As we were fully aware when we decided to move to Turkey, certain foods would not be as easy to find (or afford) as they are in America. So far, I have not seen the following foods (or condiments) in any Turkish grocery store: ranch dressing, taco seasoning, peanut butter, ramen noodles, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, avocado (therefore guacamole) sweet and sour sauce and any sort of mac and cheese combination (meaning no powder cheese sauce). I’m sure there are many more that I can’t think of at the moment.
We have been told that we can get some of these things from the American Army base for a decent price, but you need connections to get in there and we don’t have those quite yet. But I know that I’m going to need some Dr. Pepper in my life before coming back to America.
Other grocery items which are ridiculously expensive and therefore we do not purchase are maple syrup (a 16 oz bottle costs upwards of $15) and any alcohol other than beer, wine and raki (a Turkish alcohol that tastes like black liquorice). Most hard alcohols -whiskey, vodka, rum or anything of the sort – are at least double and often triple what they would be in America. Cheese is also rather expensive, but there are Turkish equivalents that are cheaper.
It is also rather difficult to find mustard, barbecue sauce and sliced bread that is good for something other than grilled cheese sandwiches or french toast.
All of these obstacles have led to us being rather creative in how we make some of our favorite things. We do have a cookbook that is designed to help us with said problems. For instance, just a few hours ago, I made barbeque sauce out of coca-cola and ketchup. The consistency wasn’t quite right, but the taste was indeed true to form.
The homemade mac and cheese recipe in the cookbook is very good. We’ve made that a number of times and it is always quite delicious. I recommend not buying anything with powder cheese sauce ever again.
Our friends used the same cookbook to make a very solid sweet and sour sauce, but we haven’t yet tried this mixture. I believe it is simply a type of sugar mixed with vinegar, but I could very well be missing lots of ingredients.
I think all-in-all this experience will help with our culinary skills whenever our next step comes. What’s the idiom? Necessity is the mother of all creativity/innovation. Yeah, it’s quite true.