Friday, January 22, 2010

The flavour of America

America tastes different from Canada.  One of the interesting things about being here long-term is getting to try the different flavours of otherwise familiar items.

They have oodles of different flavours of both Wheat Thins and Triscuits here.  I'd never seen either of these up in Canada, but I hope they cross the border soon- both the Sundried Tomato and Basil Wheat Thins and the Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits are divine.  At the grocery store I counted 12 different flavours and shapes of Triscuits, and 10 different versions of Wheat Thins.  The same is true of things like Cheerios (which we do have lots of varieties of in Canada, but here, of course, even more!) and other breakfast cereals (who knew Cap'n Crunch could come in so many... and I have been a good girl and not tried a single one!)  Things like ramen noodles come in southwest flavours.

There are things you can't get here too, and it's funny sometimes what they've never even heard of.  I can't find perogies anywhere.  I've combed through grocery stores for garlic sauce, the stuff that comes in four strengths in Canada (mild, medium, strong, and honey garlic), and the clerk in the store had never even heard of it.  "You know, that stuff you put on spare ribs" I said helpfully.  "Barbecue sauce?" he replied.  Oh, my.  It really is a different culture here.

I can't get Pad Thai sauce, and we have Asian grocery stores here of every variety, and I have done the tour.  I did locate plum sauce, but it's tricky to find.  Haven't found sweet and sour sauce, but I was only looking for that to help me find the garlic sauce as they're usually next to each other... nope, they don't have that either.  They do have zillions of Asian sauces in the grocery stores though... many, many more than back home, but not the fakey Canadianized versions I guess.

Of course, it's a salsa-a-palooza here, and all the other Mexican food items are also plentiful and delicious.  It's nice to be able to not only reliably find medium salsa (back home it's often just mild and strong, unless you're lucky), but to find medium in many different flavours!  Very nice.

It's impossible to buy spices like one does at Bulk Barn, even in places that sell other things in bulk like that, no spices.  They're really expensive in the grocery store too!  Luckily, the dollar store has a limited selection, and the quality seems OK.  I'll have to compile some spices to bring when I come back next fall.  There are things I haven't cooked down here as I don't want to spend $50 to buy little bottles of the spices they'd take, instead of a couple of bucks at Bulk Barn back home.

Oh, and dollar stores sell dairy products and produce here!  That was weird when I first saw it.

Overall I prefer food shopping here, as most stuff is usually a bit cheaper (but not always!), and the different varieties on things are pretty interesting and tasty.  I'll sure be working up an appetite for perogies by the time I get back to Canada though.


  1. Hi N,

    I have become a big fan of olive oil and pepper trisucts, so fear not, there are good varieties up here now too - maybe not quite as many, but the selection is expanding here as well. I'd love to try all of those salsas!

  2. Great, Nancy! If you're pondering crackers and perogies, you obviously haven't been washed away by the floods.

    Since you're pining so badly for perogies, I'm sending you one from Ottawa in the photo in the link here. Hope you can open it.


  3. You can always resort to homemade perogies! They are easy though labour-intensive; I used to make them with my roommates. All you need is potatoes, flour and cream cheese basically. They are much yummier than the store bought ones anyway. I'm sure there are recipes on the internet - I don't remember exactly how we used to make them. Nadia