Friday, August 8, 2008

Cheese Please!

Eating has been an adventure here in Skopje. I seriously miss my daily trips to the Giant salad bar for lunch! There are two types of salads popular in Macedonia--the Macedonian, which has cucumbers, fried peppers, tomatoes, and oil &spices; and the Skopska salad, which has cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, oil&spices, and mounds of grated sirenje (soft white cheese). Both are quite delicious, but a far cry from the offerings at Giant! I am expecting a delivery of imitation bacon bits any day now--who new you could miss those??

It is always difficult to adjust to new products and the lack of familiar ones. The biggest issue here has been cheese. We are definitely cheese addicts, and the lack of cheddar, Monterrey jack, and processed/shredded mozzarella is definitely disappointing! The local hard cheese is called Kashkaval, and it can be made with either cow or sheep's milk. I had hoped it would be similar to cheddar, but it most resembles provolone. It's not bad, but I am have a hard time getting used to it. I am amazed to see it selling on specialty websites for outrageous prices when it is so cheap here...think I'll go into business as a Kashkaval Feta is very popular, and Arianna and I love it, so that is good. They sell this interesting blend called "Pizzarella" for making pizzas, and it doesn't taste bad, but it is nearly impossible to melt!

Fortunately, there is a US military base in Kosovo that we have access to where we can purchase Kraft shredded cheddar for a mere $4.10 for 8 ounces...grrr. I can't believe how expensive that is, but we are paying it! Last weekend, Chris bought me 9 packages and we have eaten well this week--baked potato skins, nachos, and my favorite--au gratin potatoes...mmm. My biggest problem now is hiding it from Christopher and trying to make him understand that the next time Daddy goes to Kosovo, they may not have any cheddar, so he should conserve. Or heaven forbid, we could loose our access if violence flares up or a new CO takes over the base and decides to keep us out. It is funny how much the little things we take for granted, like cheese, ranch dressing, or decent canned tuna, make such a profound difference in our level of happiness.


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