Things I Miss in Switzerland

The best of both worlds? That would be nice but face it, I don’t miss the same things as other People. So, that’s just not going to happen. Also, I’ve been in Switzerland so long that I have become Swisser-ized. Actually, I’m doing just fine with everything I have here, I don’t really miss a lot any more or need anything else. Still, when we go back to the States I enjoy going to the grocery store and just walking the aisles and looking at the products. So much stuff. I usually buy very little. I know that they will never measure up to how good my memory says they are.

I guess many of these are things that reminded me of America and my way of life there.

Sunday Paper

I really missed the Sunday paper. It was a family event. Eating brunch and passing sections of the paper around. You could spend the whole day reading it. I especially loved the comics section. The Sunday paper devoted a whole section solely to comics in color. For a while there, after I moved to Switzerland my parents sent me the comics section of the Sunday paper. It was nice, but somehow it wasn’t the same.

Ceiling fans

I thought these were so cool. Relatives of ours in Florida had one in almost every room. Finally we bought one while in America and put it up in our kitchen. Of course it is neither hot nor excessively humid in Switzerland but it was really neat to have it. Now you can buy those here and you don’t have to do fancy wiring to make it work. It’s no longer novel and since we moved we also no longer have one.

A garbage disposal

Some of the Things I had in America would just be nice to have here. I don’t actually miss them.  Garbage disposals are nifty gadgets. They chop up whatever stuff you scraped off the plates before sending it down the drain. When we had our kitchen remodeled I thought it would be great to get one put in. As it turns out, there was a reason why I had never seen them in Switzerland. Although the person designing the kitchen had heard of them he said they were illegal here. So I guess I will have to continue to use the compost. Umm, illegal? Really?

Screened windows

Before everyone had “air” in the States they used to open windows and let the breeze flow through the house. To keep the bugs out every window and door had a screen. They still do today but it’s more like a nostalgic decoration because no one opens windows nowadays.

Most places don’t have air-conditioning in Switzerland and when it does, then not to the extent as in America. Still, on warm summer evenings it would be so nice to fall asleep to the sound of crickets. Instead you get the sound of mosquitoes buzzing around your head. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to whack a mosquito in the middle of the night. I usually ended up slapping myself in the head. Take that, mosquito! So now the sound of the mosquitoes flying is accompanied by them laughing at me.

You can buy flexible screening in Switzerland and put up your own using Velcro but it never works as well.

Foods (Real and Imitation)

Chocolate Kisses

Oops, one of my favorite subjects: chocolate [sigh]! When I say “Chocolate Kisses” I’m not talking about kissing someone right after they ate some chocolate. That is nice in its own right. No, I’m talking about the Hershey’s bite sized dollop of chocolate. They are wrapped in a thin silver wrapping with a little tag sticking out of the top. Sort of like huge chocolate chips and are perfect baked on the top of homemade sugar cookies. The absolute, perfect Christmas cookie.

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups are now also made by Hershey and their number one selling product. By the way, did you know that the founder of Nestlé was Swiss? They are a throwback from my childhood (the cups, not the founder). Peanut butter and chocolate, were an unbeatable combination then and now. Once, as a young teenager, in the hospital, someone brought me a whole box full of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. A whole box! Who knows, maybe that was why I got better, fast.

I’m not sure, you might be able to buy Peanut Butter Cups in Switzerland now. Nonetheless I wouldn’t for a couple of reasons. My tastes for chocolate have changed. The Swiss chocolate is so good that it has ruined all American chocolate for me. American chocolate comes across as somehow grainy. The other reason is I can’t eat chocolate at the same rate I ate it as a young adult. That much chocolate is just not healthy. I have found a perfect Swiss replacement for Peanut Butter Cups and it’s called Tiger Butter. It combines dark chocolate, white chocolate with peanut butter. I will post the recipe soon.

Root Beer

Then there’s root beer. What’s there to say about root beer? It’s sort of like a mystery drink for all Europeans and many Americans. You either love it or hate it. It’s a non-alcoholic (has nothing to do with beer) brown sugary soda. When poured, it produces a beer-like foam and can be drunk alone or with vanilla ice-cream to make a float.

I have wonderful memories of my dad and me making root beer in our basement. Unfortunately, either the recipe we used wasn’t the best or we misread the instructions. It didn’t quite turn out the way it should have. There is yeast in root beer and did you know that yeast expands? Unhappily after mixing everything together, we closed all of our bottles nice and tight. When the pressure was too much for the bottle they exploded. One after the other. Bang, bang, bang. Every single one of them. Made some nice noise and a huge, sugary mess. I can do very well without root beer nowadays, homemade or otherwise.

Arby’s and Hardee’s

Sometimes you tend to like something because someone you love likes it. This could very well be the case for the following two foods. My mom loved the roast beef burgers with horseradish sauce from Arby’s. Every time we are in the States we have to stop at an Arby’s at least once for a roast beef burger. It doesn’t have to be with extra meat or supersized, just a regular ‘ole classic will do the trick.

The other is a Hot Ham ‘N’ Cheese Sandwich from Hardee’s. As a teen, my sister worked at a Hardee’s so I was there quite often. I’m not sure if she introduced me to the sandwich or if I “found” it on my own. The fact is, I associate the Hot Ham ‘N’ Cheese with Hardee’s and Hardee’s with my sister. If I see a Hardee’s and am hungry I will buy some good memories.

I’m glad there are neither Arby’s nor Hardee’s in Switzerland. It’s easier to abstain when they are so far away. They are probably not the healthiest choices and my willpower can waver. Out of sight, out of mind and out of mouth.

Healthy Foods

Looking at my list of foods that I miss in Switzerland, it looks pretty decadent. You might ask, where are the carrots, tomatoes and other “healthy” foods? Believe it or not, I do eat healthy, whole foods. My diet here is fairly clean with an occasional piece of chocolate, as a treat. I love vegetables and fruit. Although I couldn’t find green asparagus or stalks of celery here for a long time even those foods have made it over here. I can get all of the things my body needs right here, in Switzerland.

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