Does anyone really go to the UK for the food? Well, times have changed, so yes people do, but more particularly, ask any ex-pat and they'll confess to buying that first packet of hula hoops the second they reach their first drizzle-suffused high street.
In the past I've actually gone on diets prior to a trip back home, knowing full well that as soon as that plane lands I would be on a sweets and carbs binge to rival any sixteen year-old with the munchies.
This trip was no exception. Even though I can get a lot of 'Brit foods' (Heinz baked beans, McVities chocolate digestives, Branston Pickle) at World Market, or funnily enough the 'Indo-China Market' over here, there are still so many things I miss that I don't seem to stop stuffing my gob for a single minute. That's one of the things I've never got used to about emigrating. That I only ever go back to my native country when 'on holiday', so for short oases amongst a desert of time I have to try and fit in an entire year's worth of British epicurian delights.
Yes I did just write 'British epicurian delights'.
That results in me eating non-stop trying to literally 'fit it all in', or packing my suitcase full to the brim with Wheat Crunchies, Nik Naks, Thornton's toffee, and Cadburys chocolate (because as Little Britainer so scientifically researched, the Cadburys you can buy stateside is a poor imposter!!).
I had to write this post because it's only 2 weeks (a fortnight!) since we arrived back to sunnier climes and my 'stash' of Euro junk is almost gone. I have one sticky lump of Thornton's original toffee left - and let's be frank I packed three giant bags of licorice, treacle and original toffee - no more crisps left, and the last of the chocolate was polished off by a pack of post-concert friends the other night. The only things that remain standing are Typhoo Green Tea Bags (sadly no longer available online), and a jar of M&S Fruit Chutney.
I must have ploughed my way through a staggering 25,000 calories in about fourteen days. My teeth and gut hurt just thinking about it. Add that to the stuff that I just couldn't bring back in my suitcase and felt obliged to work my way through while we were over there (fish and chips, curries, endless poppadums, Dandelion & Burdock, Wensleydale & Lancashire cheese, M&S prawn & mayo sandwiches, meat pies!!, washed down by endless gin and tonics. I think it's time I started training for this year's triathlon.
Why don't I ever lust after anything fresh, healthy and green? Well the truth is I do, but when you're awash with calories, adding some runner beans, rhubarb, gooseberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants and Victoria plums is not going to save you. Plus these items are seasonal, and the only things I managed to scarf down this year from that list were runner beans, which I love and are strangely completely unavailable in California - land of all produce.
Oh, and these things, can anyone take a guess what these are?
Tiger Nuts!! I only know one or two places that sell them back home, and I absolutely love them, and it appears they're really good for you too. Can you get them in the States - does anybody know?
What about you lot? We're all expat's to some degree, I know very few of us actually live in the same County or even Country that we grew up in. What's the first thing on your list when you go back home?