Dixie Peach: August 2004

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

They Have Me by the Pickle

Doesn't matter how many years I live in Germany, I can't seem to break some of my food habits.

The Hellmann's mayonnaise weakness of mine is world famous. Literally. It's funny how people from all sorts of countries, due to online friendships, know that I must have Hellmann's and the lengths I go to get it. My most recent stunt to get Hellmann's is to order from an online firm in Germany that carries American foods. However it's damned expensive to buy it - about 3 € for an 8 ounce jar. I ordered five so I spent over $15 for a little over a quart of mayonnaise. Plus postage.

Someone please have my head examined.

I have, however, thankfully gotten over Hellmann's being my must have mayonnaise for potato salad. Thank God because it uses a lot and that leave me pretty short for when I'm wanting to make a lovely chicken breast on white with tomatoes sandwich. Or my new breakfast fave, the boiled egg and tomato sandwich (don't know what I'm going to do once I can't get tomatoes from Spain and have to rely only on the red baseballs that pass as tomatoes from Holland). The pickle relish I use and love has been able to perk up the not-quite-right flavor of the Knorr mayo I've been using and all has been well.

Until today.

My sister had sent me three squeeze bottles of pickle relish at Christmastime and I'd gone through them. That would normally necessitate panic on my part (like when the Hellmann's she sent me at the same time arrived rancid because they'd frozen while on their six fucking week boat journey from Mississippi - thanks USPS for your great service when someone pays a pantload for airmail) but I'd been able to buy Heinz pickle relish at our local department store, Karstadt, in their American foods section. Outrageously priced, of course, but well worth it for lucious potato salad or tasty tuna salad.

As potato salad was being requested for supper by B, I made it my duty to hop on the streetcar this morning to get three or four jars. I was all excited about it even. And as I got close enough to the American food section (a few shelves of things like snack packs of Chips Ahoy cookies, small bottles of maple syrup, boxes of Betty Crocker muffin mix, Hershey bars, etc.) I could see there was no Heinz pickle relish. In its place they're now carrying Heinz hamburger relish - some gawdawful looking mixture of what seems to be pickle relish and mustard.

I could have cried. I was so upset that I wasn't even tempted to buy a box of blueberry PopTarts or a jar of marshmallow fluff.

So I came on home with my head a-hanging. Had to resort to chopping up sweet pickles and adding them to the potato salad along with some of the pickle juice for flavor. While B said he enjoyed it, it simply wasn't the same for me. The pieces of pickle were too big and therefore added a crunch I don't like and the pickle juice, while doing some flavoring, wasn't anything like the flavor one gets from the juice in pickle relish.

Yeah, I know. If this is the only problem I have then I'm doing quite well in life.

I just found where they sell online at Heinz pickle relish for 3.79 €, plus postage of course. Ridiculous price. Four bucks for a little jar of pickle relish! Outrageous!

I can't wait to put in an order.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Getting to Know Her

There's a real disadvantage to living thousands and thousands of miles from my family. I miss them a lot but something else that bothers me is that it's kept me from being near my nephews and neice - especially my neice.

Claire's twelve years old and I've only seen her once. She was about two then and she hardly knew me from a door. I doubt she even noticed me. And it's sad because she's the only little neice I have.

I decided though to remedy that and last week I wrote her a little letter and sent her a bracelet. Bribes are always good when working with kids - at least my experience has always proved that to be true. I didn't want to sound like some old naggy aunt and I didn't want to sound like I was pressuring her so I just wrote a little about myself and invited her to write me back.

Claire's at that age where I felt my most awkward. I felt like no one could relate to me and I stayed to myself an awful lot. I don't expect her to pour out her life's secrets to me but what if she did? What if she felt like she could trust me or relate to be because we're both the youngest of four kids. What if she felt like I was worth getting to know?

Actually I'd be thrilled. I don't expect it but if I got a positive response I'd be very thrilled. I feel like distance and her stupid mother have worked to keep us apart and that's just wrong. Maybe I should have tried to get to know her sooner but without me there - without her having a physical memory of me - I doubt it would have worked. I would still be that aunt in the abstract. But now she's old enough to handle writing letters that consist of more than "How are you? I am fine.". Now she can maybe begin to relate to me as a person. Maybe, just maybe, I don't have to be just a name to her that her grandmother or her dad mentions.

Just Get Settled

I think that applies to both of us.

If you're attempting to read this then get settled and dive in. But before I can invite you to do that, I need to get my own self settled. Get settled what I want to write about. What parts of me I want to share and what I want to keep private.

So sit back and settle yourself and I'll attempt to settle my own thoughts. And then maybe we'll enjoy this together.