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Friday, October 8, 2010

food glorious food, or the answer to Sue's burning question, what do you eat Jo?

breakfast this morning, cream of wheat (known as baby rice here) with sugar, cinammon, and vanilla flavored soy milk and an orange!
my salad made from freshly grown lettuce, spinach, mung bean sprouts, cucumbers and home made honey mustard dressing, along with black bean soup (my neice Leah's recipie)

One day I may become techno saavy and actually post the photos I'm trying to post, in the meantime, here is a little snapshot of my food here in Mongoloia..... During my initial days in country, the copious amounts of fatty meat just did not agree with me (and we were served the good stuff then), so I quickly switched to vegetarian prior to going to my host family.
Their cooking was fine, just not the same as my own and I was always craving more veggies, especially salad. There is an easy solution to that-grow it on your windowsill....I have several photos of that, but of course can't seem to get them posted. Use your imagination here. I have two salad greens containers going, both with lettuce and spinach growing in them, as well as some dill, basil, chive, cilantro and parsley. I also bought a small green pepper plant at the recent trade fair. All are doing well, and thus far I have only harvested two small bunches of lettuce. However, I sprout mung beans on top of my fridg twice weekly so I have those with tomatos for salad as often as possible.
The veggies available are limited but awesome. Beets, potatos, turnips, carrots, cabbage, onion and garlic are locally grown and cheap. Not as cheap, but still inexpensive are tomatos, peppers and many fruits including apples,bananas, peaches, oranges, kiwi and earlier there were plums. Some dried fruits locally for sale are raisins (not very good, mostly with dried seeds in them), prunes and apricots that are tasty!
An abundance of various grains are available, so I have cream of wheat or oats for breakfast frequently, and the local yogurt is tasty as well. I also got a bag of muslic cereal from a friend who got to UB (the big city).
The local milk is very high fat content, so I usually don't drink it, but I do buy powdered milk and use it in my instant coffee in the morning. I make powdered soy milk and add a dry packet of vanilla flavoring which is pretty tasty.
There is real butter locally which is tasty and some wheat bread as well. I have also made bread a few times...yummy!
Friends and I get together often to share food, cook together, etc. Last weekend at Pablo's we all threw in ingredients and made enough small pizzas for an army, even though there were only 5 of us and we ate them all!
The meat here is too intimidating for me, so I have not bought any, though the chicken is ok, even if only dark meat seems to be available in this area. Chicken is expensive, mostly because it is imported!!! Eggs are readily available, cheap and good, but people keep chickens for eggs only.
I have yet to buy tofu, but friends tell me it's available locally and pretty good. I am really into beans these days (thank goodness I had learned many ways to enjoy beans prior to coming here).. lentils which I bought in UB make great tasty burgers, and I invented my own Cajun style red beans and rice which was delicious! (I brought many spices with me from home, there is a very very limited selection in country...)Korean food is popular here, so if it's spicy you want, you can order some kim chee at many local restaurants (spicy cabbage in a red spicy sauce) or buy it bagged and have it with rice and dried seaweed is everywhere, so homemade veggie sushi is a tasty meal.
My friend Caitlin is an awesome baker and has made several cakes since I've been here and my favorite is the chocolate chip oatmeal cake with peanut butter frosting. Yep, it's good.
Fixin's for spaghetti, soups and stir frys are easy to find and tasty. I have not starved..which is good, because I love food! Cheese is one thing that is very different (not to my liking) here. There are a few types of "cheese food" slices and spreads which make very passable grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese. Sandwiches are not a common thing here, though I am lucky to have some peanut butter for when the urge strikes!
Popcorn is my favorite snack here and easy to make on my stove. Thanks to my sister Sue, I can also have the butter flavored seasoning (as the label says,balllpark style from Amish country?)...
We recently discovered a new small restaurant in town that serves chocolate milk shakes (Tom!) made with ice, Hersheys syrup, chocolate ice cream and milk, and are sooooo good!
For those foods I really miss, it's amazing that UB has many continental restaurants with my favorite being American Burgers and Fries. It's owned by an American from Virginia, Rob who ended up in Mongolia. The food is truly American, familiar and quite tasty! I'll be having some burgers over Thanksgiving when I go to UB!
Ok, now I am really hungry....just a brief look into what I eat here across the world...not too shabby:)

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