“We’ll just go with it” has been my new phrase since moving to Uruguay. I was well aware that moving to a new country was going to require a learning curve. I was prepared for the language barrier, for greeting people with kisses, and for the ever present bidet. I knew my life-style was about to drastically changed. But walking through the grocery store solidified just how far from “Kansas” I had flown.
Just go with it #1 – Weighing the fruit and veggies. So you know how fruits and veggies are usually sold by the pound? That doesn’t change (well, actually they are sold by the kilo, but you get my drift). What does change is you must take your produce to a specific weigh area in order for a person to weigh them and give you the correct price to be scanned. I was the goober who brought ALL of my produce to the poor woman who had to one-by-one explain what does and does not have to be weighed. If I have said it once, I have said it a hundred times…I have GOT to learn Spanish.
Just go with it #2 – Ingredients that do not exist here. I was soooooo proud of myself for putting together a meal plan for the week. I was going to cook! Sunday, I would prepare all of the meals and then have the entire week already portioned out. I went through recipe upon recipe. I mapped out my plan and translated my ingredients to Spanish. Then, I walked up and down the aisles at least four times before I realized that bacon, feta, red onion, and garlic powder simply do not exist. And if they do, they are not at my grocery store. So I just had to go with it and find the closest thing. (No bacon? Go with prosciutto!) I was pulling food substitutes right and left. Just go with it. Just go with it. Just go with it. According to my colleagues, you stock up on things in the states (like ranch packets and Sriracha) and then go from grocery store to grocery store to find the rest. I had to go to three to find cilantro!
Just go with it #3 – You will pay any amount of money for hot spices. This country HATES spicy food. I have yet to find anything that really gets my juices flowing when it comes to spice. Which is why when I found Jalapeño peppers in a jar (for like a million pesos) I almost wept. I didn’t even care how much they were. I bought three jars as if they would disappear the next time I shopped.
Just go with it #4 – How the F@#& do you say baking soda in Spanish? There are times google translate will simply fail you. For example, baking soda and baking powder are not directly translatable. So you have to just go with it and start to explain
what the ingredient does. It’s a white powder that makes a cake grow. That sounds about right. Fun fact – baking powder is polvo para hornear and baking soda (bicarbonato de sodio) can ONLY be found in a pharmacy. Yep, because that makes perfect sense. Just go with it.
Just go with it #5 – Where’s the Whiskey? The one frustration with Tennessee was the fact that you could not buy regular alcohol in the grocery stores. I mean we all went nutters over the fact that they finally were allowed to sell wine! So I was so excited to be in a country where all alcohol is sold in grocery stores. I bought my wine (super cheap!) my rum, and the shittiest vodka of all time (but hey, just go with it). And then came the whiskey…or should I say scotch. Right now, I would literally sell anything I own for a bottle of Jack Daniels or Maker’s Mark. The only bottle of Jack I found was
flask size and cost 55 US dollars. I simply was not that desperate yet. So, I just went with a bottle that said Whiskey figuring it was some local thing. Let me tell you, that is one “just go with it” that I CANNOT go with. Scotch is just not the same as whiskey and bad whiskey simply CANNOT be masked like bad vodka. So now I am stuck with a nasty bottle. If you have any recipes for punch or cooking, let me know. There is no way I am drinking that stuff.
Just go with it #6 – Food delivery. Once you have filled up an entire cart worth of food you have that “oh shit” moment where you wonder how you are going to get it all home. Yes, the grocery store is three blocks away, but you know that you have at least 25 bags worth of food and there is simply no way. Well, guess what?! Uruguay delivers! Almost every store will pack up your purchase into boxes right in front of you and for a nominal fee, you will have your items delivered straight to your front door in a few hours. And I must admit, that even though I had just bought all my groceries, opening those boxes two hours later was like Christmas!
So all-in-all, it was a interesting learning experience. I am slowly getting the hang of just going with it. It may take me awhile to figure it all out totally, but even with just going with it, my meal plan turned out pretty well, no?!
2 thoughts on “We’ll Just Go With It – Food Shopping In Montevideo”
I think you should spends some time in your local pharmacy. I want pictures of all the stuff you can get without a prescription.
I love you
I can tell you one thing you can get without a prescription (although you do need to be a permanent resident) and that is marijuana. Uruguayans can walk into any pharmacy and get 3grams super cheap! It’s crazy!