We are truly blessed here in San Clemente to have a large market only twenty minutes away by bus. Most tiendas also sell a small variety of fruits and veggies if we run short during the week. And as you have read in previous posts there is an abundance of fish, shrimp and lobster available since the fishermen are out in their boats six days a week. The prices are very reasonable and the produce and seafood is fresh .
The majority of Ecuadorian kitchens are equipped with only a counter top stove…no oven. Take a minute and think what type of meals you can plan only using a four burner stove…yikes ! My first thought was to purchase a large crock pot , so off we went to Portoviejo, then Manta and Bahia..not a crock pot to be found. Now I’m pretty sure the larger cities of Quito and Guayaquil may have them and the next time we happen to be there we’ll be sure to check.
After a few months living here my inner baker ( and sweet tooth) was crying out and our taste buds were craving something other than pasta and rice dishes. Next on our “to purchase” list was a grill which put a smile on John’s face. Now we can add a bit more meat to the menu but still no baked items. John’s suggestion..a toaster oven. So back on the bus to Portoviejo then back home with the largest size we could find. And in case you’re wondering what in the world you can bake besides toast and pizza in this mini oven , here’s one of our joint efforts in appeasing a sweet tooth craving.. Banana and coconut cream pie..yum !
Living here in Ecuador is all about being able to adapt to a simpler life style and making do with the items you can find available. But sometimes that craving just won’t go away so throughout the past year we put out a wish list for hard-to-find items to those friends and relatives who were on their way to San Clemente they did an excellent job in fulfilling those wishes..thanks guys !
Again these items may be available in larger cities, but do I really want to fly to Quito in the hopes of being able to locate a jar of Miracle Whip , packets of Hidden Valley dressing mix or taco seasoning? Nope, not going to happen, so we adapt. If that food memory won’t let up, we make a new wish list and wait for the next care package from the States.
Thanks to the bounty from the market, Hidden Valley brought my sister and our little toaster oven we were able appease a craving we had for cold veggie pizza, and before you ask, Pillsbury crescent rolls are not available here… found a wonderful scratch recipe online.
Along with Italian linguine salad…
For those of you heading south to Ecuador and you have absolute favorite spices that you must have, bring them with you. The basics are available and quite a few that I still haven’t translated correctly, don’t have a clue what they are. Some day we’ll have to try them and may be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s a short list of hard-to-find items that you may want or need for your favorite recipes: Chili powder , taco seasoning, baking soda ( small packets can be found) , parchment paper, miracle whip, salad supreme, mesquite seasoning, hidden valley ranch mix, Lipton onion soup mix, sunflower seeds, mustard seed, celery seed, sesame seed , pickling spices.. plus I’m sure there are others that I haven’t yet tried to find.
I can hear that question rumbling around in cyberspace.. how would you feel if you weren’t able to get your “wish list” items?
Wouldn’t change our feelings at all, would still love living here..and eventually those food memory cravings go away…hmm, though right now I’d love a snack bag of Fritos corn chips…ja ja
Life is good in Ecuador !