One of the main things people would talk about when I told them I was moving to the States for a year was how jealous they were of all the American food I’d have unlimited access to. I live in halls here and me and my friends are on the unlimited meal plan which means we can literally take as many trips to the dining hall as we want (and trust me, in the beginning, that was definitely the case!). On arrival in Albany we were literally overwhelmed at what the dining hall had to offer. All of us English wandered around in awe at the seemingly endless choices…the wide variety of hot meals to choose from, salad bar, wrap station, I mean, there’s chocolate milk on tap people! Bizarrely, as the Americans began to move in, they had a distinctly different response. While we were running around getting endless platefuls of food, every American we spoke to was completely underwhelmed, much to our frustration! We put it down to Americans having being spoilt by food choices throughout their school career, they had no idea what it was like to be forced to eat the school dinners we had to put up with! Yet as time’s gone on we’ve gradually got less and less excited by the food and it’s got to the stage now where I’m just dying for a few home comforts.
So I’ll start off with an English classic. It’s safe to say I am in the camp of LOVING marmite. I’ve long been known to say that if I had to choose one meal to live on for the rest of my life it would be marmite on toast. Probably my perfect meal would consist of two slices of thick white bread, lightly toasted with loads of melted butter and marmite. And of course a cup of tea (which they can’t do properly here either!) Basically I’m hoping that my mum has a whole loaves worth ready for me when I get home!
2) Baked Beans
Something else which only the Brits know how to do properly; baked beans are just the perfect food in my opinion. Since being a student, beans have become pretty much a daily occurrence in my diet. These days, beans remind me of waking up hungover and my house mate making me and my friends cheese and beans on toast, another meal competing for the number one spot. One of the most simple foods and yet I would happily eat them every day, cold or hot, in a bowl or straight from the tin, with pretty much anything and at any time of day.
When I think of the cheese aisle in any English supermarket it’s literally a whole aisle with hundreds of different cheeses. All different textures and flavours, from all over the world. Compare that to the cheese I’ve been offered since being here which all tastes pretty much the same, think plastic burger cheese. To be fair, this is probably not the case for the whole of the US, just my dining hall. All I’m asking for is a nice slice of brie…
4) Percy Pigs
Percy (and all his friends), for those of you who don’t know, are Marks and Spencer’s own brand of jelly sweets. Basically the best sweets you’ll ever have. My older sister, who knows of my love for these since she introduced me to them years ago, often provides me with a large supply at Christmas, Birthdays and sometimes randomly in between. Even my friends have been known to buy me some since word got out about how much I enjoy a good Percy or Penny pig now and then. I’m greatly looking forward to a trip to M&S when I get back, just to stock up on a supply.
Ok, so this isn’t strictly speaking a ‘food that I miss’. In fact, the end product isn’t really what I miss at all.The actual act of finding a recipe and baking is really the fun of it in my opinion. I started baking when I was little, just like so many little girls who get taught by their mothers, or in my case by my grandmother since my own mum has more interest in the eating than the baking (to be fair to her, she is an amazing cook, she just claims the ‘baking gene’ skipped a generation). I also used to bake with my sisters, just the one recipe entitled ‘Hedgehog Cake’, still probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted…although as if there could ever be anything bad about chocolate, golden syrup, butter and biscuits mixed together! As I got older I used to love baking at home for my family and when I went to uni it was always fun to make cakes for people’s birthdays or just for fun. Now that I’m here and have no access to a kitchen, I realise how much I miss being able to bake.
I may add as a side note that there are many foods which kick England’s culinary ass but maybe I’ll save them for another top fives.