We went to the grocery store this week and what I saw had me geeking out.
Lettuce, they had lettuce. And not just the wilted and yellowed cellophane-wrapped heads of romaine that they usually had, but also those plastic sealed boxed of baby spinach, radiccio, and arugula. What?!
We've become to accustomed to not eating lettuce that one glance at the high price was enough motivation to pass it up, but I felt a little thrill in my gut at this sign that spring was coming, and that after spring comes summer, and during summer I'd be able to eat all the lettuce I wanted.
I foresee this being a big problem. Starting to think about the summer and being home, making plans, the big thing that's in my mind is what I'm going to eat. Like honestly, I see myself stepping off the plane in Logan and walking straight to Jamba Juice.
For example . . . garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, Ritz crackers, Italian sausage, ravioli, tortellini, kale, brown sugar, panko, shellfish, jam (I mean, they have jam here, but, it's so, how do I explain, it's like a syrupy fruit puree), PEANUT BUTTER, peanut butter M&Ms, pita bread, bagels, fresh fish, deboned chicken thighs, cheese (they have cheese here, but it's expensive, and there's no cheddar), quinoa, squash, couscous, Trader Joe's, canned crushed tomatoes (not positive, but I think they're a thing here), canned pumpkin, blueberries, asparagus, cream cheese . . . usual food items that I have missed so much and can't wait to consume again.
I can't wait for iced coffee and Del's lemonade and Iggy's clamcakes and chicken on the grill and s'mores and not paying $4 for a cafe americano and Pinkberry and American-Chinese takeout and being able to drink the tap water. The chain restaurants I previously disdained, like Applebee's or Olive Garden, I'm looking forward to those, too. Cooking in generally is going to be so much easier once I'm able to read the labels again. Succumbing to gluttony is one of my biggest fears about coming back to the States because I'm such a sucker for making up for lost time.
This is a double edged sword, though. Whenever I slip into a day dream about all the recipes I'm planning on trying once I'm back stateside, I also remember all the food I won't be able to eat once I'm home.
Khachapuri, manti, beshbarmak, pelmeni, Soviet cookies, meat-stuffed blini (I mean, I guess I could make my own, but, I will miss buying the premade ones in the freezer section), horse sausage, plov, baursaki, samsa, laghman, shashlik (I could also probably make this myself, but I'll miss the smoky smell of it cooking in the bazaar), lipioshka, katleti, all the pirozhki, and the extensive tea selection. Oh man, I only just realized now, sitting and reflecting on it, how much good food we've consumed. Before coming I didn't think Russian food (with all its dill, mayonnaise, and pickles) would agree with my palate, but what did I know?
I will not miss instant coffee, Russian salads, meat jello, or okroshka.
The bread here is amazing. I feel as though each culture has excellent bread (I don't think I've ever had bread I didn't like any place I've ever gone), but it will be really depressing to grab a processed, presliced loaf of Arnold's when I've been eating fresh baked brown bread for like 20 cents. And the candy, I don't understand why a nation as industrialized and sugar-obsessed as the USA hasn't diversified their candy aisle, because the ones in Kazakhstan really put us to shame. I'm going to miss the candy. And I'm bringing a few kilos home, so start putting in your requests.
There is so much good food to be had in this world. Enjoy your meals.