Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tales of Shopping

Shopping here is always an adventure, whether it's for food or household items. This week's adventure included both.

Meat. Never too sure about this one. The beef choices are limited, especially US beef (which is expensive), so we have been sampling the Honduran beef. It isn't as flavorful but is very lean, being from grass-fed cows and is reasonably priced. I found some stew meat, which looked good - nice color, and bought a package. We put the groceries in the car and started driving. I smelled something odd and wondered what that was. On the way home from French Harbor, we stopped at Coxen Hole. When we got back in the car there was a strong, unpleasant something dead. Now I was really wondering. As soon as we got home, I found the source - the stew meat. It looked good but smelled really, really bad. Now why didn't I notice that while still in the store. Not driving all the way back to return it, so I stuck it in the freezer until I decided what to do with it.

I've had better luck, usually, with hamburger. I can find Honduran ground beef for about $2.50/pound. I have gotten used to the taste and don't notice a difference when it's used in chili or spaghetti. This week I purchased 3 pounds of very nice looking (and smelling!) ground beef. (Sometimes the stores have none, so when you find it, you buy several.) Once home, we decided to have burgers for lunch, so I opened a package and tried pulling the meat out to make patties. Very strange stuff. Didn't want to release from the package, not sticky like glue, but more like clay or paté. It didn't want to form patties and stuck to the waxed paper. Extremely lean meat; absolutely no grease cooked out. One patty crumbled as I tried to flip it. The odd texture was apparent upon taking a bite, too. It tasted ok, but really didn't have much flavor and just had an odd feel in the mouth. I really wondered what we were eating. Thankfully, we felt just fine after eating it.

I considered taking the bad, frozen stew meat and the odd hamburger back to the store, but after reading an account of a boy who was shot by a guard while trying to exchange a stale loaf of bread, I decided to forget it. (That incident happened somewhere on the mainland, not on the island, so rest easy, Mother!)

Our other shopping tale concerns trying to buy a replacement kitchen faucet assembly. I had complained that I wasn't getting hot water and the water flow had really slowed down from the kitchen faucet. We have one of those small on-demand hot water heaters under our kitchen sink. Don said the water flow was insufficient to activate the water heater, so no hot water. He checked the water pressure coming into the house and it was really good, but something was limiting the flow from the faucet. He took the faucet apart, trying to increase the water flow, but without luck. Now it didn't want to shut off completely. He said we would just have to replace it.

Off to look for replacements. First stop, Serrano's Hardware in Coxen Hole. (This is the store that reminds us of Hood's - you never know what they will have. While in there, I found those foam squares that interlock to make exercise mats...perfect for my exercise ball and easier on the back than our tile floors!) They didn't have the right type faucets. The stores here don't carry big assortments like Lowe's or Home Depot; you have limited number to choose from. I have one of those sinks with four holes: one soap dispenser, one sprayer, two for water but operated by a single handle. Don wants me to replace it with one that has separate hot and cold water taps. We drove up to French Harbor to Ace Hardware. They were out of the reasonably priced ones that would work but expected a shipment within a week. We made another stop at another hardware store and they didn't have any that I liked that would work. None with sprayers. But, they were also expecting a shipment in soon. So, we'll be going back to French Harbor this week. In the meantime, we have to turn off the water just so, or it drips.

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