Shopping: Food Notes

The photo is a typical “cold” at-home supper for me: canned fish, cheese, brown bread, and fruit.

Overall, daily staples seem to cost less than they do in the U.S. or rest of Europe.

Water comes in two varieties: still and sparkling (with “gas”).

Milk usually comes in liter boxes and often is not refrigerated. (Yes, you must put it in the fridge after opening.) The country of origin will determine how “milk” is translated, but the fat content will be indicated clearly.

Yoghurts and cheeses are plentiful and diverse. Fetas abound, perhaps due to our close proximity to Greece.

Traditional breads are lighter color, less dense, and less flavorful than German breads. There is one variety I love that resembles southern corn bread. Only rarely can I find “black” bread.

Jams tend to be more like compotes: very tasty but runny. Honey is delicious and expensive.

I have avoided buying any meat: I really don’t enjoy flesh to begin with, and the “fresh” stuff in the butcher cases looks suspect in terms of color and cut. The frozen chickens are brown and uninviting.

Fruits seem more plentiful and fresher than vegetables, although there is not great selection or variety of either. (Admittedly, this is the dead of winter.) I will be eager for the open-air (farmers) markets to open when the weather improves. Be sure to have the produce worker to weigh and price your items before you check-out.

Salads here (and throughout much of central Europe) tend to be variations on cabbage and pickled vegetables.

About David McTier

Professor of Theatre Department of Theatre & Musical Theatre Sam Houston State University