Sunday, December 11, 2011

How to Make a Sweet Potato Casserole ....or Not.

The only point of this post is to illustrate why I get so pissed off living here. There is no real recipe, no cooking instructions because I'm done trying to make this. Here's how things happen here and I why I feel like I have way too much trouble with food.

Purchase canned pineapple - yep fresh is available but I'm not interested in cutting up my own. I'm tired and cooking takes long enough already and that would be even more messy and sticky. I'll pass this time. Maybe someday I will do that but not right now.

Store this pineapple in your pantry until sweet potatoes come back into season which won't be long. However, if you don't purchase and store the pineapple now it may not be available the next time you go grocery shopping. (Which btw this can of pineapple has been in storage for almost a month now waiting for the sweet potatoes and HyperCity hasn't had any for the last 2 weeks.)

Finally spot sweet potatoes at HyperCity only to see that they are really poor quality and more would need to be cut off and thrown away than is worth it. Immediately tell spouse you need sweet potatoes and that he should get them from the street. Keep reminding spouse and request pecans while you are at it.

Upon arriving home request help from others in the household to describe pecans to spouse as he doesn't fully know the English translation and is sure they are the same as walnuts. Settle the issue, spouse now knows what pecans are and how the flavor is nowhere near the same as walnuts.

Keep asking for sweet potatoes and pecans for 2-3 weeks. Spouse tells FIL but neither of them can seem to remember to pick them up and occasionally you are told "let me rest for a few minutes first" and then they never go out for the sweet potatoes. They may also alert MIL who remembers well but isn't able to find them in the street yet.

Sweet potatoes are finally purchased by FIL and look so much better than HyperCity's but it's too late at night to go out for pecans. Again, remind spouse you need them.

The next day request to go out and get pecans. Spouse is not feeling well and wants to rest, we can go tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and again you should request spouse to bring pecans. Spouse is sick (headache) and can't guarantee he will be able to go get them after work. Sweet potatoes are rotting as we speak on the counter for 2 days...soon to be at least 3 days.

The next day hubby goes to papar warian (dry fruit store) and asks for pecans in English. The worker doesn't know what they are but the shop owner overhears and immediately tells him you can't find those here and maybe you can find them in Delhi but not Amritsar. Then he goes on to sell hubby some nuts that are supposed to be close ....walnuts. Hubby also picks up pistachios as a peace offering because they happen to be wife's favorite salty snack addiction (right after Baked! Ruffles that is).

Finally cook the sweet potatoes for the casserole, add only the tiniest bit of sugar because no one likes sweets too much. Everyone thinks the casserole is a dessert and hubby barely eats any at all stating it is too sweet (less than 1/4 cup of brown sugar was used between the potatoes and the walnut topping). Then hubby serves you the cake he bought for after dinner.....hello! There's a hell of a lot more sugar in that cake than in my sweet potato casserole. Hubby eats over half of his piece of cake without the first thought of the overly sweet sugar taste of the icing. 

*Insert screaming tantrum with lots of foul words here.* This is why I have such a huge problem with living here. Seriously, in the US if I wanted a dish any time of year I go to the store, get the ingredients and make it that day. I can mostly adjust to the seasonal availability of fruits and veggies here but there is no excuse for it taking 2-3 damn weeks just to get 3 f*&#ing ingredients together only to find out it's impossible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then when you improvise to accommodate for what is available no one eats it.

And some of you wonder why I have such a negative view of India right now. This is too much stress for one person to deal with.

25 comments:

  1. I don't understand one thing, why they don't let you go out to do your own shoppings alone?.Let me tell you when I moved here and had to depend on my husband for every effing thing at first I was going crazy.Independence is crucial.

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  2. Only just started reading your blog but why is it so difficult for you to get some of these things yourself? Is it possible for you both to move to a bigger city where more is available and you can get out more and have more freedom to do things on your own? Like i mentioned, i haven't read enough to know your circumstances so am not sure why you all are living with family and not on your own.

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  3. I don't think pecan nuts are widely available even in big metros, it's not a nut they grow in the country, so upscale gourmet stores might have imported one, avaiable at the price of gold for a handful though, got to love India huh? When DH was abroad he said finding ingredients to cook indian food at home was a breeze, they even have indina brands in desi stores, but expats in India have a though time cooking their cuisine without substituting at least one ingredient, they are even told to their face that their home food is junk food by some ignorant idiots...sigh!

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  4. Hi Bhabi Ji, a small suggestion, could you and Rohit go out driving to some villages with nice khets(farms) get some really fresh produce, perhaps try out some new recipes with different food combinations, make some nice pizza or something like that. Cyn is right, a lot of people in India will tell non indians that their food is horrid, especially the older generation who have been eating only 100% desi food their whole life. Today I ate mooli paratha with yoghurt and saag for dinner (you can take the girl outta punjab but you cant take punjab out of the girl!)

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  5. Like Cris and Melonie, I feel life would be easier if you could do your shopping yourself (or get home delivery from shops ?). Then sorry honey but I'm not very keen on sweet potatoes either... 

    But I know what you mean about frustration, each time I go to India I have to face a lot of "nomadams" and after a while I just want to scream ;o)

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  6. Sorry you're having a tough time. Take a deep breath. What are five things you're grateul for?...
    [this was the first time I read your blog]

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  7. I don't know why I can't go out alone either and I'm not getting any acceptable answers. I've been very patient trying to work this out but it seems to be going nowhere. It led to a huge fight last night. Some things I understand but there's a lot left to be clarified.

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  8. It would be nice but unfortunately isn't something we are able to do (moving). I can't go out because I'm not allowed (long story) and many things are not available for me to get them even if I did go out.

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  9. Yeah I get that too. It's a product of them being taught not to ever change anything from history (it seems). I did make it with walnuts and it wasn't bad. The sweet potatoes weren't even the same color so it didn't look like my normal casserole anyway and that made it easier to think of it as something new.

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  10. Lol, I will ask about going for the fresh produce but in reality I don't see it happening. In many ways I already feel bad because Rohit doesn't even get home until dark and then he has to take me out running. He thinks everything is too far, even inside of the city. I don't let him get away with that very often but I'm quite certain I won't get him out to the villages. He won't even go that far during the day, much less at night.

    I don't get too bothered when Indians tell me foreign food is horrid because I feel the same about a lot of the food here lol. Especially the stuff with oil floating on the top of it and the fried foods. I think we are pretty even in that respect. I like some Indian food too though so I wouldn't tell them all their food is junk. I figure if they say something like that to me then I can be certain they have never left India and really have no idea so I just brush it off. I think I've really got lucky with food and this family because they seem to like the healthy foods I make which are somewhat American and somewhat Desi mixed.

    I'm quite certain my real problem with living here is that I'm caged up like a prison rat. Harsh words I know but sadly that is the only way I can describe it. I'm only allowed out if Rohit or his mother takes me and that's just not working for me and no amount of patience or discussion is getting me any closer to a resolution on that. I know Rohit takes me out several times a week but it's not the same as being able to run out for eggs in the middle of the day and such.

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  11. Thank you!! I'm kicking and screaming right now lol. I'm not crazy about sweet potatoes either but they aren't tomatoes, onions or regular potatoes and that means I'm eating something different so I will take it. I only cook this casserole on the holidays because it's not my favorite it's just that living here I'm getting desperate for anything that isn't tomatoes, onions or plain potatoes. It seems that's what I'm living off of and I know once I leave here I may never eat any of those again because I've had too freaking many being here. At one point all I ate for two weeks straight for breakfast and lunch was tomato and cucumber salads because I was having trouble with food and there was nothing else in the fridge (despite me asking for stuff which turned out to be out of season or not available in the streets). I finally went nuts over that and I haven't even touched cucumbers in months now and I have no desire to. I'm getting really close to that with tomatoes but the fear that I may starve to death or start having more vitamin deficiencies makes me keep eating them. It's a mess, that's for sure.

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  12. Oh yeah Sweet potatoes here are white, not orange, I guess it is a different variety, and they are also more starchy in India. I had ladies from a messageboard for babies born in july 2009 who were all sermoning me about feeding normal mashed potatoes to a 8 months old telling me to go from Sweet potatoes, and frankly I didn't see much of a difference exept the taste being sweeter, but definitely still having enough of the starch my american fellow mothers told me was pure evil.

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  13. http://www.meijer.com

    This is a website i use whenever i need something extra specific and i can't find it... They ship international to India, just remember to prepay all duties and taxes...

    Cause this gets a little too expensive i keep adding things to my cart and order them together once i have enough things... You would definitely find anything you want in Delhi.. but if you cannot go there... then paying  the extra money is simply worth not taking so much stress...

    I just checked... they have like 5 different varieties of pecans..:)

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  14. Oh you poor thing... I'm not surprised you're tired of India under these circumstances. Are you intolerant to wheat ? Otherwise you could try doing your own bread and pasta. Or how about smoothies made with almond milk and fresh fruits ?

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  15. That is so weird. Sugar isn't good for babies, no matter how you give it to them.

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  16. Thank you!!! I'm all about the shopping and I have been looking for somewhere with a good selection. It's hard to find good websites that offer more than just clothes and ship here and have the things I'm looking for. I definitely appreciate the link and the tip!

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  17. I have made my own bread and I'm not intolerant to wheat thankfully. It took about 3-4 hours and was exhausting. I do know how to make tortillas, roti's, parathas and such but I can't eat those at every meal because they are so boring and don't go with everything. I haven't seen almond milk here at all and I do eat a lot of fresh fruits. MIL will kick FIL out the door to go get them if I run low on fruit in the kitchen. It cracks me up every time it happens. As for smoothies I had no way to make them though. I just got an immersion blender to fix that problem and save me time chopping veggies but now it's getting cold and most fruits are out of season. I will be set in a couple of months though because when it warms up, I will have more fruit than I know what to do with coming into the house.

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  18. White Bhabi, you need to just walk out the door. They can't disallow you, you're not 3 years old!

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  19. You know, after 7 months over here, DH went back to India for 6 weeks... and I think that saved our marriage. Take care.

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  20. You're right...I not tree...I fowa. Lol. Anyway, I know I'm not a child but with moving into this house and a completely different family I feel that part of that means accepting a different set of living rules. Just like living with any set of parents they can make you crazy. So I'm working towards a resolution that works for everyone and results in them relaxing their standards and agreeing that I can go. I think just walking out would only portray that I don't care about the family rules, etc. My MIL and Chachi (as well as everyone else as they were growing up) lived under much stricter circumstances and it takes time for all of those thoughts and feelings to change. I don't want this to be a fight or a dictatorship, there needs to be more understanding and acceptance. I'm confident we will get there.

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  21. I can understand that. I feel like some days I need to get away from my husband and back to something comfortable and familiar or otherwise I may just blow a gasket and leave permanently. Of course that feeling passes and I realize marriage doesn't work that way. I am looking forward to a trip back to the US though coming up in a few months. I know I need it. I need to see my family and have some real conversations for a change.

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  22. I'm glad you are starting to get out now as I saw in one of your more recent post but even then you went with a kid. Go by yourself. Let everyone throw a fit or you are going to lose your mind. Don't you have some descent vegetable market near you? That would make a big difference. When people want you to buy something communication suddenly becomes critical for them and they will put up with funny hindi and use as much english as they know. For me learning to ride a scooter allowed me to be much more free. If you don't feel comfortable with that then you could get a bike. I go out for a walk in the garden everyday alone. I suggest you find something every day to do so you get out, it makes a huge difference. 

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  23. OH yes, almost forgot, in the 6 year I have lived in India I have never been able to find Pecans which are one of my favorites. I have my Dad ship them to me from the US. Do you not like oatmeal? That is something that is easily available and fast to make. I really like pooha and oopma for breakfast in addition to paratha and what not.

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  24. I'm working towards going alone. Niece kinda looks up to me so taking her is also like a bonding type experience and I need that too. I will eventually go alone. We don't have any decent vegetable markets around us. Now that I'm getting out more I'm learning a lot of where my food issues are coming from. The street sellers in our bazaar are basically selling after market foods (probably because they know the housewives in this area don't get out much or go far) and not all of their husbands will pick up the food somewhere else like FIL does. So the veggies rot within 2 days in the fridge because they are not fresh to begin with. It explains so much.

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  25. I did recently purchase oatmeal. I don't really like it though so I bought some dried fruits to go into it and now I doctor it up. I'm just not much on sugar or sweet dishes though so adding fruit and honey to the oatmeal makes it feel like I'm eating sugar for breakfast. Even if I use sugar instead of honey it leaves a sweet after taste. I don't like that at all. I do wind up brushing my teeth quite a bit more living here to get the sweet aftertaste of many foods out of my mouth - at least my dentist would be proud lol. I've tried upma too and I liked it but the only way I can find it here comes with chilis and spices already in it that are too hot for me. If I can find the upma plain I would be happy. I have so many ideas for how to cook it just waiting till the day I do find it. I don't eat parathas because they are too greasy and gross to me. They make them with ghee and tons of butter here and it makes me sick to my stomach. I've seen pooha but never tried it because it comes preloaded with chilis and I don't know how to make it. I think I need a good cookbook for stuff like that.

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