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Jan 8, 2009 11:42 AM

Cooking in Sarasota - What's the Difference? - moved from Florida board

Moving out of the CT ice storms to sunny Florida (Many thanks to all you who previously gave some restaurant reccs. Went to Cortez and had some great fish.)

I was wondering if food preperation and/or storage was different there than in the northeast - I'm thinking about humidity and bugs in particular!

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  1. yes, this is different country.....
    All dry packages after being opened should be stored in sealed bags......

    1. I haven't found cooking or baking any different but dry food storage is definitely different. Any type of cereal, crackers, snack foods like chips, etc goes into a resealable plastic bag after it is first opened. Same for sugars (brown and white) since they attract the moisture. I haven't noticed a problem with salt and I keep kosher salt by my stove top for cooking purposes. With the air conditioner on it's not too bad but we are having gorgeous weather this winter and the houses are wide open so moisture is in the house.

      Too keep bugs and especially ants under control we have a pest control service treat once a year. If a problem arises they'll come out and find the source. When there is a lack of surface water, as in the winter when it doesn't rain a lot, the ants are on the march looking for water. That's when there is a problem. I've never had a problem with roaches but we live in a single family home. Every once in awhile a palmetto bug (think roach that you can put a saddle on) will fly in at night but that's just life in Florida.

      Hope you enjoy it down here! We moved to Sarasota County 14 years ago and really enjoy the lifestyle.

      1. I'm from Connecticut, also, and now living partly in Bradenton. Altitude is of course no factor (unlike my Colorado mountain house where cooking is all but impossible). I would argue that Florida has hardly more humidity than CT.
        You will see roaches. Don't panic or fault your housekeeping. They beat us here by a few hundred million years, and they know the angles. They will feed on your unrefrigerated produce, like tomatoes, bananas, and avocados. Periodoc exterminator services are the norm. Curiously, roaches will not invade a cabinet where you store spices and dried peppers. I don't have an explanation.
        Glad you found and enjoyed Cortez!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Welcome to the Sunshine State. Roaches and palmetto (huge flying evil things) bugs - in addition to keeping all dry goods well sealed - are the biggest problems here. Cover everything and cover them well. Roaches are a huge problem - even in newly constructed areas - they have adapted well. My allergist made mention of Florida being the worst state in the country for roach allergies - and mine is so bad that it even surprised my doctor. She said the only way to lessen the allergen would be to move.

          I'm not sure if where you lived was dependent on car transport, but Florida is heavily reliant. Be prepared for massive urban sprawl when searching out specialty shops.

          1. re: TampaAurora

            Thanks all for reminding me to seal all dry goods. I lived in the Caribbean(sp?) in the 80s so the roach problem is not new to me. The condo building is sprayed twice a year and more often on demand, but I still want to be careful. Do you protect your unrefrigerated produce, Veggo? (BTW we are moving to Lakewood Ranch but also keeping our CT home and a condo in Breckenridge CO, We may run into one another without knowing it sometime.)

            1. re: lattelover

              I keep the room temp produce in plastic bags in a bowl. The critters go for the tomatoes first. My oranges and grapefruit are ripe now, but I usually pick them as I need them.
              Too bad the Morton's store in Lakewood Ranch closed. They had 200 types of cheese, and a tiny, young Vietnamese cheese whiz who knew ALL of them. There's another in Sarasota.
              I grew up in Hamden CT and my CO mountain house is Cuchara, and my Caribbean house was in Provo. Are you stalking me, or do we have similar good tastes?....:)

              1. re: Veggo

                No stalking, so it has to be the latter! Given your advice I'm thinking about buying one of those screened covers you use to protect picnic food from flies. Thinking about cooking there, do you think I can find everything I need in the local Publix market or should I stock up here? Can't think of anything in particular, but I feel I can find just about anything in the NYC area.

                1. re: lattelover

                  Right now we're enjoying wonderful citrus -be sure to try the honey bells. They have a short season, but it is now. For numerous veggies, we get 2 harvests a year, with wonderful pricing at the peak of the season. You will definitely enjoy the produce, especially when you find a farmer's market you like. Publix markets are well stocked. Good latin markets here, also. No Costco nearby; it's in Tampa.

        2. One thing you can do to have fewer roaches is never, ever bring a paper grocery bag or cardboard box into the house.

          3 Replies
          1. re: johnhicks

            OK. Moving day is next Wednesday and will get rid of all the cardboard boxes ASAP. I will also look forward to the honey bells and other seasonal fruit. As I am walking distance from Lakewood Ranch Main Street where there is a farmers market every Saturday, I believe, I will start with that. As I am in a condo I won't be able to pick fruit off the trees like I did in the Caribbean, but there are other pluses. I am getting excited!

            1. re: lattelover

              Welcome to the Sunshine State!
              (Although we are suffering a cold spell for a few days-- I wore a light cotton sweater to dinner last night, but with my standard Teva footwear).

              1. re: Veggo

                Gimme a break! Forcast in Wilton CT tomorrow is high 18F plus snow - wind chill will make it seem like -20.