Feast or Famine

Everyone knows that relocating is disruptive, but moving is so comprehensive that it affects every part of your life, even the contents of your kitchen cupboards.

Before, during, and for sometime after a big move, we’ve always had too much or too little of something. We practically stopped buying groceries in Oregon an entire month before we left, desperate not to waste food.  Friends and family stepped in and took the last of our kitchen edibles that we couldn’t finish.

It’s just not possible to use up everything at the same time – as soon as you use up the last of the milk, you have to buy more to finish one last bowl of cold cereal.

It’s maddening!

When we arrived in Switzerland, it took us quite some time to find all our baking staples and fully restock our kitchen.  For example, I vainly tried to figure out where to buy corn starch in Fribourg for over four months.  Finally one of our readers left a comment on one of our posts and solved the dilemma.  I headed back to the store, this time specifically in search of maizena, and came home with a rather large box of it on the same day that Travis did.  We now have two large boxes of corn starch – and we’re moving soon!

Back in July I posted a blog about the 10 Foods We Miss From The US.  Most of the things on the list were items we’d been unable to find after searching for over a year in Europe.  Right about that time, we received a large package of brown sugar from a couple American friends who had visited us in Switzerland in the spring.  They knew I was missing brown sugar in particular for baking.

Ironically, we met up with a different set of American friends, Arch & Ang, in France last month.  They also surprised us with brown sugar from home.

So much brown sugar!

On top of that, those two crazy kids shopped for goodies for us, hitting five of the ten foods on our blog post from July.  They even brought a huge block of our favorite cheddar cheese from Tillamook, Oregon!

Our American friends, Archie and Angie, bring American groceries we’ve been craving all the way from the US to Chamonix, France.

The problem is, now when I look through the cupboards, they need to be empty – not full.

Feast or famine.  We either have too much or too little.

Of course, of the items pictured, the Tillamook cheese is long gone, having quickly disappeared in grilled cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese melts, homemade chili, and stuffed bell peppers.

We devoured the olives in one sitting.

I made my first batch of chocolate chip/oatmeal/raisin cookies, so I only have a half a bag of Tollhouse chips left.

And I’m using the brown sugar in everything.

We have a baking day in Onnens to celebrate (and use up) some of our brown sugar.

Excited to finally have brown sugar, the last of the necessary ingredients for my favorite strawberry/rhubarb bars, I made a batch of them, then followed it up with a small batch of homemade apple cider, just like Trav’s Ma makes every year for the holidays.  Since the apple juice was super tart, I poured in a generous amount of brown sugar to sweeten it.  The house now smells like apple cider and cinnamon every day, which is the way it should smell with the arrival of fall.

As we now paw through the cupboards each day, the challenge is again figuring out how to use up the motley assortment of groceries left without having to buy more.  I’m not sure what we’ll be eating for the next couple of weeks, but you can guarantee it’ll include Jell-O, brown sugar, and a lot of maizena.

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