18 August 2006

seasonal shopping

Grocery stores here are an entirely different creature in the summer than they are in the winter. The wares this time of year are almost entirely camping-focused, aside from your household staples like harðfiskur and toilet paper. In the fridge section, the shelves bloom with hot-dog selections, from cheese and jalapeno flavored to "French" and "Italian" varieties (note that they are NOT quite a replacement for my beloved hot Italian sausages but they do somewhat approximate the flavor... it'll do in a pinch).

The ends of the aisles are stacked high with single-use barbecue grills, and the banana tree display is accessorized with a box of Mars bars. This initially was an illogical pairing to me but after trying this Icelandic camping delicacy, I have no further questions. Kids, you can do this one at home, and here's how! Take one banana per camper, lay on its side, and slice along the curve (no peeling!)almost through the other side- leave the skin on the bottom intact. Break up chunks of Mars bar, or peppermint-filled chocolate (Pipp works well), or Sírius Konsum bittersweet. Set on the grill, cover, and let sit until the bananas have gone soft and the chocolate is melted. Eat with a spoon. I'm historically not a banana fan but this is TOO good- hot, melty, and almost too sweet. Try it. For extra credit, I'm told a shot of Grand Marnier or other liqueur adds a certain something.

If you stray from the edibles, there's also every kind of portable goody you could imagine. When I went camping a few weeks ago, we had a tent so large we could all stand up together in the vestibule, two tables, chairs for everyone (seven diners plus table fit comfortably), a stove, a heater, a bright gas lamp, air mattresses for all (and a pump that plugged into the car lighter so you didn't go all dizzy trying to inflate their hugeness), quick-light firelogs and plenty of cheerful plastic and tin cups, plates, and wine glasses. One wants for nothing!

Ship sighting: I went for a short inspectional stroll down to the harbor last night to admire an immaculate fishing ship at the main dock, in from the stunning-looking Faroese town of Klaksvík. Next to it, the cruise ship Princess Danae was tied up, her Portugese-speaking crew lounging around the gangplank (the ship is registered in Madeira). Inside I could make out some tables of people finishing up their supper in the restaurant. Why, I ask you, were these people eating on board when the the town's best hotdogs are available a street away? Also, I would love to see a ship that's not all Prince this or Queen that. How about a ship called Janitor Jim? I'd like that.


cK said...

I have an old old old tape of the Sugarcubes performing. The show clips are broken up by interviews with the band members. Bjork is perhaps 20 in this video. Perhaps. She takes about a tv in her spot. She looks at the wiring and says, "It looks like a little city."

The other woman in the band leads the camera around an Icelandic grocery store. It's a gorgeous moment.

Perhaps next week you'll let me paste (cite and link included) your paragraph on bananas and Mars bars at my blog? I'm making that. SOON.

Bon said...

The Mars Bar/banana "smore" thingy sounds delicious...think I'll give it a try. Thanks!

ECS said...

CK- give it a try first, since it might not be for everyone, but by all means, share the wealth!

bon- Just was talking to a co-worker about the recipe and she says the mars bars is too sweet in her opinion. Try with a smooth bittersweet chocolate the first time.

tsduff said...

My Icelander Bjarni has inherited that sweet tooth thing. I made a cake from his cousin Birna's receipe, which was composed of a brown sugar meringue, Icelandic macaroon cookies with Port drizzled over them, thick pieces of Icelandic chocolate cut up, whipped cream spread over the entire mess, and then more layers of chocolate and whipped cream. Top the amazing "cake" off with fresh blueberries and strawberries, and you have the sweetest dessert ever created. It was much too sweet for me (as in, I couldn't eat it) but B polished it off, scraping every last morsel off the plate. The banana treat sounds equally as sweet - I'm sure he will love it!

I LOVED the grocery store outings we had all over Iceland - Bonus was our fav because it is the down to earth store. That other one - (can't remember the name but you mentioned it several posts back) was more gourmet oriented, but also more costly.

Sarah said...

E! I owe you an email!!! I haven't forgotten you, just been slammed at work (when I normally do all of my emailing). We will be there in 2 weeks!!! I think I'm in shock. I can't wait to walk around Reykjavik, observe the people, stroll around a grocery store or two... I'm beyond excited!!!
I will write you back on Monday...
Take care!
-Sarah :O)

Angel said...

It does actually sound good- my only other run-in with bananas and chocolate are the So Cal summer favorite: the frozen banana dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts. Not as exotic as grilled banana-a-la-cocoa-eaten-with-a-spoon, but good on a hot day.

And goodness- can you really call it camping in such a tent??? Back when my parents would take me camping when I was a kid, I slept in a sleeping bag under the stars. (My parents got the little tent- I got to beat off marauding 'coons and squirrals with a large stick)- Once during a raging thunderstorm in Monument Valley AZ we built a lean-to from a tarp, but everything got washed away. We spent that night in the bed of our truck, sleeping like sardines. :)

Liz said...

Ah, grilled bananas. I was camping with friends and we tried the same thing over the campfire- splashing the bananas in rum and then wrapping them in foil before putting them on the fire. In fact, I think I was doing this on the same day you were!

Sounds like you're having a lovely summer. Best to you both :)

Liz said...

Just read back- so sorry!

Best to you and you only. I moved to Boston in the same sort of way you did, stayed on and ended up having a truly good experience.

And Japan, well, that's another story... I owe you a long email.

Take care,