We have a lot of food in our consumables closet. After two years of eating through our stash we still have shelves full of coconut milk, karo syrup, canned blackberries, mango jam, popcorn, chocolate chips, brown sugar, peas, corn, lard, olive oil, Pam spray, cocoa, cornstarch, almonds – whole and sliced, chicken stock, coconut, contact solution, shampoo, sugar, and an untouched gallon pail of gesso. Two years is a long time, but evidently not as long as I thought it would be.
I’ve thought about various things to do with all of this bounty and finally decided, in the name of shipping weight to try and sell some of it off. So for the last week various friends have showed up at our door with boxes and bags and hiked up to the third floor to shop from our overflowing shelves.
The first thing to go, oddly enough, was the peas and corn. Despite being available in Baku, everyone wanted good old American peas and corn. Next was the lard. That you can’t get in Baku. The Pam was very popular – so popular in fact that I sold it to a selected few friends and didn’t even advertise it to the wider embassy community. The chocolate chips also were much in demand, and all of the macaroni and cheese is very long gone. I’ve even managed to sell a fifty-pound bag of popcorn.
Every time a satisfied customer leaves with another bag filled with sugar, coconut milk, and karo syrup, I feel a sense of triumph. That’s got to be at least twenty pounds! Good for a shelf of books or a bin of toys. And then I remember that it’s another twenty pounds of sugar, coconut milk, and karo syrup that I have to buy again and ship to Dushanbe. But, such is the life in the Foreign Service.
In the end we won’t be able to sell everything (I’ve had at least three people ask me what you actually use dark Karo syrup for) and so I’ll just cross my fingers and have the movers pack it up. In the end, we’ll probably have plenty of weight left over and I’ll regret the three-liter bottle of olive oil that I sold at a bargain price. But I’ve become slowly adjusted to the financial hemorrhaging that comes with each departure and arrival. In the end, we won’t go broke over food sold to friends and neighbors. Hopefully.