Amongst all of the things that I love to do, one thing that I really love is swapping food packages and recipes from all over the world. From Welsh Bara Brith, Indian Gulab Jamun, exclusively German Haribo sweets and Polish Kabanosy. it’s been quite the taste adventure. One places that I’d never tasted though, was America.
Most recently, I partnered up with a dear friend of mine, Penny Berry. Penny is a self-professed Anglophile and so I was sure to give her a good taste of as much of Britain as I could could possibly fit into a box. Yorkshire Tea, Rowntree’s Randoms and even some Wagon Wheels made the flight to sunny California. In return, Penny sent me some wonderful American goods.
When I first met Penny, I was awestruck by her. I stumbled upon her blog and I have to admit, I was slightly jealous of her succes. Penny and I both write about living in the BDSM lifestyle and I was blown away when she asked to interview me about my marriage. There were times when I was stuck with blogging and Penny gave me some totally awesome advice. At the end of last year, we even collaborated and wrote an amazing ten-part series, Married To Master. Since then, our friendship has grown.
After the last part of our series, Penny and I hit a kind of a sadness, a bit of a slump. We loved working together but we were both a bit stuck on what to do next. Aware of Penny’s love for England and all things English I suggested that we spanned the oceans with a food swap. I have expected her to say no, so I was delighted when she said yes!
Prior to sending her shipment, Penny warned me that America is the land of sugar. Of course I didn’t believe her. Americans can’t thrive off of sugar, right? Well, maybe.
American vs British Food: First Thoughts
One of the things I’ve really loved is the way that America individually wraps everything. Of course, plastic wrappers aren’t good for the environment, but stale cake also isn’t appealing. Right now in the cupboard, I know that I have opened jaffa cakes. Nine in a pack of twelve, opened and not being eaten! They’re wrapped down of course, but there is still a thought that some air containing heaven-knows-what can get in, and I also need to find a way for Wolfie to transport them for his lunches without using yet more plastic. Take away the plastic and use a recyclable paper wrapper or something, and I can really get behind this individual wrapping business. It makes things so much easier when it comes to preparing lunches!
Alright, well, we’re here to talk about food not wrappers, so without further ado – let’s get stuck in!
Pop Tarts: Cookies & Creme
Oof, America! My poor teeth! In the UK, Pop Tarts aren’t strictly something that we can’t buy. We are, however, quite limited to only “Choctastic” or “Strawberry Sensation” with only ASDA selling the Cookies & Creme version, which might make sense given that ASDA is the English subsidiary of Walmart.
The super-sweet marshmallow in these was hard-hitting, and I couldn’t fathom for the life of me why something so sweet also needed to be iced as well. The dark chocolatey pastry was pleasant, but I would have preferred more hot, chocolatey goodness. Once a chocoholic, always a chocoholic!
General Mills Lucky Charms
We used to get these in the UK, then our government realised how full of sugar they are and stopped the supermarkets providing them so readily. They are still available, but they’ve been hit hard by the UK’s sugar tax and now cost £5 per box – a hard blow when I can buy three boxes of Cheerios for the same price. Nonetheless, the giggling 90’s children in us both thoroughly enjoyed our bowlful of Lucky Charms for breakfast on Saturday!
Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls
I hate to say that the UK are ever better than America, but when it comes to Swiss Rolls (or Mini Rolls, as they are here), I really do think Cadbury’s just do it that much better. The chocolate on these is waxier than Cadbury’s and the cream filling is far too sweet for me. Not only, I was baffled by their being two Swiss Rolls in a packet as in the UK, one cake is a portion. I had two out of respect for doing it “truly American”, but damn I felt overindulged! I’ve often felt that I would never manage portion sizes in the States, and if Little Debbie’s Swiss Rolls are anything to go by then I’m probably right!
I’ve always wanted to try Twinkies but my local Tesco superstore doesn’t seem to sell them, so I’ve never had the chance. They are available in the UK, but, it seems, only in hidden corners of our tiny island! At first my brain was sure it picked up on something citrusy, but, it seems, that was all a figment of my imagination! Definitely nice, definitely very interesting, but oof, also very heavy! Cream-filled cakes in the UK are typically more of a sandwich than a filling, like a donut. I can see why American people like them, but they’re probably not something that I would eat too often, given the chance.
I think I went through a number of emotions with these, surprise, confusion, adoration and shock being certainly among them. I was charmed by their looped line of white frosting, surprised that they were topped with another layer of chocolate and shocked at just how chocolatey they really are! In the UK, chocolate flavour cake tends to be more of a mild chocolate flavour as the cocoa sort of “bakes out” in the cooking process. These also don’t have a muffin paper, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen on an individual cake in the UK. These are cream filled too, slightly heavy, but offset slightly by the chocolate. Certainly quite pleasant!
Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Creme Pies
“Those look like Fox’s Golden Crunch Creams!” I said to Wolfie. I was wrong, they’re not like Fox’s Crunch Creams, Golden Crunch Creams are hard and have a syrupy flavour, these are soft and ever so slightly spiced. I was unsure of them at first, and yet I think they have grown on me over time. Once you get past them being soft (soft biscuits in the UK are generally stale biscuits, which isn’t very appealing when you think about it!), they’re quite enjoyable. I don’t think my brain has gotten over it’s not-a-hard-biscuit ideas yet and keeps making my jaw expect a hard crunch, but it’s okay, we can deal!
I adored this! I really love that it’s just one brown sachet and you can make up as much as you need. In the UK, jelly (normally made by a brand called Hartley’s) is sold in sachets, of about 25g or so. In the UK, flavours are also real, not artificial, but I didn’t find there to be that much difference in the end result. I expected Jello-O Strawberry to be unbearably sweet, but it wasn’t and goes wonderfully with vanilla ice cream!
Penny wasn’t lying when she said that America is the land of sugar, I even messaged Penny a few days after her parcel arrived and warned her about visiting as I was worried our diet might even be too bland for her! A lot of British adults don’t have an excessively sweet tooth, and so Hostess and Little Debbie definitely took me by surprise. I find the sheer size of the USA and the differences from state to state incredibly interesting, but I think I’d be ordering from the kid’s menu a lot, if only because my appetite is so small. A huge thankyou to Penny Berry of course for sending me all of these wonderful treats. Do visit her blog or her fun new gaming recipes blog, MMORPG Recipes!
I’d love to kickstart a just-for-fun “that time I tried..” series with you all and share my opinions on different things. What should I try next? I’ve got one more to write up and then I’m out of ideas! Let me know your suggestions in the comments and I’ll see what I can do for you! 😉
Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,
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