the States.)  Open all boxes.  Remove cheese packets.  Put packets in large ziplock bag.  Tear instructions from one box.  Put in ziplock bag with the cheese packets.  Throw everything else away.  Yes, including the pasta.  Pack in suitcase.  See how little room that takes up?  Now, when you get a hankering, buy some pasta (I think the Blue Box has about 6.5-7 oz of pasta in them), butter, and milk (I use wine instead of milk, which I highly recommend), and make yo’self some Mac and Cheese!  Now, I can’t take credit for this, this was totally my friend’s idea, but it works perfectly.  I brought 30 packets of cheese over in my suitcase, and it barely took up any room.  (We included a tear out of the box just in case there were any security questions about this weird orange powder…)  Now, keep in mind, this will work just as well with your Shells and Cheese, if you prefer that.

You don’t have to be an ex-pat to miss (and not be able to get) certain foods.  New Englanders living in Colorado probably miss good fresh clam chowder or lobster.  Southerners living in Ohio probably miss sweet tea.  Food is so intrinsic to who we are, our personal history, our sense of self, that we experience true nostalgia when we can’t get certain things.

So, what foods do you miss that you can’t get?

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Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Foods I miss as an ex-pat

  1. I only miss the foods that my mom makes that I’m too lazy to make – her cinnamon rolls in winter, her pizza anytime of the year.
    So funny that you miss spaghetti squash. I get missing Kraft Mac & Cheese though. They don’t carry it our grocery store so I have to go “all the way” to Target when I have a craving (it’s only 15 minutes away). 🙂

  2. Unknown

    Stumbled upon this blog from Google and was curious enough to do some reading. You probably already knew this, since this particular post is over a year old already, every Citymarket (at least every Citymarket I’ve ever been in) has a shelf for American products, excluding dairy products and other perishables.

    • Yes, but have you seen the prices?! And they don’t have any of the stuff I listed, unfortunately. I have bought a few things off the American aisle, sauces mostly, probably, but I refuse to pay 8 euros for “American” cake mix or 6 euros for “American” peanut butter when I can make my own mix and the Finnish peanut butter is, if not just as good, at least moderately acceptable.
      (Oh, and our City Market had some spaghetti squash in last summer! I went crazy over it, even though it was something like 5 euros/kilo. A couple of weeks after they got it in it dropped to 1 euro/kilo, and I bought more. I’m probably the only person who bought any!!)

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