another american food post

I need a break from my Petraeus scandal obsession.

Plus, Thanksgiving is surprisingly near. I have to start getting in thinking mode for the holiday what with all the quills to pluck and foreign children to teach. (No really. Any advice on a Thanksgiving lesson to non-American 3 year-olds? I don’t want the little German kids to give me the side eye when I try to push them into making handprint turkeys. NEIN!)

I am not ashamed, but rather proud of the fact that so many British shops advertise Thanksgiving items. There are 250,000 Americans on this particular island after all. That is equal to the population of Wolverhampton, if you’re keeping track. I order the bulk of our groceries online and when I recently clicked through to the Thanksgiving shop, I enjoyed seeing this:

This year’s obligatory grocery screen shot.

I know you can’t scroll down and see all that I saw, but I have to say almost all bases were covered. It’s like you never have to leave the country. I don’t even remember it like this five years ago so I guess at this rate in 2017 we’ll be able to get hot dogs at the football instead of sausage baps. The one thing that puzzled me was the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. No self-respecting American – no matter if they will line their table with marshmallow fluff and gelatinous cranberry sauce in a can and overdone soggy brown green beans drowning in cream of sodium soup with french fried grease on top with a side of extra partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats, thank you – would ever, ever, EVER put Kraft Macaroni & Cheese out at Thanksgiving. We have our standards.

So it’s gotten to a point where almost any craving from shores of yore can be satiated via online or within a very close vicinity of food shops. Except for graham crackers. Oh how they have eluded me. Digestive biscuits can take their place in any kind of baking requirement. But not s’mores. No, the pure of heart know that s’mores cannot be made with clean digestive biscuits and superior European chocolate, both lacking in anything curious and dangerous on the ingredient list. A purist knows that a real s’more must involve chemicals and inferior chocolate. Which is why weeks ago I set out for Panzer’s in St. John’s Wood. An internet search revealed to me that for all these years there has been a food market close by with an American food section that contained GRAHAM CRACKERS, and I didn’t know it. I got thee there and it was good. Candy corn, Hershey bars, Pop-Tarts, Triscuits. You don’t know how much you love Triscuits until they’re gone. I assure you of this.

I gorged on snacks and felt dirty afterwards. No matter. I was able to put together a proper s’more.

This troubled me though:

How insulting.

All the American expats know that the longer you live abroad, either the more you will forget/lose your taste for foods from whence you came OR those food items will start popping up locally at an alarmingly fantastic rate. Like I didn’t expect to turn the corner at the weekend Camden Market and see a store specializing in American candy- even retro stuff.


You like that Statue of Liberty?

And have I mentioned the newsagent near Shepherd’s Bush Westfield Mall which sells BOTTLE CAPS?! Remember those? My tongue now does.

Some things you don’t even realize you missed until they are staring you down from the food shop aisle.

OH MY GOSH, CRESCENT ROLLS, I FORGOT YOU EXISTED AND HOW DELICIOUS YOU ARE. Leave it to the British to make a version without revolting Frankengredients and to actually call them “croissants”. But no matter. They are so delicious. And if, let’s say, you are missing terribly real pigs in a blanket (not the imposters), you could improvise your own:

(Mummies idea discovered by NeNe.)



Filed under culture i guess, exchange rate, food

9 responses to “another american food post

  1. jewely414

    “cream of sodium” soup. Ha!

  2. Ron

    Yael: You need to remind your readers and neighbors that the caucasian attendees at the first Thanksgiving in New England were British subjects. Virginia claims that the first Thanksgiving was in Jamestown, yet they too were subjects of the crown. Big Dad

  3. Cathy

    I’ve just moved back to DC after three years in London and the first thing I bought at Giant was Cool Whip. My friends in the UK were horrified when I described it as non-dairy whipped topping, but nothing can really beat it. By the way, Partridges in Sloane Square has an excellent USA food section.

    • yael

      I saw recently that Cool Whip has come out with a line of frosting. It was only a matter of time.

      I do need to check out Partridges. Selfridges has been pretty good so far.

  4. sonjey

    Oh Yael, I can’t wait to shower you and your family with all the goodies that you’ve been missing for the last five years…. Just make a list!!!!!..Impress upon the little ones the concept of being thankful. That is universal! You may want to bring it up to date and mention BLACK FRIDAY! (which is now beginning on Thanksgiving Day this year)

  5. poren

    Love the food! Joining you in utter OBSESSION with Patraeus scandal. Cannot wait for THAT blog post:)

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