Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Food Glorious Food?

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?


Sugarplum's Mom said...

OK, I thought Tiger Nuts were something completely different... can you still get fish and chips on the corner wrapped up in newsprint like hot dog stands here in the States?

AliBlahBlah said...

No, the EU banned newsprint because it was unhygienic, so now they come wrapped in greaseproof paper, or comically, greaseproof printed to look like newspaper!

God, it's 10am and I could murder some chips & mushy pies. Pass the vinegar please!!

ExpatKat said...

Oh, no - all this talk of British food has got me going. I'd completely forgotten about Hula Hoops until you mentioned them. So long since I've been home that I'm not sure what I'd go for first. Totally understand the binging though. I'd have to eat everything in sight. My mum mentioned on the phone today that she'd had a toasted teacake this morning -sigh- Now I'm going to have to make some :-(

Law Student Hot Mama said...

The Cadbury you buy here may be a rip off, but damn it still tastes better than the American crap like Hershey's. I'm OBSESSED with the mini eggs that only come out at Easter. Thank Jehovah they only come out at Easter or I'd weigh 400 lbs from eating them compulsively.

Expatmum said...

Don't laugh but as soon as I get to my mother's I make myself a ham and pease pudding sandwich in a bun (like a burger bun here.) Oh no, I have to wait till July!!!

Little Britainer said...

Apart from jaffa cakes and branston pickle, which I always get as soon as I go back, I usually spend a fair amount of time in newsagents, drooling at all the varieties of crisps I'd forgotten about... If only there was a good way to squeeze hula hoops and wheat crunchies into a bag without crushing them...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

i'd also forgotten about hula hoops, original flavour, or salt and vinegar washed down with a beer. oh yum. I miss chips from the chip shop and pub lunches. A ploughmans!
and this deserves upper case:
can really relate to overdosing on British epicurian delights!!!!

Janet Brett said...

Breakfast: Proper bacon, proper sausage, eggs, heinz baked beans, black pudding. fried bread, and a large mug of Rington's tea.

Pub lunch: Ploughman's with loads of crumbly Lancashire cheese, and a bag of Walker's crisps (potato flavour). Swilled down with a few pints of bitter.

Dinner: It would have to be fish and chips, battered sausage, and mushy peas. (Then I'd make chip butties with heavily buttered Warburton's bread, so that the butter runs down your arm). Oh, and another huge mug of Rington's tea.

Go to pub, swill down more pints of bitter, and stop by the Indian on the way home for a Chicken Tikka Masala.


American Mum said...

Funny, I don't like any of the foods mentioned here... except the chocolate of course. I think Noah will go through button withdrawl when we leave.

What I miss: Mexican food! American breakfasts, flavored coffee creamer, stove top stuffing, pumpkin muffins, American style baked beans, and Pillsbury (fill in the blank).

I better stop.

Anonymous said...

I always miss chili-cheese dogs when I am overseas. The last time I came home after being gone for four months I was told I could have anything I wanted and that is all I coud come up with!!! Well and Mexican food but that goes for all Southern Californians even when the leave the area for two days...

Brit Out Of Water said...

Cheese'n'onion Walkers crisps, surely?!

Can you still buy Nik Naks? How about Scampi Fries??

Norm said...

My kids grew up in one of the more remote outposts of the Empire and they miss Walker's crisps and Jammie Dodgers. ;)

DT said...

enjoyed your blog and hope you love california as much as we do.


Anonymous said...

Well this isn't a different country kind of thing, but I definitely can't get quality Louisiana food in Texas. I just went home to Louisiana last weekend and had my trip completely planned out, food-wise. Poboys, daquiris, boiled crawfish, jambalaya, and brunch in New Orleans at the Court of Two Sisters. I am suffering mightily in Austin with the lack of affordable, quality seafood. This trip home did me right.