01 February, 2011

Things I miss in America

A long time ago, i discovered that i am actually comforted by food. Call me an emotional eater if you like, but i like to say i'm just a fan of food.
Here are some things that i love, and occasionally wish i hadn't taken so much for granted, in no particular order:

TCBY white chocolate mousse soft serve frozen yogurt. That is a mouthful in more than one way. It's so delicious, surprisingly good for you (if it's eaten as a treat on occasion) and is pretty much the best soft serve i've ever tasted in my life. 

Here, they have soft serve ice cream all over the place, and it is a thing of beauty, let me assure you. The soft serve in Ireland actually tastes like sweet cream and is absolutely delicious, however, a special place remains in my heart for TCBY. 
Partially because i grew up eating it all the time as a kid and partially because as i said, it's the best soft serve ever.

It's a shame it doesn't travel well.

Ahh Chipotle. How i love you. I used to eat Chipotle about once a week for a while there. I'd always get the same thing, unless i was splitting a burrito with my friend, Mayo (Ashley). Without fail, it was always a vegetarian burrito - meaning stir fried veggies, salsa verde, pinto beans, extra guacamole, some sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. If Mayo and i split one we'd "rock, paper, scissors" for if the beans would be pinto or black. Either way, it's a good way to get a couple meals if you're not all that rich. 
I could just eat a gigantic bowl full of their guacamole with some of their lime-flavoured chips, but that might just be me.


 Oh yes. Border sauce. I miss this stuff more for the fact that i love putting it on my own homemade tacos than eating out with them. I used to have a couple in my glove box and a couple stashed in my silverware drawer at home, but alas, not anymore. Too bad the nearest Taco Bell is in New York... 

 I would have to say the same thing goes for Arby's sauce. As a kid, i used to love their food, but either as i got older, my tastes changed or the quality of their food changed... not that it matters. Their sauce is always yummy. In recent years, i would get a hankerin' for a roast beef sammich, head on over to the deli and slice some super thin roast beef, drive over to Arby's and get a drink and some sauce packets, then go home and create my own (i believe healthier) version of their Roast Beef Sandwhich. If i felt really adventurous, i might even order some of their curly fries to go. 

mmmm kool aid. My mom would make Kool-Aid for me as a kid. Occasionally, we would make Kool-Aid popcicles during the summer. It was a thing of beauty. One day, i went to a friend's house for a birthday party and partook of their version of Kool-Aid. Oh. My. GOODNESS! It was just basically sugar, with a bit of water and a Kool-Aid packet thrown in. Ew.

I learned that my mom always made the Kool-Aid and cut the sugar by at least half or more. Once you cut the sugar, it's actually pretty good. I enjoyed this powdered awesomeness as an adult very rarely, but now that i don't have it, i sorta miss it.

(image source)

Sushi is another thing that i took for granted in the states. I lived near an amazing super market that made fresh sushi daily. Once or twice a week, i would head over to Jungle Jim's at lunch and get a box of California Rolls or whatever else looked yummy that day, and take it back to work to graze on throughout the rest of the day. My friend also used to make her own sushi at home which was exciting when i was invited to partake.
I have not seen any really good-looking sushi, since i've lived in Ireland. It's a shame, really. Perhaps i should start making my own!

Cincinnati Chili is another delicious (but occasional) food that I enjoyed. I dont know why but a big plate of spaghetti noodles, some beans, a bit of Cincinnati's own strange recipe of  "chili", a dab of hot sauce, some chopped onion, and some saltines really hit the spot now and then. A friend of mine recently sent me some Cincinnati Chili seasoning packets, and i must say, it was pretty amazing. This doesn't take the place of the chili i have grown up on - Texas Style chili, but it's still a pretty yummy thing. I never really understood why they called it "Chili" though... it looks more like meat-sauce to me.

Other non-food related things that i miss are as follows:

Customer Service. I definitely think that a little smile can go a long way in the service industry. I wont say that all my customer service run-ins were pleasant in the states... they weren't. In fact, some checkers, tellers, and the like are just downright rude! But the service in Ireland, for me, leaves something to be desired. Especially at restaurants. My waiter/waitress here doesn't make me feel like (s)he cares. In fact, most often i worry a little that they'll spit into my food! Haha! Perhaps it's the fact that people don't tip here, so there's no real incentive for the wait-staff to be nice!

Late opening hours. This is something i both miss, and don't. I like the convenience of going to a shop for forgotten dinner items at 8pm, or running out for a quick dessert at 9:30pm. I miss having a full day of errands and not being limited by what time the shops closed - meaning i could get a late start, if i needed to. I don't miss it because part of me likes having to schedule my day. I remember it being like this when i was a kid. Nothing really was open past 8pm and even less was open on Sunday.
It's like that here. I like it, but every now and then i miss the convenience.

Sidewalks. Sure there are sidewalks here, but nobody really maintains them. They're usually covered in debris and super bumpy/overgrown/cracked. Also, they're few and far between. If I need to walk somewhere (like to the local village or grocery store) i would have to walk basically in the hedges, while straining to hear if a car is coming from around all the bends in the road so i don't get run over. People wear hi-visability vests whenever they walk around out here for just that reason! It's insane.


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