Sunday, September 4, 2011

Trying new foods.

Have you ever bought something that looked tasty and you took one bite and made that scrunchy face and said “eew” and vowed never to eat it again?

(Not to be confused with taste aversion learning such as never drinking tequila after all night of boozing…!)

Here, we have had to try new brands- of things that we usually eat in the USA. We have learned the hard way and have bought some food items that we will never use after trying them once. 

The food food mistakes we have made and learned from as Americans living in South Africa:

Heinz all the way! (source)

  • The ketchup- most are too vinegary or sweet. We have to stick with Heinz Ketchup in this house. Hot sauce and Barbeque sause tends to be similar. We use American brands for all.

Woolie's Syrup. (source)
  • Be careful with the syrup here- read the label and make sure it is true maple syrup from Canada or the USA. All other syrups here are horrible- you can find the good stuff at Woolworths. I’ve actually been afraid to order pancakes, waffles, or French toast because of the syrup they might serve.

Dried biltong. (source)
  • Instead of flavored creamer (they only make powdered coffee cream here), we now use full cream from the dairy aisle. We accidentally bought double cream (which you don’t really find in the states too much) for our coffee- OMG that was gross! It was so fatty, it made oil float to the top of our cups!

  • We have had to tryout different potato chips flavours- we just can’t tolerate things labeled oxtail and liver! We tried some cheese flavoured pretzels- so gross! I finally just now saw some regular pretzels in stock. And as I posted here, Chease Naks are better than Cheese for your Cheetos fix.

  • They have their own kind of beef jerky here, called biltong. They come in chili flavor or regular and in “snap stix” or “sliced.” The sliced is softer, but it is gross because you can see the fat on it.

I miss these. (source)
  • There are no corn tortillas; or masa harina so that I could make my own. I thought I could make them from maize flour, but it’s not the same. I think I’ll donate the maize flour (instead of opening it and using it once). I’ve learned online that if you find real corn tortilla chips, you can grind them up in a food processor and add water and make dough, then roll them out to the size of tortillas. I might have to do that….

Non-mistake: We actually know better than to buy the processed tortillas here and have made our own since being here.

  • The “black olives” here are not black and do not taste the same. Neither do the green olives. It must be the brine/pickle they use. I have been afraid to try pickles here for the same reason.

  • Bakery treats do not compare in general, although there are exceptions. I’m starting to bake my own treats, but a mixer would be handy!

  • Smooth Cottage Cheese- looks like sour cream, but it is not the same taste.

  • Instant mashed potatoes- I have only found one brand with three flavours, and it sucked. I will make my own from now on!

The list goes on, but I do not want to belabor the point…

So, when was your scrunchy face?


Song of the post: Homeless as sung by Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo (a South African Group!)


Sami said...

I never managed to like biltong, even now in Australia, it can be bought in most supermarkets (as there are loads of South Africans here) but I always found it too dry and chewy. As for the maple syrup also here I look for the genuine stuff as there are too many diluted syrups passing for maple syrup. What I cannot bring myself to eat here is Vegemite, an yeast spread, much like the Marmite in South Africa, which I didn´t like either...the Australians just love it! Have you tried Mrs Balls chutney? Yummi, I buy it here as well.

Miss E said...

I stumbled across your blog last week, I think, and as someone who's lived away from home was drawn to it. I'm from Botswana and went to college in the US and UK.

Yep, I get the whole 'scrunchy face' thing. I'll never forget my first time with sweet n' sour chicken! It looked oh so delicious, but then...sweet AND sour - chicken??! Eww! But that was then, now I make my own, and I love it. And so many other tastes even became favourites with time.

Being overseas can be frustrating. Everytime I saw a familiar brand it was such a nostalgic feeling, but I'm sure it's easier for you to find American brands here than it was for me with South African brands in the US.
It was a roller coaster ride until I settled down and tried a lot of things and decided what I liked. I'm adventurous with food, etc. so that helped I guess.

Good luck!

April said...

Oh no, I wouldn't be able to handle not having my tried and true favorite foods. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to trying new things. Kudos to you for doing so. Thank you for dropping by my blog. I'm sorry you don't have chocolate chips available to try the fudge, I wouldn't last long there at all.

I'm following you back now. :)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

It took us ages to get used to the food here and the different brands. We originally only stuck to the UK brand of foods until we got used to the others.

I do agree about the syrups.

Remember to buy Niknaks instead of CheeseNaks - they are MUCH better.

Have you tried Milo and Mrs Balls chutney yet?

Naturally Me Creations said...

Hehe, what an interesting read. ;) When we went to the US, i bought a mayonnaise and found it so gross too and nothing like the mayo i always buy here - I suppose it must be quite a task to taste-test everything to finally (hopefully) find what you're used to! :)

And yes, those instant mashed potatoes are not so good...i used to really like them back in the day, but since i've grown up i've realized how bad it actually is, haha. :)

How long have you been in SA?

Roger Brown said...

I love dried biltong :)