So here’s one of the things the relocation guides never mention: no matter how long you live in a foreign country, no matter how integrated you become, eventually you will fall prey to the cravings for (literally) a slice of home, and it will, inevitably, be incredibly cumbersome to replicate. One of the joys of moving to a new place is experiencing a new food culture – but different food cultures tend to make things you would otherwise take for granted at home remarkably difficult to come by.
One can get a bit desperate and start spending an exorbitant amount of money on imported goods, and that’s all well and good but the best (and most fun) thing to do is to get creative.
As an expat, one frequently finds oneself in the following situations: stalking pharmacies across town in search of proper red food colouring; visiting the English bookshop (of all places) to stock up on *actual* tea as if war were about to break out; hoarding treasured things like greedy little goblins (syrup is rationed in Four’s house, Argentinean Tea has nearly-sacred status, tins of allspice have been known to last over a decade); resorting to creating the most basic ingredients, like condensed milk, from scratch (WHO DOES THIS?!) and, ultimately, begging anyone going back to the homeland to bring certain unobtainables back with them (like clingfilm that actually sticks, OTC effective painkillers … but now we’re getting off track).
There’s a whole story behind Cincinnati Chili, where it came from and why it’s different than normal chili, but you can go read about it somewhere else if you’re really that interested. Suffice it to say, it was a former blogger’s favourite meals Back Int’ Day and upon moving to Europe she promptly had to learn how to make do. Usually it’s served with spaghetti but corn bread is yummier and less bad for our diets, so tough. The chilli recipe isn’t necessarily authentic (it doesn’t taste a thing like Skyline, for instance) but it is really damn good anyway. We won’t tell you how many years it took Number Four to realize that instead of using corn meal (definitely unavailable in unimaginative Swiss stores) she could use fine, dry polenta instead because frankly it’s embarrassing. Regardless of where you’re from, this chili is a hit.