Thursday, October 13, 2011

They can take the girl out of Idaho, but they can't take the potato out of the girl!

Brushed Potato vs Russet Potato
Short Cut Bacon vs...what I can regular bacon
Tasty Cheese vs Cheddar cheese

I've been missing the familiarity of America a lot lately, and by lately, I mean the past few months. It started with missing the convenience and utter cheapness of 24-hour Walmarts. Shops here close at 9pm, a select few - most others close at 5pm, with one light of "late night" shopping a week, where the other stores will be open until 9pm. So when we moved into our new place, and wanted to stock up on all those essential items, but just get them quickly and cheaply, we had to head all over the place, and still only get half of them, because nowhere has everything, and everything is not cheap. 

I've also just been missing familiarity - every tree looks different, even the smells that seem almost the same have that distinct feeling of being different. The grass is different. The ants bite (and hurt). The spiders are supposedly huge, though I haven't seen any yet, but just knowing they exist in my area gives me the creeps. Trees bloom in bottle-brush shapes. This is really the most striking tree - it is beautiful, but it is also so unbelievably foreign. 

I remember the first time I walked into a grocery store in December, to be greeted by the sights on the left up above. Whoo different kind of potatoes! That's interesting! Bacon is different shape, well it doesn't look quite as good, but it's probably a bit healthier since it's less fatty. Then cheese being called tasty cheese just confused me, but I ate it, and was like, yeah that's alright. See, everything is exciting when you are first in a new country, well at least it was for me. Everything being different means it could be better, it means that all the assumptions are automatically questioned (at least with the things that are different), because they have different assumptions, and there is that palpable newness.

Well, that newness has worn off. There are a lot of things I really like about Australia, but there are so many things that seem different just for the sake of being different, and take away that familiarity that says - this place is home. It's like - this is why it is different to move to Utah or New York than it is to move to Australia. The banks are different from state to state, but cheddar cheese is still orange, bacon is still cut the same way, and you can get russet potatoes everywhere in America, by walking into any supermarket. These are things that could potentially threaten the food supply, and have their own kind of problems, but they have that familiarity that just screams home. For all my initial thoughts, there is not one of those three that I would not take the right side of the column if I could. 

But today, I found that familiarity in the combination of these ingredients. Baked potatoes, covered in cheese, with broken pieces of bacon on top, skins on the side with butter and salt. That is a great taste. That tastes just like home. Maybe not as much like home as it could have, but enough.

I made a facebook status*: "Yummy baked potatoes with cheese and bacon. They may be weird potatoes and weird bacon, and even weird cheese, but it's a familiar taste! They can take the girl out of Idaho (ok I never lived there), but they can't take the potato out of the girl!"

*quoted out of order