The Hunt for Worcestershire Sauce

So, here is a rundown of what finding things I need here in Holland normally looks like: I’ll look around for a few weeks, can’t find it, and finally break down and tell my mom that I need it in my next care package. I wait a few more weeks, the item arrives, suddenly I see it all over Utrecht. This has happened more than enough times for there to be a distinctive pattern. I in turn, feel guilty that I made my mom send me something that is apparently readily available here.

I am determined not to let this pattern continue. Which is why, when I began craving Shepard’s Pie two weeks ago, after my Future Mother in Law made one of those one pot meals the Dutch are famous for. Dutch Ovens, anyone? I went on the hunt for one of the important ingredients to my Shepard’s Pie... Worcestershire Sauce. I looked high and low at both of my local supermarkets and found none. I even rode the bus to a Plus Supermarket in De Meern, just so I might be able to find it! And, because as of this week, the supermarket that is closest to me, a 30 minute round-trip walk vs. an hour is closed for remodeling.

I even went so far as to ask my expat buddies on twitter. Who seemed to think I was insane, because it is readily available to them. To make matters worse, every recipe I have looked at this week has called for it! So today, exasperated, I decided to get my butt on the bus and ride to the city center so I could look at the grocers there. Or at least, go to the expat store, and probably pay about 6.00 euros for it.

My first stop was the Albert Heijn attached to the Centraal Station. I figured this was a good bet because it is bigger than the stores in my neck of the woods. After searching and searching, I finally spotted the words: Lea & Perrins, glaring at me in an unfamiliar bottle on the top shelf. Upon further inspection, it did indeed say Worcestershire Sauce. I was temped to grab several bottles, but I just bought one. (Can’t justify the space in our barely there kitchen.) Now that I see it, I wonder if maybe my eyes were looking for the familiar label all along, instead of actually looking for the product itself. Maybe there isn’t a Leidsche Rijn conspiracy against me. Perhaps, I was just too blind to see what was staring at me for the last two weeks.

I guess the moral to this story is, even in a strange land you can find something if you want it bad enough, you just have to really open your eyes and look! Except, maybe skittles. Now, to use my new found treasure to make Hachee(Dutch Beef Stew) tonight. If it turns out well, I might just post the recipe up here. Now, if only I can learn to properly say Worcestershire Sauce, we will be in business!