Part of Erica's Guest Post Day part 2 over at Little Mummy. This is where Potty Mummy and I have swapped blogs to each post a piece on each others posts!
Hi. My name’s Potty Mummy, and this is the inside of my fridge.
Not a sentence I ever thought I would say, let alone write, but blogging can take you to some interesting places, it seems...
A bit of background first. I’m an early 40’s British woman, mother to two boys aged 6 and 4, wife to a Russophile Dutchman, and who was transplanted from South Kensington, London, to Moscow, Russia, at the beginning of this year. I’m still trying to make sense of being of a first time expat, and fully expect that I’ll crack it just about the same time we board the airplane to head home again. I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, and by the time I realised that I might – on occasion – actually have to introduce myself in person as my blog name – Potty Mummy – it was too late and I was stuck with it. (Just in case you were wondering what kind of an idiot would saddle herself with a name like that, and all...)
Enough about me, anyway. Let’s take a look at the inside of the fridge which will probably tell you a lot more about my life here than I realised when I told Mummy Mishaps that I thought this was a great topic to do a blog swap about....
Let’s see. The Anatomy of an Expat’s Fridge...Note, children,
the sparkling condition of said fridge. Note the tidy rows and organised way that the fridge is stacked. Note the...
Oh, crap. Obviously it’s none of those things. What you see instead is my half-hearted attempt at recreating the sort of healthy eating regime I took for granted whilst living in London but which takes a little more organisation now we’re so far from home, Toto. So, for example, the 3 blue cartons (one in the door, two on their sides on the 4th shelf down in the fridge, represent but a small part of the milk mountain currently in existence chez Potty. Milk, you see, is a rare commodity in Russia. Well – drinkable milk is, at any rate. Whenever an expat comes across the brand you see in our fridge she (for it is invariably a ‘she’ who thinks that far ahead) is driven to stockpile it in the freezer because you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be at the supermarket on her next visit...
You might be surprised by the lack of fresh vegetables on display. That is because – to my spoiled western consumer eyes, at any rate – there really aren’t that many available outside of farmers markets here at this time of year. What, you didn’t think they had farmers markets here? I would do all my vegetable shopping at them but the nearest one is a 30 minute walk away and whilst that’s all fine and dandy on the way there in the sunshine, the way back weighed down by 5 kilo bags of potatoes (which, of course, you can buy at the afore-mentioned supermarket and transport home by car) is less fun. So most of our fresh vegetables are with the most of our milk – in the freezer.
We aren’t only eating western-branded and western style food, of course. Look closely and you might notice a jar of pickled gherkins in the fridge door (yes, I know they have them in MacDonald’s, but still, Russian originally. Really.) There is also the odd tub of Smetana (soured cream, great for putting through pasta with ham and convincing the kids it’s a poor man’s version of spaghetti carbonara – so shoot me), some red onions hidden away in the vegetable drawer (for all the borscht I never make), and on the 3rd shelf down from the top, peeking coyly around the edge of a tub of incredibly Russian feta cheese, that Russian staple food, Heinz tomato ketchup.
You might also – if you have very sharp eyesight - notice a jar of contraband English Provender Company Tomato Pickle on shelf 3, which my younger son loves more than life and which we can’t leave home without. No visitor from home is allowed through the door without first coming up with a couple of jars. Or a bottle or two of wine (funnily enough, one of those is ALSO on shelf 3), which whilst it is widely available here, is mostly very expensive and almost as often not very good. Duty Free does very well out of expats returning to Moscow after business trip to Europe, I promise.
And that’s pretty much it. There is other stuff in there too, of course there is, but let’s not go into the bowls of leftovers (from far too long ago, probably) and the beer – still waiting forlornly for someone to drink it at one of our bbq’s because everyone prefers to drink the wine that’s been brought in from Duty Free. That’s what you learn as an expat, I suppose, and not only in relation to drinkable wine: you have to take your chances where you can. What with that, the milk, and bread, (didn’t I mention the bread?), whoever said life as an Expat was easy?
For more thoughts from Potty Mummy, check out http://potty-diaries.blogspot.com/