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.