Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snack Food, anyone?

Shopping in a foreign country is not easy, we all know that. But shopping in an asian country where you can't even piece together any of the words on the packaging is exhausting.

I remember a story about baby food from many years ago. Women in African countries would not buy baby food at all. Researchers discovered that the women thought the jars contained ground-up babies - after all, that was the picture on the jar. I am afraid of making these kinds of mistakes as I shop completely by the pictures on the packages. How many tubs of margarine must I buy until I find butter?

And finding snack-type foods that are not junky has been a tough assignment for the grocery shopper. I have been buying rice crackers (senbei). The kids like them, they are not fried, and they have a nice crunch. Maybe a bit high in sodium? I don't know - which may be an advantage to not being able to read the nutrition information. I was so happy to see the senbei packaged in smaller bags, much like the snack bags of goldfish or pretzels.

"Perfect for the long bus ride home," I thought, and bought them. I tucked a bag each into Chris and Michael's backpacks.

They arrive home from school, and Chris announces "Thanks for the fish brains, Mom!" Fish brains? What is he talking about?

Apparently in the package I bought, there are 2 mixes of senbei. Just as there are cheddar goldfish, pretzel goldfish, pizza goldfish, there are flavors in the senbei. I was lucky enough to buy the variety pack with one regular type, and one "fish" type, complete with dried whole fish in the mix. Take a look at the package and you can see those fish! 

Setting a good example, Nick and I sampled the snack fish food. It's not bad, actually, in fact, I really like them. Nick said, "Remember those Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans? This reminds me of the sardine jelly bean."

And I think he's right. The fish are crunchy and sweet and WHOLE! Who knows if anything was removed besides the eyes? If I could read the package, I could tell you. Come visit me, I'll set out a bowl of these instead of popcorn. You take the rice crackers, the fish are MINE.


  1. Pam: I'm laughing hysterically about the fish! We've been eating that stuff forever - now it's cool to be ethnic but I remember my mom wanting to pack it in elementary school lunches and Daniel and I freaking out! I'm thrilled that you like it; mom says the whole dried fish is very high in calcium (good for women of a certain age) and no, nothing is removed prior to preparation. Take care and miss you!!

  2. Hey Becky.. I wonder if I could get Sam to eat the fish? None of the milk here is going over well. Nick and I keep picking up the ESL (Extended Shelf LIfe) milk, which is really revolting and completely uneccessary, since we go through at least a quart a day.

    I think I would have freaked out all the way up to yesterday if someone gave me fish snacks! Setting a good example is stretching me more than I realized I needed to stretch! Wait until I post about the omochi rice pounding....

  3. Hi Pam! This reminds me of snacks one of my husband's colleagues in Japan sent us after Hayden was born. He told Chris they were cookies, so we dove into the package with wild abandon...only to discover they were fish flavored cookies. Yowie. Unexpected.

    I'm impressed with your culinary bravery. I can only imagine the education you're receiving every day!

    Love your blog. Take care, and give all your boys a hug from me.

  4. PS -- "TallGirl" is Tori -- sorry, it comes up with my blog name.

  5. Hi Tori - I keep muttering to myself at the grocery store, "Even if you don't know what it is, it's edible!" I draw the line at buying the funny things that look like jellyfish... surely they're not... oh wait, they probably are jellyfish.