Isn’t it funny how, when you’re ill, you crave comforting, familiar foods. Foods that you were brought up with, that accompanied you through your childhood. Much as I love local specialities, like Käsespätzle (small, thin dumplings covered in lashings of melted cheese) and Flammkuchen (tarte flambée – technically from Elsace but Karlsruhe is so close to the border that they’ve adopted (and adapted) this dish for themselves), for the last few days I’ve been craving English things. Crumpets literally dripping with salted butter. Heinz chicken soup. Mashed potatoes with a large helping of cheddar cheese mixed in. A chip butty drowning in gravy. Horlicks.
I just know I’m going to be disappointed no matter what we have for tea tonight. Plus, I’ve run out of Lemsip. Doooom!
I’m sitting here eating a packet of peanut M&Ms. I bet at least one person is now thinking “so what? I do that all the time”. Ah, but the thing is I do not do that all the time. You see, the boyfriend is allergic to peanuts. Not severely allergic, as in open a packet of peanuts while he is in the room and he will stop breathing, but allergic enough that he may well stop breathing if he accidently went and ate something from the packet. So I tend not to knowingly buy anything with peanuts in. (He’s fine with “may contain traces…” it’s just actual peanuts that are a problem). But I am alone this week, so when I spotted the yellow packet of M&Ms on the supermarket shelf I thought ‘why not’? And so I am now eating peanut M&Ms. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, Jan has been sent to LA by his work – some computer software in a hospital that needs to be looked at. According to him the problems they’re having are probably their own fault but he has to go and sort it out anyway. *sigh* Take my advice – don’t fall in love with a computer scientist!
Anyway…. back to the point.
Have you ever noticed how whenever you really, really want a certain thing it’s something you can’t have? Even if you’ve been shopping that day the thing you find yourself craving at midnight is guaranteed to be something you didn’t buy. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, right now I have my packet of yummy peanut M&Ms but what I really want to be eating is poppadoms. I don’t even know why. Poppadoms just popped into my head at work this afternoon and now I desperately want to eat them. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done in Germany. Oh, you can get them, but only if you’re willing to pay over 3 euros for them. And the only ones they have here are the type that you have to cook yourself. By cook I mean place in extremely hot oil for a few seconds, causing your entire kitchen to become filled with smoke. Not a good idea if your little cooking space is miles away from any windows. What I want are those ready-to-eat Sharwoods poppadoms that are available in every single supermarket in England. But I cannot have them, which only makes me want them more.
It’s the same with most of the things I miss from home. When I’m in England I don’t feel the need to eat a packet of crisps every day, but in Germany, faced with the choice of paprika flavour or paprika flavour (although I have to admit they’re getting better) I find myself longing for some Flaming Hot Monster Munch. Or Skips. Or Quavers. Or some Worcester Sauce flavoured Walkers. Occasionally I will find myself in the corner of Karstadt staring longingly at the Kettle Chips. If I’m having a really bad day I might even buy a packet. (That doesn’t happen very often though. Not at the insane price of 3 euros. For a packet of crisps!). And then there’s crumpets. And pasties. And pies. In fact, anything savoury that can be packed in pastry (Hails made me feel very jealous yesterday talking about the sausage rolls she’s been eating). And don’t even get me started on Chicken Soup and Bird’s Eye Potato Waffles! Funny how I barely even noticed these things when I could have them every day.