Saturday, February 17, 2007

Food in Chacala, Part 2

When I first moved to Chacala I really struggled to find things I wanted to eat. I think the first month I mainly ate Sugar Frosted Flakes, milk, banana, pineapple, melons, lime water, Coke, peach and apple juice, tortillas, mozzarella cheese, cabbage, tomatoes, eggs, tostados, saltines, white flour rolled called boletos(?), And when I was really desperately homesick for familiar meals I would spend $5US for a big breakfast at a local place that catered to gringos
Fruit vendor in Las Varas
Very few of my everyday favorite food were available here. At least not in Chacala or Las Varas. When I first arrived in Chacala I couldn’t find pancake syrup, but now it’s everywhere. Same thing with peanut butter. I like to make French Toast on Sunday morning from chunks of the fresh rolls that are delivered to the store everyday. And sometime during the second year there were occasionally black olives in some of the stores. I love olives. Most of the time my lunch in Chacala is a little cold plate, with olives, celery, cabbage and tomatoes, and hard boiled eggs and a little cheddar cheese. And if I have some cooked chicken, a little chicken. And fruit for dessert. The pineapple and mandarin oranges are my favorites at the moment.Narcissa, owner of Chico's Restaurant, and a wonderful wonderful person
And, ridiculous as this sounds, friends brought me some fajita spice packets from the U.S. (at my request) and I make beef/cheese/tomato/and chopped up celery “tacos” many days. I cook up a batch of the spicy up beef and use it for three days or so for lunch.ThThe main meal in this part of Mexico is about 2-4pm. People eat something light at night, like pan dulce (sweet rolls) or bread and milk. Or fruit. Or leftovers. I like cooking my main meal during the day because I can see better, and the bugs that circle the electric light bulbs at night don’t fall in my food. And it seems healthier to eat in the middle of the day.
Soon after I arrived in Chacala I started making bi-monthly food runs to P.V. . I found chicken and beef in P.V. And celery. And sometimes (sugary)peanut butterAnd sometime after I moved to Chacala, some of the P.V. stores started carrying sugar-laden peanut butter. And Cheerios. And eventually I found the butcher shop in La Penita that sells excellent bacon.

And once in a while one of the big superstores in P.V. had Sarah Lee stuff (like cheesecake and chocolate cake) in their freezer section. For about $8.00US. (Alas, no more Sara Lee these days). And now they carry cream cheese, and I can make my own special desserts. And sometimes there were Cashews (for about $10US a pound). And eventually there was Ragu pizza sauce. I would make little tortilla pizzas with the sauce and mozzarella, in a frying pan with a lid.Marcello, who works at Chico's, gathering wood and other chores
Now I make a food-run about once a month. I used to carry a cooler down on the bus, so I could bring back meat and cheese and bacon, and so on. But it got to be too much trouble, so I just bring a couple of plastic bags with me to the market, and buy a bag of ice. I put the frozen and refrigerated food in the plastic bag, fill it with ice, and put the whole thing in a plastic Mexican shopping bag and head home of the bus. It seems to keep things cold enough. At least I haven’t got sick from the food. Yet.

I have figured out the Mexican substitutes for some foods I was buying in P.V. my first year. Like local cheese. And rolls for sandwiches (tortas), And the local stores in both Chacala and Las Varas are carrying a lot more items, especially fresh fruits and vegetables than they used to. I used to really miss Wheat Thins, but now I am used to peanuts and tostados, and sometimes microwave popcorn. Which I had for the first time in Mexico, and am now addicted to.The pool/hot tub at Paul's Satow duplex rental in Chacala 011 52 327 219 4111
And the weekly street market in La Penita has homemade whole-wheat bread during December thru February. And the superstores in P.V. now carry Orowheat bread. A very expensive treat. I make grilled cheese sandwiches with it, and French Toast, and BLT’s (you can now buy lettuce all the time here), and other goodies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm interested in the blog comments from various gringos down there regarding food. It seems many expats have a hard time adjusting away from processed, packaged norteamericano food. I stopped eating this kind of stuff after high school. So, how hard is it to cook for yourself if you like black beans, chicken, onion, garlic, salsa - the hotter the better, beef, yogurt, cheese, etc.? Can you get brown rice? I LOVE Mexican food, and could eat it every day, but I'll have to learn to cook from the local ingredients. I've heard pozole is delicious. I would draw the line at tripe or chicken feet! Have you ever been offered these? That could be awkward, indeed!