Wednesday, September 24, 2008
For years our son and daughter-in-law have been touting the benefits of a vegetarian diet. They are not vegans; they do eat some fish and dairy. I can generally take-it-or-leave-it when it comes to most meat, but I do love a good cheeseburger once in awhile. Don, however, is definitely a carnivore.
We knew when we moved here that we would not be able to continue eating a typical American diet. It's just too costly. Many American brands are available here now, but with import duty, the prices are absurd ($7.00 for a box of cereal, $8.00/gal. for fresh milk). And the price of meat! Through the roof. The Honduran beef is not that great; the good meat is imported from Iowa. We were kind of excited when Alba Foods reopened last week because their meat looked good when we were last there. They've changed. The only fresh meat was deli type meats, and I'm not so sure that they weren't also frozen in transit. The other meat offerings were in a deep freeze and the prices posted on the wall above: Sirloin steak - $17.00/lb.; t-bone steak - $15.00/lb; salmon filets - $17.00/lb; hamburger - $4.00/lb; pork chops - $10.00/lb. With the exception of the hamburger, we decided that we did not need to eat meat. We can buy fresh fish for $4.50/lb, fresh shrimp for $5.00/lb, and Honduran hamburger for under $2.00/lb (and it's not bad in tacos or spaghetti). A whole chicken is around $6.00 and a package of 4 frozen chicken breasts is $10.00!!
We've learned to convert prices from lempiras to dollars when considering a food item, or non-food. Bounty paper towels are available for 54 lempira, or $2.86/roll. 15 fresh eggs are 48 lempira or $2.54 (and by the way, their eggs are often not refrigerated. I try to avoid those.) We buy a l liter box of ultra-pasterized milk to use in smoothies for 31 lempira or $1.64 and 32 oz. container of fantastic vanilla yogurt (probiotic) for $3.20. A small jar of pickle relish is $2.33. A 46 oz. can of orange juice is $3.33 (and much better tasting than their fresh - far less sugar).
So what do we eat? We've learned to really like red beans and rice and I use the leftover beans in burritos and make fabulous bean burgers. I fix chicken occasionally in the crockpot and use it in a variety of ways. I buy huge bags of hydroponically grown (on the island) mixed lettuces for $3.20. They are much better than any I've ever bought in the US, so we eat a lot of salads. I buy fresh vegetables from the vegetable & fruit truck that's always parked near the beach in West End, all very reasonably priced. We often get free avocados, limes, mangos, and papayas from Merlin, and we have a steady supply of free bananas from our own trees. We eat pasta, pizza (usually out), lots of seafood, cheese, loads of fresh fruit, tons of tomatoes and peppers and lots of eggs. We also eat smaller portions now and if we've had a big meal at noon, we're not too hungry at dinner time.
Not really vegetarians, but we're certainly getting closer. That should please Dave & Tracy.