What’s for dinner?

I used to be able to come up with answers for that question – which was asked every day without fail by at least two of my children (mind you, Maura hasn’t learned how to say that phrase yet – which is why she’s my favorite child.)  I had a set list of things I could make within a half an hour.  Chicken and Spanish rice, pasta, taco night.  Oooo…taco night has been a family favorite.

It never occurred to me that my cooking style might have to radically change when we moved to Ireland.  I mean, it’s Ireland.  I grew up in an Irish/Italian household.  It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

It only took one trip to the supermarket here to make me realize I was so wrong about all this.  Case in point – I have to figure out what the heck to do with a leek.  They seem quite popular here.  And the Irish seem to really like their soup.  I’m not a big fan of soup…I’m going to have to rethink that.  And then there’s all the different brands of foodstuff, that even while it may look familiar, isn’t.

Case in point #2 – Uncle Ben’s makes Indian food here.  Like rice and sauces for Indian dishes.  I have to admit, it made me giggle.  I just don’t associate Uncle Ben’s and Indian cuisine.

There’s twenty different kinds of Indian meals you can prepare…and a tiny Mexican section next to it.  It’s all Old El Paso.  There is no Rotel.  That’s right!  No Rotel!  Somehow, I think my chicken and Spanish rice dish is a thing of the past.  Chili may be hard to do as well.  I was that dependent on Rotel.  We won’t get into the lack of salsa and corn chips. They don’t have Tostitos here.  Chalk those up to two more things I have to learn how to make from scratch.

As for the cereal aisle…well…Maura’s addition to Fruit Loops will have to be broken cold turkey.  They at least have Frosted Flakes (though here, they’re called Frosties).  I’m not sure the kids will ever be won over by Weetabix, though they do make a chocolate version.

The strangest thing I’ve run into so far is the lack of cheese.  Oh, they have good cheese, nice cheese, cheese that would go great with some wine.  But there’s not a wall of shredded cheese in the dairy section.  No shredded Mexican blend or four cheese blend.  They have some shredded mozzarella, some shredded cheddar, and a blend of both…which I find really strange.  And the cheddar is not our yellow cheddar – it’s white.  It’s good, don’t get me wrong!  But it doesn’t quite suit our Taco Night.

But our kids are pretty good about trying now things.  I can still  make stew and corned beef.  I’m also lucky that my boys enjoy cooking, so we can all learn how to make stuff like granola bars and pizza (they have pizza here, but the store stuff, we have to buy 4 of them to feed us, and delivery is Domino’s and Pizza Hut…which we didn’t eat in the States, why would we eat it here?  lol!)

Tonight, we’re having Rogan Josh, an Indian dish – only with chicken instead of the traditional lamb.  Because my kids are slightly horrified that people eat cute little lambs.  Earlier today, I bought Large American Style Pancakes, which were packaged up in the bakery section.  It gave us a laugh to see it labeled as such.  As I was getting a couple packages, a woman came up and asked me if this Tuesday was Pancake Tuesday.  I told her honestly – I have no idea.  I figured out afterwards that Pancake Tuesday is their variation of our Fat Tuesday – the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, one last time to pump our bodies full of crap before we fast and give up stuff for Lent.

For the record – the pancakes were good!