Skips and Wotsits and Hula Hoops, Oh My!

On the way back from England, I found myself with rather a lot of time on my hands at Newcastle airport, so I went and checked out the shops. I may have gone a little overboard purchasing ALL the crisps (well, all the interestingly shaped ones anyway!)


I also had a packet of Quavers, but my self control isn’t that great… I ate those on the plane ūüėČ Sadly, neither Boots nor WH Smith at the airport had either Squares or Discos, or I can assure you I would have purchased some of those as well…

My trip home may not have been for the best of reasons, but at least now I can fulfil my cravings for English junk food!


But I don’t WANT pretzels and Bratwurst…

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 K√§sesp√§tzle (small, thin dumplings covered in lashings of melted cheese) and Flammkuchen (tarte flamb√©e – 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!

If I could have it I wouldn’t be craving it!

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.

10 foods that are missing from my life

I was in Rewe today looking at cereals, trying to find one I would actually be willing to eat (me and cereals are not a good combination) when I realised that half of the names I know don’t actually exist in Germany. Not that most of them are a big loss – I can’t say I’ve found myself craving wheetos (do they even still make those?) or crunchy nut cornflakes recently! It did get me thinking about all the English stuff I do miss over here though. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a list of tasty stuff from the UK that you just can’t get in Germany:

1. Decent crisps. You can get Walkers crisps here, but only in Irish pubs where they cost a gazillion euros. And you can’t get any of the interesting stuff, like Skips and Hula Hoops and Monster Munch. German crisps just don’t cut it. For a start 99.9999% of them are paprika flavour. It’s got to the stage where even the mention of paprika flavoured crisps makes me lose the will to live. Then they have something called “Erdnussflips”. Thy’re shaped like Wotsits, but instead of being cheese flavoured they’re a weird concoction made from corn and peanuts. They smell awful and taste like mushed up peanut flavoured cardboard. Not good.

2. Galaxy chocolate. It is sort of available here, but only in boxes of celebrations where it goes by the name of ‘Dove’. I’m hardly going to buy a whole box of celebrations just for the Galaxy though am I? And anyway, there’s only ever about 3 pieces in there. The rest is all Mars bars which I hate.

3. Pasties, pies, sausage rolls. Why have no Germans ever thought of taking some pastry and shoving something savoury in the middle? The closest they get is something called a “Gefl√ľgelrolle” which is sort of like a sausage roll except the sausage meat stuff is made from some kind of bird instead of pork. It’s very tasty but there are about 2 bakers in the whole of Karlsruhe that actually sell them.

4. Ready Brek. An odd thing to miss, I know, but it’s one of the few cereals I can actually eat a whole bowl of. Currently I have to give half of my muesli to Jan or throw away the leftovers. (It’s chocolate muesli by the way – I’m not that healthy!)

5. Malt vinegar. No wonder the Germans think we’re weird for putting vinegar on our chips – the right kind of vinegar doesn’t even exist in this country! And chips with white wine vinegar is just wrong.

6. Baked potatoes. You can get them in restaurants very occasionally, and I did recently manage to find some potatoes that are actually big enough to make my own, but it just isn’t the same over here. On the few occasions that you manage to find a place that serves baked potatoes it always comes with either sour cream or herb quark. There is one place that does one with bits of fried chicken, but even that comes with a huuuuge dollop of sour cream all over everything. I long for a nice baked potato that’s piled high with yummy cheddar cheese. (To be fair to the Germans I did spot a baked potato cafe/restaurant thing during a weekend in Hamburg. It’s probably the only one in the whole country though.)

7. Spaghetti hoops. Or actually any kind of pasta shapes in tomato sauce.

8. Brown sauce. If they had brown sauce here I would put it in my non-existent spaghetti hoops.

9. Proper gravy. They have something similar to gravy here. It’s called Bratenso√üe. It’s pale brown, incredibly runny and tastes weird. Give me Bisto any day (yes, homemade gravy is better but I’m lazy and only know how to make instant Bisto gravy)

10. Squash. You cannot get squash in Germany! What they like to do is take some fruit juice, half fill a glass with it and top it up with fizzy water. It’s called Schorle. It isn’t actually bad and I do drink it but it’s just not the same as a nice glass of apple and blackcurrant squash, or dilutey juice as my sister and I would call it when we were little.

So there you are.  A list of 10 things I wish were available in Germany.