When I find myself missing something from the US it usually has to do with food. Most of the time it’s something Mexican food related, like salsa, tortillas or enchilada sauce. And don’t get me wrong, salsa (a.k.a. tomato sauce with green bits and pieces in it) and tortillas (corn tortillas that are actually made with half wheat flour) are readily available, but enchilada sauce is a bit scarce. Then there are the things that I became accustomed to eating in the US that are just not available here. Butternut squash ravioli, fake Buffalo wings, frozen waffles for the quick, on-the-go breakfast, and salad bars are among those things.
The Swedish idea of a salad bar is just not quite the same. Most times the salad bar is a build-your-own but not make-your-own. Someone stands behind the counter and builds it for you. The base salad that you get consists of iceberg lettuce, a couple of small pieces of tomato and cucumber and your choice of bulgur or pasta, then a choice of five additional toppings. It isn’t horrible but it is just not the same. I found one place that actually has a mixed greens base but then there are no normal toppings available. The choices there include roasted veggies, bean salad, carrot salad, fennel salad, barley salad, and then grilled chicken, Swedish shrimp, Swedish crawfish or meatballs. I think you get the idea. We make salads often at home but the lettuce available in the grocery store comes alive, planted in a tiny, plastic pot, like an herb, and is enough for maybe two medium sized salads.
All of that aside, I have pretty much found substitutes for everything that I love and miss from the US. In a rare instance I have found the item itself. Imagine my pleasant (read: jumping up and down and doing a happy dance in the store) surprise to find Kettle barbequed potato chips on the shelf. In the orange bag and everything. I sent a message to Carl from work this afternoon telling him that I sure would like some bbq chips for my Fredagsmys tonight. (Fredagsmys will be explained later) and he told me to get them. I replied that there were no stores that carried them except ICA Maxi and I was not up for dragging myself there, since it was out of the way and not super easy to get to. He replied, “Don’t they have them at Daglivs?” Daglivs is one of the grocery stores on my way home from work. I did not remember them having bbq chips but if Carl had seen them there I figured I could go by to check. I walked to the chips section, in half-hearted expectation, thinking that I would have to settle for dill or black pepper and sour cream chips, and voila! There they were, on the shelf, like a beacon calling to me. I grabbed two bags and ran to the check out.