Poptarts and Potato Waffles: An American’s Guide to a British Supermarket
British food has a bad reputation for being, how should I say, horrible. I’m not qualified to speak on this, as I’m a picky eater and think a lot of food is horrible. To stick up for the UK, though, I have learned to enjoy quite a few ‘proper’ meals like fish and chips and roast dinners. ‘English breakfast’ is very good, and I have gotten into the habit of eating baked beans with things I never would have eaten baked beans with before. I have had even had lasagna with baked beans and LIKED IT.
Anyway, this was in my head as I went to the grocery store today, and I thought I would bring you along so we can experience the highs and lows of being an American in a British supermarket.
Let’s start in the produce section.
Nothing much to see here, though helpful to remember that zucchinis are “courgettes,” eggplant is “aubergine,” and rutabaga is “swede” (though who even knows what a rutabaga is to begin with?). Easy enough.
The next stop is the refrigerated section, which is relatively standard, but holds some secrets of its own.
(I literally just posted a picture of cheese. Am I doing this blogging thing right?)
Orange juice is readily available, but “pulp” is referred to as “juicy bits,” and honestly the jokes just write themselves.
It does get confusing when you start looking for eggs. Oh, no. The eggs are not in the fridge. They are stored casually, on the dry shelves, next to the bread like it’s NO BIG DEAL.
This is jarring for an American who is used to the “eggs must be refrigerated” mantra, but apparently it really isn’t a big deal since the eggs are processed differently than in America. If you’re incredibly interested, here’s an article. If you’re not, let’s carry on (isn’t this the most fun you’ve had all day? I BET!)
The snack aisle is one of my best friends, and even more so before I started this running stupidity. Thankfully, the UK has Oreos, but they’re sold in single sleeves instead of the 3 sleeved approach in America.
Wait, do they sell them in single sleeves here because British people control themselves and don’t want 46 Oreos at once like I do? I don’t know. Possibly.
Okay, so far so good, chocolate knows no borders.
Okay, yes, America has pizza Pringles and so I can hardly judge the UK for following their paprika-loving hearts, but roast chicken? How does that even work? If the chicken isn’t enough to tide you over, you can always follow it up with some flame grilled steak.
Now that we’ve eaten an entire week’s worth of meat in the snack aisle, we’ll continue on to the breakfast aisle. The cereals are pretty standard, though noticeably lacking in sugar.
One of the saddest sections for me and my Americanness is the Poptart section, which isn’t so much a “section” as a small sampling of the wonders that Poptarts can bring you.
After we finish wiping our tears and texting all of our friends to send us cookie dough Poptarts ASAP, we’ll hit the frozen section. Of course they’ve got the staple frozen items—ice cream, pizza, vegetables. But, to make up for the British food jokes, I would like to present to you one of the greatest achievements to have ever come out of the British empire: the potato waffle.
Turns out, it’s literally a potato product shaped like a waffle. Two of my favorite things in one. Nice, move, England. Almost enough to make me forget about your roast chicken Pringles. Almost.