03 September 2013

A Taste of Home, One Ingredient at a Time

Sometimes, just knowing that you can find a single ingredient can make the biggest boost in your day. As an expat, it's easy to start missing "normal" meals and preparation methods because you just can't easily find the ingredients or you don't have a large enough (or easy to operate) oven, or you gave away cooking utensils before the move. Sometimes you stock up and hoard products that you can't easily find in your new home. And sometimes, you find a long-desired item in a normal shopping location and then it seems to disappear from the store, like a culinary mirage. That's why I'm so happy that I found Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, again.

A little taste of home in a bottle

These are two things we used back in the States in everyday cooking. Shortly after moving to Tilburg I found a bottle of each locally and I used them regularly, because I knew it was easy to find. After recently running out of both, I went back to our local Albert Heijn market, and for the life of me, I could not find either. There is a whole section of "foreign" foods that I swear is the spot I picked them up before, and there was nothing. For three weeks, I would wander back through the aisle for another look in case I missed something, and still nothing. I felt like I was going a bit mad (well, madder) since I knew I bought them in our new home.

Yesterday, I decided to take a chance and try the nearby Jumbo supermarket instead. And, huzzah! I found both. I consider this a cooking win for the next few months while I make "American comfort food" - and I'll try to make a mental note about the actual location for the next time.


  1. I can get both of those pretty consistently at the various stores here in Utrecht. It's my beloved Chipotle Tabasco that is harder to find. We had a grocery store that stocked it inconsistently, but then they closed completely. We have a new Jumbo opening tomorrow. I'm hoping they'll stock it! If not, I suspect I'll be trying to bring back a few bottles with me after my US visit.

  2. That's too bad. Finding these things feels like a small miracle as it is, but then losing the source is frustrating. I can't know for sure, but maybe I found these in the Jumbo to start with? Maybe it's better not to think about... Best of luck on the Jumbo search/stocking up from the States! And enjoy your trip!

  3. Yay! I remember my first trip to the market I was thrilled to find Heinz ketchup :) Have you been to Sligro yet? I hear they have other good stuff too like A1. And you know the kinds of stuff I hoard- can never have too much Asian Helper rice helper!

  4. LOL - It really is the little things like ketchup and Tabasco that make all the difference. And I know you ration out your stash like I do! I've ridden past Sligro but haven't gone in yet - I have a feeling I'll need to be very strategic in my shopping so I don't strand myself with too much stuff!

  5. Agnieszka Jarecka-Griffiths03 September, 2013 21:22

    I'm a Pole living in UK and know exactly what you mean! Luckily, there are two Polish shop where I live and a decent section in almost every bigger supermarket in UK but 8 years ago I had to rely on mum sending me food from home.

  6. Hi Agnieszka, thanks for your comment! There have been a few things that we still rely on family to send us, but I am amazed at the things I am able to find. I haven't bought them yet, but the supermarkets in the Netherlands recently started carrying Oreos - I was floored when I saw them!

  7. We have those over here in the UK and use them a lot too - except I do not use the worcestershire sauce as it has fish in it which I am allergic to. I think the US version does not have fish in theirs (anchovy)!
    I am so looking forward to finding the 'foreign aisle' when I am shopping in the US!

  8. I had no idea there was fish in it... Now I'm going to go check the bottle and see if I can figure it out.
    I really miss good Mexican food products in the States - it's just not the same here, not as spicy. You'll have to enjoy some for me!

  9. Agnieszka Jarecka-Griffiths05 September, 2013 17:36

    Lol, so there's hope then!


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