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Friday, February 6, 2009

Everything is Different in Egypt

We frequently tell people, "everything is different in Egypt!" Until someone comes here and experiences life along the Nile, they tend to doubt that. But as I looked at my breakfast the other morning, I was struck by just how true it is.

Now I happen to enjoy oatmeal with a touch of milk, some raisins, banana slices and brown sugar for breakfast. So what is different about my breakfast here?

  • The oats came in a can instead of a box. More about that later.

  • The milk came in an aseptic package so it didn't have to be refrigerated until opened.

  • The raisins are golden - I can't find the usual black raisins here.

  • The banana has turned black - but it is just fine under the skin. I wonder what treatment is given to our bananas at home to keep them yellow for so long.

  • The dark brown sugar is almost black. It is molasses sugar and is very yummy.

I forgot to include the cinnamon in the picture. That was purchased loose by the 100gm unit at the supermarket. Otherwise, it looks the same as back home.

Let's look more closely at that oatmeal. When I began searching for oatmeal, I found two distinct brands on the store shelf.

The blue and red carton sure looked like Quaker Oats. I prefer "old fashioned" to "quick cooking" but took this one home since the Hahne White Oats didn't look quite right. It turns out that the Quick Oats is a product of Ralcorp Holdings of St. Louis, Missouri. They are a private label manufacturer and also recently acquired the Post brand.

But the Hahne White Oats was intriguing. I kept seeing it at small and large markets. It is a German product. It has preparation instructions in both English and Arabic. But, the preparation instructions are for Hahne Oats Soup. You will be adding tomatoes, meat, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cardamom.

I bought a can. When I opened it, I found oats identical to the quick cooking oats from St. Louis. I have been eating them almost every morning. The Hahne oats are cheaper.

But the really unusual thing is that both containers hold almost identical amounts of oats -about 500 grams. I opened the Hahne can and poured it into the empty Quick Oats carton. The can overfilled the carton!

The German company hasn't gotten the technique down of making 500 grams fill a bigger package. They really pack the oats in tightly. And just in case you thought that maybe the diameters are different:

1 comment:

Sandy said...

When I see a banana that brown, I pitch it, don't like them that ripe and soft. But, it's interesting the sameness and the differences.

Pop in for visit, visits are always fun. Just started a new blog yesterday...travel. Mine will be stateside. Pack light and pop in.