You know those scenes in Sex in the City where you see Carrie sitting at her computer typing, deleting, typing, deleting? That’s been me with this post the past few days. I’m trying to be positive. I really am but dang when it comes to the basics – water, shelter and food its hard. All of those three basics are currently leaving much to be desired and that’s weighing on me. But particularly the food.
When I was researching Chile I found many articles about how bad the food was. I sort of laughed and rolled my eyes. We’re not vacationing there I thought, we’ll mostly eat in, I love to cook. It won’t really be a problem. I. WAS. WRONG.
Don’t get me wrong, Mote and Charquian don’t sound particularly palatable to me either. But again, it’s a cultural dish and I’d happily try it and then head home and cook my Smitten Kitchen or Half Baked Harvest dinner.
Spices sold at the grocery store here come in little plastic bags predominantly. So on the first few days here I purchased chile powder (the irony is not lost on me here), garlic powder, paprika and a few other common use herbs, like basil, thyme, etc.
That night when I was seasoning our brussels sprouts, onions, and potatoes (winter veggies as its winter here), I noticed they didn’t have much of a scent. I kid you not, I could have dumped that entire packet of chili powder in my mouth and not even needed a sip of water afterwards. Same for the garlic powder and the rest.
I took to Google and indeed found out that Chilean food and spices are all super mild and their flavors locally come from mostly salt and sugar. No, thanks!
What’s even more strange is that the actual produce flavor is different. An example, the red potatoes I cooked weren’t the little red potatoes at home but rather the size of sweet potatoes with the color and attributes of the little red potatoes. After cooking the heck out of them they were still very starchy, almost crunchy, and slightly bitter tasting.
I’m really scratching my head as I have not put one dish in my mouth here yet that I’ve said “ahh, that’s tasty”. I’m on the hunt though. We’ll be visiting markets and specialty cook stores as we see them to uncover where all the flavor is.
So we’re just eating lots of manzanas (apples) and bananas as they have good taste. We’ll continue our hunt for flavorful food ingredients.
Don’t worry, for those who so enjoyed my “honest” tales from living on the road during our last adventure (Bath towels that always smell like last nights dinner, anyone?), I’ll be sure to take to the blog to complain about all the annoyances of life here. Spoiler alert, I have to light my oven with a match and it has no temperature dial.