Goodness, I thought, that's a little strange. When I moved here I was pleasantly surprised by the supermarkets. They're clean and plentiful. Bread is baked on the premises and is cheap. The produce isn't too bad seeing as almost all of it has to be shipped to our desert shores. Sure some of the brands were a little unfamiliar but there were plenty that were. You can even buy Vegemite and Tim Tams here, so we're not deprived by any stretch.
But they were right about one thing. Sometimes for no reason at all, something you love just disappears from the shelves. Something that has been in every supermarket and readily available and you thought there was no need to stock up on. Recently it's been Cheerios. My kids love Cheerios and they are no where to be found across Dubai. You can get honey-flavoured Cheerios but not the regular ones. Every time we go in to a supermarket we look, but alas they're not there. Who knows when they'll reappear?!
Then today I went to buy popcorn kernels. Regular old pop corn kernels. They had vanished. No signs that they'd ever been there although I buy them regularly (we always need a 'party' food to take to school for some event or other). Today I had to take the snack to playgroup and popcorn is a keen favourite for the toddler group. I had to resort to buying microwave popcorn and there were mutterings around the snack room: "This popcorn is salty." "Don't you think it's too salty?" "Who would put salt on kids' popcorn?" I had to hang my head in playgroup shame.
It's like a game, you never know if you'll be able to get the bean sprouts for that Vietnamese salad or if they'll have tinned beetroot. One week you'll find organic lamb kofta and fresh basil and then it will disappear the next. Meal planning is always a little interesting and requires you to think on your feet.
Until the Cheerios return, the kids will have to learn to love bran flakes and corn flakes and rice bubbles (or rice krispies as the non-Aussies call them). Hopefully the great Cheerio drought of 2014 will soon be a distant memory.