We’re staying in a hotel with a kitchenette, and while this is really convenient for snacks and cold drinks, it’s not entirely ideal for two months of living.
We have a microwave and a tiny dorm sized fridge, and we even have a cook top, but no pots or pans so they’re not much use to me. That leaves me with cold food, and microwave cooking which would be easier if there were some quality microwavable meals here, but there aren’t. The pre-packaged food is (in my opinion) nasty, expensive and not healthy at all. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a crock pot, but it seems that Brazil hasn’t quite picked up on the slow-cooker idea. I can’t find one anywhere.
So I made a list and made my first (and then second) of what will be many, many trips to the local grocery store, which happens to be a big supermarket about a half mile away.
This particular supermarket chain is a big one here, so the store itself is quite large. The aisles are not ridiculously narrow like our little market in Rio das Ostras was, and the selection is quite good. I found nearly everything on my list except a can opener and chemical free lunch meat. I would love to find more organic and specialty items, like almond butter and such. I think I just need to get to know the area better though. There probably is some kind of natural food store here, but I haven’t had a chance to find it yet.
And this store is a bit like a mini-walmart. They sell clothes, appliances, sporting goods and all kinds of home items. I’ve searched the aisles twice for a crock pot, hoping to wish one into being. No luck.
What you see above is about R$97 worth of groceries, or £32, or US$50.
The cold weather and indoor living of England was not kind to our waistlines, so we’re making a really focused effort to step away from anything fried or processed, and leaning heavily towards the Paleo. Fresh, real, unprocessed food with as few chemicals added as possible. I’ve been here for four days, and have done pretty well so far.
Brian gets a nice, healthy lunch provided at work and neither of us want to eat much late at night so I’ll make myself a good meal at lunch time here. So far I’ve cooked the chicken thighs and a sweet potato in the microwave, and had quite a bit of fruit and carrots with some walnuts thrown in if I’m still hungry. When Brian gets home we’ll just have a snack. Last night it was pickled beets, pear slices and a few gherkins. I think my next shopping trip will include more greens for salads.
There are a handful of restaurants nearby which we take advantage of on the weekends, and the hotel includes breakfast in our stay so I’ve got a fairly good selection of fruits and eggs each morning. It’s the rest of the week I’d like to have a bit more control of.
I’m glad that I’m already familiar with most of the brands and different foods in the market, and that I can read the labels to figure out what’s in most everything. It’s confusing to try to buy familiar items when it all looks so different. Even familiar brands which may be available here (like Peter Pan peanut butter for example) are still a bit different. The packaging isn’t the same, and it’s not unusual for the ingredients to be different too, so when I think I’m getting something familiar it really doesn’t taste the same.
So, we’ll see how this goes over the next few weeks. Fresh food, minimal cooking, healthy snacks and a tiny, barely functioning kitchen to prepare it in. At least we have a kitchen. Things could be worse.
Have any tips for me? Suggestions? Easy recipes? A crock pot?