Good Food Blog
The sweet taste of homePosted at 12:15PM, 26 June 2009 by Emily Boyce - Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
It's strange the things you crave when you're abroad. Beyond EastEnders and orderly queues, of course. I spent a year in Turin, northern Italy, in 2005, and though I loved doing the Italian thing of going to markets and cooking beautiful fresh veg, there were times when I longed for the familiar tastes of home - or for something a bit more exotic than pasta. In Italy, it's pretty difficult to track down a decent Indian restaurant, or to find the ingredients for a curry in a supermarket.
I was overjoyed once to come across baked beans in a little shop near the main market. I don't normally even like baked beans, but they were somehow reassuring and I cleared them out of their supply. A friend who lived in Spain had a similar experience with Branston pickle - she needed to keep a jar on hand in the kitchen, even if she never used it. Marmite, salt and vinegar crisps and ketchup can also suddenly become essential.
There are so many cows in France, where's the fresh milk going?
Other things I missed were ordinary white bread for toast and sandwiches (ciabatta's all well and good, but it's already hard and dry when you buy it, then by the next day it's inedible) and proper cups of tea made with PG Tips and fresh, cold, non UHT milk. Indeed, a straw poll around the office reveals dairy products are one of the most troublesome areas. As one of the cookery team pondered, there are so many cows in France, where's the fresh milk going? Into all those 246 + varieties of cheese, I suppose. None of which is good old Cheddar. And cookery assistant Jemma regularly gets calls from readers abroad desperately seeking equivalents of double cream.
Then there's cooking equipment. The team report feeling stranded without a good sharp knife, a mini blender, a trusty set of versatile butter knives and an oven that can be relied upon. In Italy, I couldn't believe no one had an electric kettle - no way was I resorting to boiling water in a pan, however charmingly rustic that might be.
Which ingredients, dishes and gadgets do you miss when you're away from home?
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