Food shortages

We keep running out of food. Seriously.

This isn’t a plea for community donations. Just an observation of something that we hadn’t really prepared for in our move to Australia.

The thing is, when you live in one place for a long time, or move short distances from home to home, you take all of your stuff with you – those jars of spices that lost their flavour in 1997, that tin of chopped tomatoes with Mexican spices that you can never quite find the right dish for, or that freezer full of extra portions, chicken legs and all the bags of frozen peas that a family accumulates over years of weekly shops. 

The CBRbound food cupboard belies the myth that Australia is the land of plenty. 

But move to Australia and you have to give or throw all that stuff away, which means you start from scratch with an empty cupboard and freezer and little in the way of food reserves to fall back on.

We noticed it a few weeks ago when some friends came to stay. Those normally reliable additional stocks that help you to feed any descending horde were, well, in this case, not so reliable at all.

That cupboard full of “let me just whip something up” had been whipped away and whisked into thin air. So we ordered pizzas instead.

And when you’re a new arrival, you’re usually on something of a budget, so the idea of shopping for what you need plus a bit for emergency guests is anathema to us at the moment.

So, the big freezer that came with us from Europe remains empty – the tiny top box of our fridge suffices for now. And the pyramid of tinned saviours is more of a cluster. Herbs? I think we have three small jars. Bottles of spirits? Nope. Spare bottles of wine? No such thing.

 The CBRbound wine rack is looking a little bereft these days.

These are the things you don’t think about when you make the trip down under, the things that take months, even years to remedy.

Back when I was a kid, we had a bottle of advocaat  at the back of our drinks cabinet. It was there for years, just in case anyone – particularly at Christmas – fancied an obscure Dutch cocktail. I’m not sure anyone ever did, it just sat there, just in case.

If we had it now, we’d have found a recipe for it, rest assured. Perhaps as a pasta sauce, or a substitute for hollandaise sauce. That’s what it’s come to.

I feel the sudden need to become a member of Costco, buy some things in bulk and see if they can airlift them to Canberra’s northern suburbs. Things are getting so desperate that I’m eyeing that tin of Spam we bought a couple of months back.

“Come in, welcome. We were just about to have some Spam fritters.”

“You can’t stay? Oh.”

8 thoughts on “Food shortages

  1. Ha, if you have Spam in your pantry here you’re rich. (Crazy expensive and considered gourmet level food!!)

    I so identify though. I have managed to build up a half decent set of herbs and spices – donations from leaving foreigners. It’s only the last year or so that you could buy that stuff here.

    I tend to hoard things a little, largely to avoid running out of everything in the same month, but it can lead to waste if you don’t watch it. Right now I have enough tin foil and handwash soap to last me till I leave.


    • It’s the herbs, spices and occasional ingredients that I miss most. You know, the stuff that you buy for one recipe but then experiment with in others once it’s in the cupboard. To make matters worse, I actually double purchased paprika, so I have loads of that but, for example, no cayenne pepper. So, if you want to do a paprika/handwash barter deal, I’m your man.


  2. You’ve got two very active boys. I have it on good authority that you can never have too much food in the house when you’ve got active boys. Actually, my kids are always hungry, too. We make good use of our Costco membership 😉


  3. Oh yes, having moved continents back and forth four times in my life I feel your pain. Painful having to get rid of those still useful albeit expired herbs and spices (surely they still have some flavour) when we leave, and painful not having them to hand when you arrive. Instead of Wedding Registers perhaps we need Moving House Registers that house guests and visitors could check when they are thinking of what to bring?


    • I wish it were possible… Australia’s rules about what you can’t bring into the country are so strict and heavily enforced, I’d probably land my family in jail all for want of some mulled wine spice or something. Hmmm… now that I think of it… maybe that IS a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

    • By the way, I recently joined the ACT Writers Centre, a great organisation with excellent support and resources for writers but, I promise you, no apostrophe in the title.


      • Good for you … I joined my daughter up last year and she went to a workshop with Benjamin Law which she loved … But she’s gone to Melbourne now. Anyhow, it seems like an active group and worth joining I expect for resources and networking.


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