Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shopping List!

I know I have mentioned the difficulty of shopping here for food before but I surprise myself at the lengths I will go to, to get things I miss from the UK. I drove a 30 mile round trip because I heard on the ex-pat grape vine that an Indian store sold Ribena. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I not only found Ribena ($8 for a £1.99 bottle – what sort of exchange rate is that?!) but also Vimto! I miss squash – I get sick of ‘soda’ even though I am a coke addict (cola! Although I might try the other sort). Water doesn’t do the job when you want squash! I don’t understand why Americans don’t have it! It is sugary and sweet but then it does require some effort – you have to mix the squash with the water… too much hassle for them if they actually have to do something! I have learned too that if you say you want a drink – they assume you mean alcohol. You have to ask for a beverage if you want a soft drink! How English!
I found Heinz baked beans in a store called ‘World Market’ which sells things from around the world that no one really wants but they assume is representative. It has provided me with a few things I miss, such as marmite. Last time I went I got 4 cans of beans to stock up ($1.50 a can!).  The cashier said ‘I find these heavy’. I agreed, ‘Yes they can give you terrible wind’. I didn’t realise she was talking about the weight of the cans!
I smuggled back Christmas pud and concentrated Robinson’s squash when I went to England last time, along with Indian spices (as they are obscenely expensive here) Oxo cubes, some custard powder and Paxo Stuffing! My mom posts me packets of gravy mix. You can get it here but there is a vomit inducing amount of salt in it! Same with their stock cubes. They even inject their meat with a ‘broth’ which is, as far as I can tell, salt water. I pay twice as much for brothless beef! (I’m sure there is a joke in that somewhere!)
Their sausage and bacon just isn’t right. Breakfast sausage tastes like the MacDonald’s stuff. I found Irish sausages on the internet – you can order them and they get shipped from New York in some sort of freezer pack. I haven’t succumbed yet but I’m sure I’ll get desperate for sausage eventually (Yes! I know there is a joke there). Their bacon is thin and fatty and smoked. Ok on a Caesar salad but not for breakfast! I was a vegetarian for years but couldn't resist bacon! Maybe it is time to give it another go... if only vegetables were cheaper here!
There are other things that you can get if you are prepared to pay! Decent cheese is very expensive- too expensive to put on toast and no point anyway without HP sauce! Some things you can get but something happens to it in the transportation – Weetabix just isn’t right and Cadbury Chocolate goes white and funny. Something similar happened to me on the flight over here!
You might wonder why I don’t just do what most Americans do most of the time and eat out! Ah well… that’s another story!


  1. Can you get Maggi over there?

  2. What's Maggi? if it is good, then No - it wont be here!

  3. I found when in Australia there were lots of things you could,nt get. I remember sending my sister pkts of polos.She took about 20 pkts back with her last year.I wll continue to send what you want. IN fact i am already buying things to bring with me

  4. I think you need to branch out in to “Ranching”
    Cows for your BEEF
    Pigs for sausages & bacon
    Chickens for your eggs, for custard
    As I’m sure taking custard powder through customs can’t be right as it is an explosive substance!

  5. Ha! good idea... I stuggle to make my own bread to avoid their sugary bread! Not sure I can make sausage! where would i get the skin from... NO! dont answer that!
    Custard powder isn't as explosive as my 5 year old terrorist who interrogated the US customs offical about his gun last time and asked him if he was going to shoot him!

  6. Maggi is a liquid seasoning. They use it a lot in African food, I discovered in on my many jaunts to Ghana. You can get it in the UK now and although there's some non too healthy ingredients in it, it tastes damn fine.

  7. I will check it out! but I seriously doubt they have embraced anything from Ghana - far too exotic!
    Will have to try some when I'm back in the Uk for a visit!

  8. you can make your own bacon quite easily - just check out hugh's website and they do trade in pig bellies over there dont they?

  9. that is no way to refer to our American Friends! They might be a little bit portly but 'pig bellies'?
    I'm all for making bacon!