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Making dinner for the American family in Argentina….

October 4, 2009

Let me preface this blog post by saying we are really having fun here!  However, living in a foreign country while simultaneously trying to learn the language, the customs, and prepare dinner for a family of 6 can be a daily challenge!!  While eating out is a great option, we can all agree that it gets old after a few meals.  Also, part of our whole experience is learning “how to live” here which means learning how to grocery shop, prepare meals, get directions and all the other minutia it takes to survive.

I like to believe I am a good sport about most things but the grocery store is one area that I would prefer to just avoid!  Fortunately, we have a grocery store just 2 short blocks away from our apartment which makes life easy.  We generally forage for a days’ worth of groceries.  This way things are fresher, we have less to lug, we buy only what we need, not to mention it gives us something to do!

The children had been hankering for some items which we have been unable to buy at our local corner mercado.  We had heard talk of a store about 3/4 mile away, Jumbo (pronounced Jooooombo), and it supposedly carried some American brands of food along with a wider variety of groceries than our local market.  So, off we went to investigate.  It was a short fifteen minute walk to the Jumbo, which turned out to be part of a mini-mall with several other stores, including a gigantic hardware store.  Good to know in case Dan decides to tackle any casa improvement projects while we are here….NOT!

Let me digress for a moment from meal prep to shopping:  I would describe Jumbo as a 1950s Target store-a large store with huge selection of items from clothes to food to electronics-however, many of the items in this store are items our parents had in the 1950-60s.  This is where it gets confusing; is the first time the Argentines are seeing these types of items or are they making a comeback and this is all part of a “retro” fad we are experiencing?  I have been racking my brain to see if I recall this “retro” look in the housewares, electronics, clothing, and/or even the cars in the U.S. before we left.  Have we even been gone that long????  Did I completely miss this trend?  Wouldn’t be the first one I missed!

I find the timing of all of this ironic:  Here I am surrounded by late 1950 model cars, kitchen appliances and furnishings and I have simultaneously become enamored with Madmen (the TV series on AMC).  Coincidence??

Lest you think Argentina is stuck in the dawn of 1960, it is not.  Cellphones are everywhere and iPhones are a popular choice.  WiFi is available in almost every corner café and the latest Dan Brown novel is sitting in the bookstore window. So, they are very much present in 2009 but it seems they make choices about what they want to embrace and what they will forgo.  I like that!

Now that I have completely gotten off topic, let me return to my original thought…making dinner.  We ended up getting the ingredients we needed to make an average dinner in our apartment last night of chicken parmigiana, angel hair pasta and a salad.  But let me show some of the things we had to wade through to get there:

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Aylmer permalink
    October 5, 2009 15:38

    We love your blogs…….Mom & Dad

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      October 5, 2009 19:48

      thanks mom and dad….glad you are following. mom….i didn’t bring one cookbook with me. blessing or a curse???!!!
      not sure that ANY of my cookbooks had a recipe for that delicious-looking PIG HEAD!!!!!
      tacos again tonite!
      xoxo-
      meg

  2. October 5, 2009 19:24

    Hi everyone!!!

    I have been following your adventures in the Blog and have had great laughs with some of your troubles and comments. It all sounds great and I am very jealous that Brazil wasn´t the chosen country for you to stay. We are all very excited about the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and there was a big party in Copacabana Beach not far from where you stayed.
    I will try and help with the retro dilemma….The problem may be the high taxes on some electronic goods and cars…
    Big hug to you all…We miss you in Rio de Janeiro!!!!

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      October 5, 2009 19:46

      oh renata….
      i was skyping with catie today and we talked all about you! we are thinking we will be there in Rio in 2016! we will, of course, be needing your expertise in that adventure.
      you can not even begin to imagine how many times a day we look at each other, shrug our shoulders and say….”if only we had renata with us!”. we miss you so very much and Rio stands out as one of our all time favorite places ever!!!
      spanish classes are coming along for all of us…..slowly. we will get it though….i have high hopes!
      many hugs and besos-
      all of us…
      ps…food was better in Rio!!! so was the weather!

  3. nancy phillips permalink
    October 7, 2009 21:20

    You are soaking up so much culture with every day chores. What fun! and what a nice break from the crazy schedules we moms who send kids off to school each day keep. Love catching up via your blog.

    • Gringos In Argentina permalink*
      October 8, 2009 20:16

      you are kind nanc-it is not without its headaches…mind you. i told dan……how spectacular next year will be….imagine….one year you have 4 kids home with you and the next you DON’T!

      they are good actually but it is just the little things like….taking a shower uninterrupted. i thought i was past all that. not that they are banging on the door..more like they want to let you know they are headed out or need money to go buy something.
      one forgets how we expect the house to be quiet from 8 am -3 pm after they reach a certain age. what a reality shift this has been.
      for the most part…it is great…every once in a while…i can use a break. you understand, i am sure!!

      miss seeing you. how is oreo?
      me

  4. Blanca permalink
    October 11, 2009 22:40

    hi guys love the pictures! and loving the hair cuts! i miss you guys sooooooooooooooooooo much

  5. maylmer permalink
    October 13, 2009 14:40

    Now I get what you mean when you said the video from 1958 is really what you are living now! lol.

    Those photographs really are amazing and add another exciting dimension to your wonderful prose!

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