Ketchup as a vegetable

We’ve been here for one month and a half, and we are having an experience we will never forget.   Moving to a different country to live for an extended period of time is always hard on everyone.  We had never done this with kids before but when the opportunity arose, we were ready for an adventure as a family.

Our own experience as teenagers told us that we’d need time to adjust.   Time to get to know people, to learn to get around, to learn to eat new foods and to cook new foods, to learn new ways of doing things in general.  And even though it’s been hard at times, missing things and people back at home,  it has been pretty good in general.

Back at home I gave a lot of thought about the food.  We try to eat healthy and buy as many organic foods as we can afford, buy local, support our farmers.  But I knew that coming to a new country would mean to be a lot more loose about things.  And I was ready for it.   Siena more than Lucas is great at trying foods and I thought they’d do that here too.  We brought a multivitamin to supplement a little as well, as a peace of mind.

They have done a great job at trying most of the foods at The Mess.  A lot of the teachers say the food in the cafeteria is really spicy.  Knowing that now, it makes me feel a little “less wimpy”… I guess it’s good.

I really try not to worry too much about what Siena and Lucas are missing in their daily consumption… or have too much of.  I know what they are, and I try my best to level it when we stay at home for a meal or for snacks.

There are so many delicious foods to eat so here’s a little picture menu of what we’ve tried for you to see.

These are sweets from a shop Mark and Siena found one day down The Fort.

The vegetables we’ve had in the meals at The Mess are mostly cooked.  I miss fresh vegetables…. a big green salad sounds so good right now!  But we’ve found some fruits that are really good too.

10Rupees.  25 cents. A whole coconut.

This was our last peeled apple we had few days ago.  I’ve been washing everything really good and nobody has gotten sick.  And some guavas, bananas, pears, papayas…

These are the meals we’ve had at The Mess.  

Clockwise: Gourd (on the right), Paneer vegetable (top left), dal (middle top), cucumbers, carrots, beet root and onions salad, gourd (bottom right), chapati with plain rice.

Potato (aloo in Hindi).


Papar, Indian curry (top middle), chapati, sprouts of lentils and beans, rice, potatoes and peas .

Custard fruit. Pickle. Puri. Potatoes and peas. Fried Rice.

Sweetened curd (top left), kidney bean (rajma in Hindi),  plain curd (yogurt), vegetable mix, chapati and rice.


Sometimes for a break, we’ve ordered pizza.

Yes, pizza in India. I never thought we were going to have pizza delivered while here.  But it’s been nice, especially for the younger people in our family to get something non-spicy.  Leaving the little bag of chillies we get with the delivery on the side.

I personally love ordering pizza.  It’a a whole ordeal.  First we need to find someone at home with a phone.  Or we’ve also have decided last minute and come back from the school and ask someone with a cell phone to help us out.

Then when we order we need to give them the phone number we are calling from.  We never know the number. So we ask.  Most people with these numbers have ordered pizza before, so we get asked if it’s the same address.  We say “no, we are borrowing the phone.” So they type the new name and address.  So when our friends want to order pizza again they need to change their address back to their own, so they can get their pizza delivered to the right house.  Then they need to call us back to this phone number to make sure it’s a ‘real order’.   Then the make the order and we have to wait for 45 minutes or so.

This is the short version.  Because we need to add to all this, my Hindi skills, the English of the person at Domino’s Pizza (or them trying to find someone who speaks English), and then ordering and using the coupon we’ve gotten, changing address, confirming phone numbers.  It makes the ordering much more fun. Don’t you think?

And then there’s the mall, down in the city.  As much as I don’t like malls and crowds (I’m having to get used to this last one very quickly) I am seeing ‘the mall’ with totally different eyes.

Chip told us about these corn snacks and that we should try them.  Chip and his family came to the same school last year and we were able to ‘meet’ them (by phone and on email) and get their thoughts and suggestions before we left.  It’s been great hearing their adventures and now that we are here, fun to put faces to their stories.

So when Siena asked for this corn snack the other day, when we went to the mall to get shampoo, a pressure cooker and other foods in the store there, I’m thinking “YES let’s get some! It’s a vegetable!”

And when our plans changed last minute and we found ourselves in the evening still in the mall dinner at McDonald’s seemed OK too.

Small pieces of lettuce in this sandwich (vegetable– check), chicken (protein– check), french fries (vegetable– check), ketchup (vegetable– check)…. a perfectly good meal!

What has happened to me? Not that we’ll be going to the city every day to eat here, but even to think that going to McDonalds is good for a “boost” of protein and vegetables… makes me laugh out loud.

But not to scare anybody, we are also going to the local store ‘Rawaldas’ to find great snacks, and beans and nuts.  We always bring something new to try.

Like these. ‘Khakhara’. I made homemade salsa.  Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, some chilies, lemon juice, salt…. it was “almost” like eating the chips and salsa at home.

But these are the most favorite snacks at the Teacher’s Break Siena and Lucas enjoy.

I’m working on learning to make some of these foods. Probably not the pizza.


8 thoughts on “Ketchup as a vegetable

  1. Kelly September 30, 2011 / 11:08 pm

    Who knew grabbing a quick pizza could be so complicated!

    Your pictures are making me hungry! I was just talking with a neighbor about yet another Thai restaurant setting up in Sellwood/Moreland (I think we’re up to 5) and we were bemoaning the need for an Indian place. Maybe it could be your next venture when you return? Specialty world food dishes (Chile, India…) food cart perhaps?

    And by the way, Evan loves ketchup so much she orders a side of ketchup for her ketchup. It’s an entire food group in her book!

    • naturallyfundays October 2, 2011 / 5:26 pm

      I like that… ketchup for the ketchup. Double side of vegetables! I don’t think I’m quite ready to set up a food stand of any kind! I’m barely creative here with the foods I have. Need to get more help before too long.

  2. Chip Moreland October 1, 2011 / 2:33 am

    ‘Hot and Juicy’ corn as they say ‘Naturally Healthy’. My favorite is the Mexicana which looks like they just add red chili powder to the tablespoon or so of salt. Mmmm! You’ll find these stands are franchises in the malls. I was out of rupees in the mall in Varanasee and Laura gave me and Margaret 40 rupees to get home via moter rickshaw. We decided we wanted a 3rd corn for 30 rupees to split(we already had 2 each). That meant we walk 2 km in the heat. The good news a bike rikshaw found us after walking for 200 yds and took us for 10 rupees:)

    More to your last post, I had 2 fantasies. First opening ‘Hot and Juicy’ stands in the US or living permanently on the scindia campus and open my own stand at the corner by the Junior House and the entrance of the palaces. Both would be worth a fortune and would give great job satisfaction:) My goal in this fantasy would be to be top ‘Hot and Juicy’ sales producer… Woo hoo!

    • naturallyfundays October 2, 2011 / 5:36 pm

      Today we went to a friend’s house and they gave us the “sweet American corn” snack… warm, sweet, sour, salty… really good! I think I’d also walk 2 km for that corn. Sounds like you have s a business plan to write for the national and the international branch of your corn cart! I think we’d be up for trying your new recipes before you head out to the world with them. What do you say?

  3. Chip Moreland October 1, 2011 / 2:47 am

    oh and forgot. The veggie momos next to the hot and juicy are great also. Little asian like dumplings.

  4. julie October 1, 2011 / 4:00 am

    Oooh. Have you tried the chicken maharaja burger at McDonalds? It’s pretty yummy! Also the potato tikka burger. If US McDonalds had those, I might actually go more often.

    I feel your pain with food familiarity, although I would give my right arm to be forced to eat all that yummy Indian food every day. On our trip, we were all about going to Dominoes and other havens of familiarity.


    • naturallyfundays October 2, 2011 / 5:31 pm

      I’m sure we’ll be back at the mall some time soon and our visit to McDonalds I’ll try that. And I think you are right. When we don’t have something is when we miss it the most. Some days I crave some of our home made meals from home, even when all this good food is in front of us. But it’s nice to have the choice and hard to decide to skip a meal when it’s already made and no dishes to wash!

  5. Kim B. October 2, 2011 / 8:18 pm

    What a fun post! I can’t wait to dive in and read about your adventure. The pizza ordering process is impressive in and of itself. 🙂

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