The eating habits of a Kiwi

Trip Start Oct 28, 2004
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Trip End Aug 08, 2005


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Thursday, January 27, 2005

While living in the van Molly and I survived off meals we now refer to as PoGo: Poorman's Gourmet. Such PoGo meals include saltine crackers with laughing cow cheese and jelly to imitate brie and crackers and baquette bread, chedder cheese and tomato easily becomes bruchetta. Danni even introduced us to a PoMo: poorman's momosa which is beer and orange juice. But now that our accomodation isn't mobile we find ourselves how the other half(okay majority)eats because let's face it...Molly and I still subscribe to the PoGo lifestyle.

We have found that there are three main staples to the Kiwi diet: Cranberry, brie cheese and pumpkin. Back home we only are exposed to cranberry on thanksgiving or in the occasional muffin but here we find it on sandwhiches on pizza instead of tomato sauce (my favorite pizza at Winnie's is Chicken Cranberry and Brie) and in many sauces that you would marienate meat in. That same with Brie...I rarely ate it at home and now here I can't enough of it. It is the main ingredient to any sandwhich or pizza and while you can't find mozerella cheese at the grocery store you are greeted with a handful of brands of brie.

Pumpkin seems to be seasonal back home making its appearance during Autumn in the form of jack-o-lanterns and pie. Here, however, pumpkin is a much loved squash. It's main dish is pumpkin soup but does not overshadow pumpkin juice, baked pumpkin to become chips or crutons or pumpkin spread on sandwhiches. Noone here has ever heard of pumpkin pie and laugh at the thought.

Although I wasn't a huge eater of them back home, a fruit pie would be a welcomed sight. It is a foreign concept to the born and breed Kiwi to put anything other than meat in their pies. Maybe the occasional vegetable works its way in but that is where the line is drawn.

Meat pies have become their own food group in New Zealand. They are the size of a small pot pie (about the circumfrence of a tea cup saucer) yet are enough for a full meal. They are sold at gas stations, convienant stores, stands on the side of the road and in bakeries. AS a matter of fact, bakeries here are not the traditional donut, bagel and pastery shops that we find back home. Instead they sell meat pies, cheese based/filled bread, quiches, and breaded meats (usually on a stick). A hotdog here does not sit happily on a bun but rather is a battered and fried put on a stick and then dippen in tomato sauce.

Black beans, real mayonaisse, ketchup, pickle relish, peas without mint flavor, slice and bake cookies, oreos, cheerios, kraft mac and cheese, cherry coke, bagels, iced tea, and ranch dressing do not exist. New Zealand makes up for those items with kidney beans, conditioner like mayo, tomato sauce, sweet chili sauce, peas with mint flavor, hard cookies that have a hint of flavor, Wheetbix that is harder and with less flavor than Shreaded Wheat, spaghetti in a can, rasberry coke (not nearly as good), meat pies, hot english breakfast tea, and balsamic vinegar.

Capsicums are red and green peppers (which took me two months to figure out), lemonade is Sprite, gerkins are pickles, prawns are shrimp, tomato sauce is ketchup (but tastes nothing like it), chips or wedges are french fries (usually flavored with vinegar), lolly is candy, and hokey pokey is a favorite ice cream and not a dance...

Food is taken seriously in New Zealand, especially Queenstown being as touristy as it is. Since afternoons are so incredibly hot or in the middle of a guided tour that noone is in the mood to eat. But when the sun begins to descend the masses come out and begin to eat and drink big making up for their missed midday meal.

It usually makes me jealous that these people can easily drop a hundred dollars on a meal of pizzas just because they had read it was the best pizza in the world (thanks lonely planet). But when they order a "shandy" (white wine and lemonade) I know that even the wealthy revert to PoMo every once in awhile.
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