Tuesday, August 21, 2007

today's prep for Iceland: food

I made a couple of stops on my way home from work this evening picking up odds and ends for my trip. First I stopped at Duane Read for some m&ms, popcorn (a staple for me), paper towels and other odds and ends. Then I went to Borders and forced myself to only purchase what I went in to buy: a new moleskine notebook to record my travel thoughts. It was hard to walk past all the books and not buy anything.

After Sephora I made my last trip: Whole Foods, where I browsed the aisles for easy snacks and trail mix ingredients. I debated on various items from the mundane - peanuts - to the exotic - dried, yogurt or chocolate covered Himalayan goji berries (which I would have purchased had they been available in a smaller bag at a more reasonable price) - but ultimately settled on the following:

almonds, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried raspberries, sesame sticks, dark chocolate m&ms and peanut butter m&ms.
I love raw almonds so this is usually my trail mix base so I started with plenty of them. Next came the chocolate because, well that is essential. Plus I have discovered chocolate has less of a tendency to melt in m&m form mixed in a trail mix. Then I added the sesame sticks.

In creating this concoction I have to think of not just my tastes but those of my sister. Luckily we are united in our dislike of raisins. I, however am a fan of dried cranberries but she is not. I added them anyway, I love the tartness! Sorry Erin, but I didn't add too many.

I also added my experimental find of dried raspberries which are delicious! I can't believe how much they taste like fresh raspberries . . . they melt in your mouth. Magic! So in they went.
Then the fun dried apple sticks which are also very tasty.
I mixed it all up and poured it into a zip lock baggie but knew something was missing. . . After searching my cupboards I found some cashews and tasted a sample few and determined they are still good and emptied the jar into the mix.
After returning the mix to my zip lock I threw it in with my growing stock of food.

Why so much food? From everything I have read food is pricey in Iceland. After living in New York for so many years, I don't get sticker shock too often (other than in Tokyo) but I'm prepping myself for a shock this trip. And since my guidebook doesn't have a lot of positive things to say about the food, and even goes so far as to state "Iceland's food is unlikely to be the highlight of your trip", I figure we can skip a good portion of the cuisine. Especially considering their traditional foods include such delicacies as sild (pickled herring - tried it in Holland blech!), hakarl (a rotted shark that is first buried for up to six months in sand which is said to "make your eyes water"), svio (boiled and singed sheep's heads), slatur (haggis-like variety of sheep head), blood pudding and surmatur (scraps of meat pressed into cakes and pickled in whey). Oh and don't forget the pickled rams' testicles. Yeah, I don't think I will be hunting down these local dishes although the fresh fish, specifically the salmon, sounds wonderful. In the positive category, the book notes that they have notable home-produced cheese and dairy products which is reinforced by the fact that I have seen Icelandic butter at Whole Foods (although I have never bothered to purchase it). I have also run across a few positive accounts of a yogurt-like product called skyr which is eaten with a particular native berry that I can't recall the name of but is at its ripest the last week of August - perfect timing! Erin also reminded me that Iceland has their own version of pancakes known as flatbrauo which are similar to Swedish or German crepe-like pancakes which we are looking forward to sampling. Although my guidebook claims these are traditionally eaten at Christmas I am hoping we can find them. I have also been told to sample the rye bread which is baked in underground ovens near Myvatn in northeastern Iceland. So I have a few things to look forward to.

It is a good thing my sister and I do not drink because alcohol is extremely expensive so we will save there. Ultimately, the guidebook recommends self-catering and bringing some supplies from home. Hence the above snacks. My sister is in charge of picking up some Costco dried mangos for me and other snacks she wants. With what I have come up with so far I don't think we will go hungry.

Only three more days of work . . .


erin said...

Half the food you have is what I already got. Except the mangoes which I have yet to purchase and I won't be eating anyway.

tiff said...

I'm dying over your trail mix. I'm going to crave it for the rest of the day.

I think I could be a very faithful dieter in Iceland. Perhaps that is how I will take it to the next level. Iceland, here we come!

autumn said...

I am now craving trail mix, something that rarely happens to me. I love dried blueberries and am going to buy some dried raspberries next chance I get.

michele said...

you know you have to at least try some authentic weird icelandic food. it always makes for a good story.

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