I made three startling discoveries during a routine trip to my local cornershops to procure dinner ingredients on Thursday night.
In the first -- which has just expanded and added loads more fresh food, vegetables and fruit -- I found onion and chive dip for potato chips/crisps. I've been in the UK for about seven years now, and never seen such a thing; you just couldn't find an onion dip that doesn't contain garlic. I don't dislike garlic, and I don't eat crisps in my own home (one of those silly rules that makes me feel as if I am being more virtuous than I am -- like always skipping the cakes and cookies aisles in the supermarket, even though I'll happily accept them if they are offered to me in someone's home or at a restaurant), but I had to buy this dip and see if it was the taste of home (Reiter's French Onion Dip, which I suspect is available only in Ohio, is what I was hoping for) that I could do with right now.
It wasn't. The base wasn't sour cream or anything like it, and the onions were dried and hard. My cat liked it, though.
A rather more horrifying discovery, in the second shop, was Mini Cadbury Eggs. Now that I think about it, I am vaguely aware that British outlets of McDonalds offer Mini Cadbury Egg McFlurries, but I hadn't quite contemplated what this means: There are people who can actually tolerate the richness and temple-aching sweetness of Cadbury Eggs so well that to pop several miniature versions of them into their mouths in a space of a few minutes is not only no tall order, but a pleasure. And with a half pint of ice cream to go with them! Wonders never cease when you're as easily awed as I am, but I do find this shocking.
But guess what I spotted right next to the till? Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, believe it or not -- and I still don't quite. I've only seen them in the UK in import shops and Sweets From Heaven at Bluewater. This is a crucial discovery in the area of British confectionery, as this country just doesn't seem to do the chocolate and peanut butter combination (I think where the US has that, the UK has their chocolate and orange fetish, the great pleasures of which are still largely a mystery to me). In what I hope does not become a habit, I bought a packet of two. They were the real thing. Taste of home desire satiated. For more information about Healthiest Foods here
So what were those "dinner ingredients" I returned home with? A snack-sized bag of salted crisps, onion dip, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and a 2 litre bottle of Diet Pepsi. Clearly, I have the impeccable taste necessary to hold court on food matters here.