The grass is always greener elsewhere

The grass is always greener elsewhere
I am coming says my sister from Australia. Let me know what you want from here. Nothing at all I respond, knowing fully well she will bring me my stash of dried apricots from there. They are Turkish and not from California and I promise taste way better! Must be the sun or the water, or the soil in Turkey that makes them taste divine. At my age I seem to have gone the way of my sons. Something to eat rather than perfumes and soaps are welcome gifts!

Then it’s time for me to return from the US after spending a few months helping out with the grand kids. First go the bags of prunes and walnuts from Costco, into the suitcase. I have never seen such enormous bags as they have in the US and in COSTCO. Then as the date approaches for my departure, all the Stevia packets and squeezees which I require for a year are slipped into the suitcase. Those are light and very easy to carry. For some reason I cannot drink my tea minus a sweetener. Plus at least two bags of Scottish oats for my breakfast from TESCO or Sainsbury's. Those oats are the best.

The day before I leave my son weighs my bags and I am put into the car and taken shopping to fill them up! The generosity of my boys warms the cockles of my mother’s heart. So this is when delicious large sized salted peanuts, hunks of cheese and long rolls of cold meats are refrigerated and then packed in carefully just before I leave. And some gifts for the house help ofcourse who likes the Chinese slippers and folding umbrellas from the US. Take her a Calvin Klien I am told and the help grins at the scarlet umbrella.

Funny isn’t it that they get the widest range of cheeses there, including specialised varieties, but they want me to bring them tins of Amul cheese, from India.We prefer the flavour of Amul they say and I just can’t fathom why, when they have the most wonderful Cheddars, Monteray Jacks, Camemberts and my absolute favourite -- Brie. I learned to eat ‘stinky’ Brie in Amsterdam along with Gouda after visiting Gouda in the Netherlands, while studying there and marvelling at the red waxy covers one peels off, to get at the cheese. I draw the line with Blue Cheese, that tastes awful and I just don’t care if its posh.

I have also learned about their wonderful pure honey from the wild flowers in Tennessee -- totally organic and which never solidifies like our sugared stuff. And this time their delicious Apple cider vinegar which makes my simple home- made Hot mustard Brinjal pickle taste like some gastronomic delight. A bottle of that too goes in, as the vinegar goes well with meats and is less potent than our Goa vinegar, which knocks me flat with its ripe smell.

Finally greedy me stashes bags of sugar free chocolates being a diabetic and starved of sweets in India. Bags and bags of mint or coconut, caramel or peanut filled Chocolates. All from Walmart and it makes me sorry that I can’t bring a box of choco -bar ice-cream too! The months I spend in the US with my doctor kids, brings me back fitter and more in control of my health, as they are particular about my diet. An exercise cycle was bought to ensure I got my daily regimen of exercise in.

The UK too has its pleasures for me, when I visit the other son. We have found wonderful, sugar free wafer biscuits stuffed with a sugar free cream that I enjoy in TESCO. The Siro brand which is light and easy to carry, albeit in a box, so I don’t get them smashed at the end of the journey. Earlier my boy would buy me boxes of Thornton’s which the Brits stopped, as they are very correct about which product can be named diabetic. So the government came down heavily on them, as they contained something called polyols and removed them from the shelves in the UK.

So now I just eat a few squares from the large 85p TESCO, Waitrose or Sainsbury’s chocolate, no added sugar’ bars, and I love the milk chocolate, better than the dark chocolate. A stack of the bars go into my bag before I leave. Those I ration out a square a day, as otherwise like Old Mother Hubbard, my cupboard will be bare!

No one is allowed into my stash. It is under lock and key except for the mature cheddar blocks and salami sausages in the fridge and over the months I ration myself a few goodies at a time, till I return.

The grass is always greener on the other side, with us humans!

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