A taste of home

About a year ago, as part of a writing course, I was tasked with writing a passage about the food that most reminded me of being a little boy. I chose my mum’s rice pudding, the scent of which would fill the house for hours before it was ready. The wait was agonising.

A few weeks ago, Mini-CBRbound decided that, for his own school writing project, he would blog about his favourite foods from his childhood in Denmark. Watching him rediscover all those tastes has been a wonderful experience.

As I write this, I’m just starting to pack for one of my regular work trips back to Europe and, as is usual, a shopping list of expat goodies from both Denmark and the UK has begun to accumulate on the fridge door.

It was immaculate timing then, when a fellow Brit posted this conundrum of a question on the Poms In Oz Facebook page, yesterday: “What two things would you bring back from a trip to the UK?”

Aside from the odd comment about loved ones and favourite pubs, what followed was an outpouring of nostalgia for foods that, since moving to Australia, have become a tantilising, half-remembered taste guaranteed to set the taste buds atremble – just like my Mum’s rice pudding.

For the record, my shopping list usually comprises: decaffeinated Earl Grey tea bags (from Sainsbury’s or Asda), Galaxy chocolate, Twiglets, bacon flavour Wheat Crunchies, and remoulade – a condiment from Denmark. All of which are rare, expensive or impossible to substitute in Australia.

Watching the unfolding list of comments on the Poms In Oz thread was like listening to the commentary on a horse race – first this one was ahead, then that, then something new would burst out of the blue and the momentum would shift. You could almost hear me cheer my support and howl with derision at the various posts as they appeared.

Of course, this is completely unscientific, but after 24 hours and more than 150 comments, here are the things that Poms In Oz seem to miss the most:

In first place, with 11 votes, Galaxy chocolate.

In second place, with 9 votes, Walkers’ crisps (of various flavours).

In third place, with 8 votes, Cadbury’s chocolate (apparently, Australian Cadbury’s tastes different to the UK version. I wouldn’t know, I’m a Galaxy man).

Scotch eggs and ‘a decent curry’ or curry sauce both had 7 votes.

And ‘proper pork sausages’ and Battenburg cake each had 6 votes.

In all, 103 different UK foods were wistfully pined for. Lower down the rankings were personal favourites like bacon flavour Wheat Crunchies (a crisp-type snack), Gregg’s sausage rolls, pork pies and Mini Cheddars.

By the time you read this, I’ll be feasting on at least one, of not many of these, while deciding which of them will pass the scrutiny of Aussie customs when I get home.

Battered sausage and chips from the local fish and chip shop won’t be one of them, so I’ll have to scoff as much of that as I can while I’m away – with lashings of salt and vinegar, of course. Then, give it a week, and I’ll be missing a decent Aussie pie, I’m sure.

That’s the trouble with this migration lark, once you start moving around, you end up loving a little bit of everywhere.

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6 thoughts on “A taste of home

  1. Chees and Onion Walkers please! Topped off with Toffee Crisps. I’m a real crisp person and I still to this day look longingly in the aisle at Woolies wishing with all my might that all of a sudden they will just ‘get it’ about crisps and start selling Walkers, Scampi Fries, Wheaties (as you suggest), Monster Munch, Skips etc.

    The chocolate here is different….someone told me that Australian made chocolate has more preservatives, which might just mean sugar. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all so I’m not that bothered by not having it, but if I’m asked, I’d always request a Toffee Crisp. While I’m thinking about it, I do like Rhubarab and Custards…but only if they come in a paper bag for a more authentic experience! And ok, while we are here, Penguins, the biscuit on which the Tim Tam is based (true). I don’t like Tim Tams, they are too ‘airy’, but I’d happily eat a Penguin.

    I’m guessing you have been to the shop at Gold Creek which sells a few English items. It’s not that great unfortunately. There was one in civic until relatively recently which wasn’t bad, although they never had Walkers. There was a much better one in Sydney in Centrepoint. And of course you can always buy online if desperate.

    Out of interest, what brand is the remoulade you mentioned? Have you tried the deli’s at Fyshwick markets?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there,
      I just discovered your page.
      I own the Fyshwick Newsagency (my Dad and his family all emigrated from Kent in the late 1960’s) – anyway you will be glad to know – we stock a lot of the things you are missing 🙂
      If you like our FB page – Fyshwick Newsagency – we currently have some Walkers – Prawn Cocktail, Worcester and Tomato Ketchup, Skips, Penguins, Heinz Sandwich Spread and lots of Pickles, Toffee Crisps, Galaxy, Munchies, Yorkies, Blackjacks, Flying Saucers, Bassetts, Jelly Tots, After Eights, Curry Sauce, Tizer, Vimto, Dandelion and Burdock, and so much more!
      Next week – we will receive Pickled Onion Monster Munch, Bacon Fries, and more too….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there, Thanks for dropping by. I already saw your Facebook post and started following you. Some of your stock had me salivating with nostalgia. Good luck with the business, I’m sure we’ll be dropping in before long 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, when we first arrived in Aus from Denmark, we thought the variety of crisps here was just wonderful — mmmm, honey soy chicken — after 10 years of salted or sour cream and chive flavour, but I suppose anything can become over-familiar after a while, and it’s inevitable that those old ‘comfort favourites’ will conjure up magical memories. There are a few places where you can track these things down, Coles have a limited ‘British’ selection, and even Aldi occasionally do a week of ‘specials’. Then there are the specialist shops that offer exotic items such as peanut butter Kit Kat, and Cherry Coke. We did try Belco markets for remoulade but not Fyshwick. We did find an online retailer based in Sydney though which offers a range of Danish goodies.
      And then, of course, there’s always the generous Emirates luggage allowance for those occasional trips home 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know the feeling well, but as an Aussie living in Denmark I have it the other way around. I miss having a selection of salt and vinegar chips (crisps?), and twisties, and I think that the commonly available Kims brand here is utterly terrible! I of course miss Tim Tams and Cadburys (out of interest, Cadburys in the UK is made with fresh milk – glass and a half – whereas in Australia they use milk powder), and also readily available authentic foods from around the world. Weirdly, one of the main things I miss is being able to buy boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the supermarket. I don’t know what Denmark does with all their chickens thighs, but I would really like to be able to buy them!

    At this stage there’s nothing I will miss from Denmark if I ever leave (don’t eat remoulade), apart from the bike lanes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi CBR Bound,
    Yes I thought we used to have a decent selection of crisp flavours in Australia – until I went to the UK – they have such a bigger variety of flavours – and the flavours themselves are much more tasty than what we have in Oz.
    Thanks for liking our FB page – hope to be able to feed your nostalgia.
    Hi Hoptimist,
    Another difference between the UK and Oz Cadbury chocolate – is the different “fats” used. The UK use palm oil (we don’t in Oz) – so that gives it a smoother mouth feeling, and the UK use less preservatives and don’t have to worry about the extremes of temperature as much as we do in Oz too – they do taste very different to each other.
    Cheers!

    Like

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