18 October 2011

From my cupboard to you

So once again we didn’t do anything of consequence this past weekend. We cleaned the house. It needed it. As a person who is rather anal retentive about cleaning, having a baby really relaxed my ideals of what is considered “clean”. No worries though, it’s cleaned now-which means that if you want to come over, now is the time to do it as it’s not going to be properly cleaned again until my sister comes into town next month for Thanksgiving. Which begs the question – where the fuck does one find a turkey in this country?

Since I don’t have an exciting traveling post for you this week, I thought I would explore the cupboards of my kitchen to bring you some British product highlights. Never mind the strange look that Andy gave me as I was taking things out of the shelves this afternoon to photograph them against the lovely backdrop of a kitchen towel draped over the microwave.

First things first, we have the staple of any British kitchen: The economy sized bottle of Fairy Washing up Liquid. The majority of households in this country do not own a dishwasher so washing the dishes (UK: “washing up”) is still alive and well. Fairy is by far the most popular brand and apparently they have a catchy jingle (we have a DVR so I haven’t seen a commercial since 2007) and Andy will sing the jingle to you if you happen to mention Fairy Washing up Liquid. Since I can’t be bothered listening to Andy when he starts sprouting these obscure commercial references, I can’t repeat the jingle for you here. But there’s something to break the ice with Andy if you ever do meet him\meet him again.

Another picture of my washing line, how exciting!

Moving on to cereals, this announcement is on every box of cereal sold in the UK. Again, I can’t be bothered to look up the details about it, but it really humors me that someone in this country has the job title of “Purveyor of Cereal”. That just brings to mind Greek Gods or Catholic Saints. “I’m the Patron Saint of Travelers!” “Oh yeah, well I’m the fucking Purveyor of Cereal, bitches!”

The Queen has personally hand picked this cereal for you.

Still on cereals, we have Quaker Oats Porridge. There is no oatmeal in this country, its porridge, even if you get a familiar US brand of Quaker Oats. Not reading the label properly and assuming (“ass” out of ‘u’ and ‘me’) that it was just the same preparation as the US version, I spent an entire box preparing my porridge with water. I should say “suffering through an entire box” as using water instead of milk makes for absolutely terrible porridge.

2 MINS to shitty porridge if you don't read the instructions properly.

Next we have carbonara sauce. I would like to point out for the record that I’m only presenting to you carbonara sauce as I’ve yet to find alfredo sauce in this country. They are very similar, carbonara and alfredo, but different enough. I would have thought being a lot closer to Italy than in the States that the Italian sauces offerings would be huge. Nope. There’s white sauce (carbonara), red sauce (used for spaghetti bolognese which I am convinced is the 2nd British national dish after curry) and pesto. No clam sauce, no white wine sauce, and no mushroom sauce.

More pictures of my clothing line.  Squeal!

What the Brits lack in Italian sauces they most certainly make up for in table sauces. In the States if you go to a typical restaurant, you’ll have ketchup and mustard. You’ll have to ask for your side of mayo or ranch. The service industry here doesn’t want you asking for naught and will put every condiment known to man (save Ranch – boo!) in a handy carrying box to bring to you with your food. I’m showing what 90% of the time will come to the table but even after this you may still get mint sauce and horseradish too.

The ketchup would be more full if it wasn't for chip and pie Sundays.

Speaking of Purveyors, there’s one for HP sauce too.

Now, I’m hoping the next one isn’t actually available in the States. Fuck knows we love our gravy. If America is missing out then someone should take charge and make a fortune. These are gravy granules. You put how ever many spoonfuls of gravy you happen to need in a bowl and pour a bit of boiling water on top. No need to make a sauce pan full of gravy. No need to open an entire can. Just spoon some in and presto! Gravy goodness. They do have meat flavored gravy by the way. I would just like to add that gravy is surprisingly good on chips\fries. Just saying.


Yes, they look like rat droppings, but they are so good.

Any American bakers moving to the UK? If so, please take note of the following so that you don’t have to ask the little old hunchback lady with a deep Scouse accent where to find the baking soda.

Is it just me, or do those gingerbread men look burnt?

This one is for Henry since he hates not to be included on my weekly updates. These are the solids I feed him twice a day now. I tried making my own baby food but I couldn’t get it smooth enough so I resorted to Ella’s Kitchen. I think they do have Ella’s in the States but from what I heard they overcharge for it there so not many people buy it. I hope this won’t influence his taste buds too much. I’ll be damned if I’m going to make him broccoli and pears when he’s older.

The Mango Baby Brekkie is actually really good.  Um, not that I've licked it off Henry's spoon or anything.

Speaking of chips\fries, these pies are the perfect accompaniment. We used to go to the chippy every other week but since we’re trying to save money, I just make the pies and chips at home now. Of course this means that we’ve taken our bi-weekly shitty nutritional meal and turned it into a weekly shitty nutritional meal.

"They're proper pies, asshole!"

If we ever move back to the States I will miss Lilt Zero. Of course I will have to dry my tears with buckets full of Hansen’s.

Now it’s time for my international fruit and veg. I think its common knowledge that most fruits and vegetables in the off season in America come from places like Mexico and South America. I don’t know if by law they are required to tell you that on their label or not. Here, they are required. I don’t know what type of satisfaction I’m suppose to get knowing my grapes came from Italy and Greece (of course), my tomatoes from Poland (that’s tomatosky to you) and my cucumbers from Spain, but there you go.

Henry is playing "Spot the Baby" in my pictures here.

Lastly, if you do decide to come over to my house during this week where it’s actually clean, these are the types of drinks I will offer you. That is of course unless I know you are the drinking sort in which case I will offer you vodka in your coffee. You’re welcome.

 Seriously, Horlicks?  Still funny.


  1. Turkeys are super easy to get! You can get one (frozen) from any large Sainsbury's or Tescos. Nearer to Christmas you can also get fresh ones. We've never had a problem finding a turkey. The bigger problem is how to fit one into our teeny, tiny British oven.

  2. Anon: That's good to know! Since Andy is a vegetarian, I don't spend too much time in the meat aisle but I will look in Tesco's today. Thanks!

  3. You've just made me see Horlicks in a new light. PS the word 'root' in Australia means 'sex'. You have a whole chain of stores in the US called 'Roots'. hahahahaha!

  4. VW: I actually knew the "root" in the OZ sense. My sister spent a semester in Melbourne and while at a rugby match asked her friend which team she was "rooting for" (USA = cheering for). I like embarrassing stories like that - especially if they're not about me.

  5. Loved this post! Anything comparing differences is amusing. I particularily like the Queen's approval. Is she like England's FDA? :) I also like that the cucumber is even wrapped in plastic. The drinks look delicious and I have had the Horlicks (hee) you sent (yum), but I will take the vodka please.


  6. BH: You know sometimes I do write posts with a certain person in mind. You were definitely on my mind when I wrote this one.

    Oh, and they wrap cucumbers in plastic in the States too, but only at overpriced places that sell 'organic' food.

  7. Roots is Candian.

  8. Good catch Anon, I was going to call you out on that. ;-)