Tag: cooking


This is so not a big deal. But it is. Last time we saw this fork, I had been using it on the barbecue grill outside.

Meat fork for grilling

And then it was gone. I looked around the grill, around the yard in case the dog had decided it was a chew toy, and of course we both looked through every kitchen drawer several times. And naturally the dishwasher, which we mainly use as a drying rack, where it should have been.

But wasn’t.

But was.

Turns out it had fallen through the rack, which we’re used to having happen. What we weren’t prepared for was that it might end up parallel to the dishwasher door, snugged up in the front against the ledge. How? Who knows.

Amazing how much we missed it. We use it all the time. Also amazing how many loads of dishes went through the dishwasher before my wife spotted it.

Lesson from the I Ching: perseverance furthers.


Free international shipping

I’ve posted several times about buying stuff from China with free international shipping (including a 99¢ money clip I used today). The latest is more of the same, with a couple of international twists: first, it came from India, not China.

Piezo lighter delivered to Uruguay from India for free

Here, exactly:

India map

Secondly, I thought of such a thing because a Romanian friend staying with us for a couple weeks in April, after watching me throw matches into the BBQ grill to get it lit (zzzzzht-toss-dammit! zzzzzht-toss-dammit! zzzzzht-toss-FOOOMP!), wondered if there was somewhere in Uruguay to buy a sparking lighter (piezoelectric; no fuel) to take back to his father in Romania.

Recognizing that such a thing would be, if not as exciting, probably a better approach for me, I thought about trying to find such a thing in Montevideo. Half a day at least. Chance of success? Under 50%, I figured.

Twenty minutes later I had ordered one on eBay for USD 7.

From India. With free international shipping. 27 days to arrive, and it works great!



Burned out burner

broken BBQ grill burner

We bought an old barbecue grill from some Americans who left a couple years ago. When the stamped-metal burner rusted through and fell apart, I tried finding a replacement. Alas, nothing for that model was any longer available from Sears.

BBQ grill manual

But obviously had been — and needed — before. None of this handwriting is mine.

A friend who is an accomplished metal worker offered to fabricate one, but it turned out the only way to get a suitable piece of tubing was to buy 6 meters of it. Instead, he found a place in Montevideo that made one for $2,500, about USD 89.

That seemed like a lot, and only now did I try again to find a replacement part online. The closest I can find on thebbqdepot.com is something I can’t be sure is the correct part, and I would have to find someone to bring it from the U.S., and — drumroll please — costs almost as much!

BBQ grill replacement part

And would eventually need to be replaced again.

Uruguay - fabricated BBQ grill burner

In contrast, this galvanized burner built in Montevideo will certainly outlast the rest of the grill! Better still, because of the way they made the feeder tubes, it was simple to install. The original part was quite fussy.

Now I am curious what it might cost to fabricate a cooking grid locally, with stainless steel….

BBQ grill cooking grid



The 30-mile salad

My wife recently asked, where’s your camera? which means come take a picture of this. (In case the concept of camera confuses you, yes, I do have a phone, but a a clamshell unit that can only sync the results of its .3 MB camera through Windows OS, which we do not use.)


And though I probably would have opted for white or yellow onions in a baked dish, I must say the red onions make it more photo-worthy. The light yellow is winter squash from our garden. Onions, carrots, green peppers, and tomatoes, were I to source them, most likely came from within 30 miles of here.

If you are familiar with the 3,000-mile-salad of northern North America, and the fragile nature of the truck-based food transportation system in the USA (Syd can fill us in, perhaps, about Canada), the thought that fresh produce grows nearby feels kind of warm and fuzzy. No, it’s not all organic, but organic is available: we paid 90 pesos/kilo* last Saturday for organic green peppers at the local féria organica at Pilar’s chacra. We then stopped at Tienda Inglesa, where they sold for 158 pesos/kilo* — and not organic.

Not perfect, but not bad. And we get lettuce and cucumbers as well year-round, also local.

*USD 1.36/lb vs USD 2.39/lb



Garam Masala!

A frequent discussion theme among expats is the number of things not available in Uruguay. Long-handled shovels. Even something as simple as a bevel gauge and rafter square, which a friend carried down from the States not long ago. But checking out a local friend’s recommendations, I found both in two different stores in Montevideo.

And so it was with Garam Masala: we thought it had to be brought in, since Uruguayans for the most part consider anything more than salt and pepper to be excessively strong flavoring. Imagine my surprise when I spotted it on a spice rack at our rural carnicería (butcher’s)!

curry powder

(From Hindi: गरम मसाला, garam (“hot”) and masala (spices).

curry powder illegible packaging

And, in true Latin American form (I noted this in Mexico as well), the graphic design renders the type almost illegible. But hey, garam masala is garam masala, whether you can read the packaging or not!