We spent some time in Minnesota in the USA, and Granada in the south of Spain, and cooking was sometimes difficult for reasons we wouldn't have foreseen in a million years. So, for you to bear in mind if you're coming to Uruguay (or the south of Brazil, or Argentina for that matter), or simply to think about it, here are a few things you'll typically find in a kitchen in Uruguay.
1. We seem to nurse an unrequited love for ice cream containers, which are found pretty much everywhere. Pictured: under the sink container waiting for an hydraulic disaster coming from the sink.
2. Butane gas bottles. They're the source of heat of choice and they're usually located in plain sight next to the stove. Ours in hidden under the sink, making company to the ice cream container.
They don't grow on trees so one needs to know what to do when the contents end.
3. While newer stoves models contain some flickering system, most people don't own a newer model. So the matches are very common.
When we lived in Minnesota in a rental home, we weren't aware of that system being available in our stove so we bought a lot of matches we never used. Silly us.
4. Oregano. The best selling dried herb in local markets. We were a little surprised and bereft when we couldn't find it that easily in Spanish or Minnesotan markets.
Tarragon, thyme and rosemary just aren't the same.
5. Repurposed containers. Pictured: a cookie jar containing cocoa powder, a jam jar containing oregano, a Nescafé bottle containing bread zippers (here they are not a clamp, they're a little wire coated in plastic and I collect them, just in case I need them some time).
If you're a guest, be ready for spending some time guessing what's where.
6. Cothespins. The weather allows to air dry clothes year round (unless it rains, of course), so clothespins are a common household item. They're usually found applied ad nauseam in the kitchen. Pictured: seasalt, confetti, baking powder.
7. Crandon's cooking book. The quintessential uruguayan cooking book, it's brilliantly written and the recipes reflect the local taste well, but don't require any exclusive local ingredient. Matter of fact, many recipes are of anglosaxon tradition.
Mine was a wedding gift, and I think my mom's was too. I know my grand mother's wasn't, but it was one of the first editions and I wish I had claimed it when I had the chance.
8. Accoutrements for red meat preparation. Uruguay being one of the top consumers of red meat per capita in the world, the required equipment to prepare a good steak, stew, barbeque or meatloaf are typically found in home kitchens.
The knife point tells I'm not very good at storing my wares.
9. Milk is sold exclusively in one liter (1 qt) plastic bags. While some people transfer the milk into a better looking container, most people simply put the bag into a jar. Also, the bags containing red are for whole milk, and the blue or green are for skimmed milk.
But don't worry, the jars are sold in markets and cost barely above a liter or two of milk.
10. A friend from Chile said he was surprised Uruguayans don't seem too fond of sweets unless it's dulce de leche or quince jam.
In that case, there is no limits for sweetness.
Update: If you found me from I link I posted in Chez Larsson, welcome, thank you, and know that I've never done that before or plan on doing it again ever.