Family Magazine

The Crazy Plan That Worked

By Sherwoods
Last week I found a really great deal.  Embassy employees can order frozen food from the commissary in Germany three or four times a year, and so a lot of people order meat, butter, frozen vegetables, and convenience foods through the frozen food order.  This is also how we get things like Thanksgiving turkeys and bacon.
The downside is, however, that you have to buy everything in cases and it's kind of expensive.  The prices are okay, but there is also a 10-20% surcharge for shipping.  I'm cheap and I've also gotten used to cooking with locally available ingredients, so I usually don't order much from the frozen food order. 
Also, it almost feels like cheating.  So many of the things I can buy - Haagen Das ice cream, steaks, chicken pot pies - are things that we enjoy while we're in America.  They're expensive even in America, so it's not like I'd be buying them on a regular basis even if we did live in America.  So to just have all of those things just sitting in my freezer asking to be eaten seems weirdly wrong.  How can there be America treats if we have the same treats in Tashkent?  Strange, I know. 
Last week a post popped up in the Tashkent embassy Facebook group I'm a member of.  Lots of people are leaving right now and they're trying to get rid of all the food they overbought.  Estimating is always a chancy thing at best, and when you're buying food by the case, it's even dicier.  I never move anywhere without having extra unopened food that I'm getting rid of.  It breaks my skinflint heart every time I do it, but it's just part of this life.
A member of the embassy community was leaving and they had a lot of frozen food for sale.  I had seen the same person posting about their food before, but we were still in DC.  There was still food left and they were getting desperate, so the prices had gotten really good.  Like $1 a pound for all the meat good.  Even a cheapskate like me couldn't pass up a deal like that.  Never mind that I can't remember the last time that I actually bought and cooked steak for myself (I think that was when we lived in Utah), for $1 a pound, I can find a recipe that uses steak.
So I told him I'd take the whole lot and only afterwards remembered that 1. I didn't know where he lived and 2. We don't have a car. 
Tashkent has an amazing app called MyTaxi, which is like Uber, but for regular taxi drivers.  I think Dushanbe also got it right before we left, but we never used it.  I had never used it in Tashkent either, but with meat going for $1 a pound, I figured it was a good time to see how well it worked.
So I got the address from my meat-friend, and one evening after the children went to bed, Brandon and I used the app to call a taxi.  Within five minutes, the car was at the door.  We gave the address to the driver, who had no idea where it was.  But, since we don't live in Egypt, he called someone who did know where it was.  I had looked up the address on my phone also, so between the two of us, we were able to make it to what looked like the right house.
When we rang the doorbell, the door opened and we walked in to find out that yes, we had found a house where embassy people lived and yes, they were the people who were looking for us to take a freezer full of food off their hands.
After taking the food we had agreed to buy, they gave us the rest of the food just to get it out of the house - including homemade pesto, frozen plums, borsch, and persimmon puree - all for $90.  Brandon and I filled all the bags we brought and then loaded it into the taxi that was waiting outside for us.  We chatted a little while with the couple - the wife had done a TDY to Dushanbe while we were there - and then took off back home. 
When the driver pulled up, he informed us of the fare that was listed on his phone - 18,200 som.  We gave him 20,000 and then hauled our loot in the door.  Brandon turned to me and asked with a stricken look how much we had just paid in order to get this food.  I smiled at him, "Two dollars and sixty cents."  He looked at me in disbelief.  I high-fived him and then we filled our freezer full of delicious frozen food.
I'm looking forward to some really tasty pot roast in the very near future.
The Crazy Plan that Worked

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