Now that Ryan and I have gotten more of the basics settled, we’ve had time to wander about and explore what’s going on in London. On Friday we walked over to Trafalgar Square, Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Did you know that in Trafalgar Square there’s a statue of George Washington? I read that Washington said he wouldn’t set foot on English soil so his statue is placed on soil imported from Virginia. Interesting, fact right? Anyway, I tried to take a picture but it was dark so it came out badly.
We’ve been walking a lot, but for some reason we cannot stop looking the wrong way when we cross the street. It doesn’t matter what the crosswalk says, it’s so hard for us not to look right. It’s a hard habit to break! I’m also having trouble finding the crosswalks. The sounds dumb, but let me tell you about it. When there’s median in the road, the cross walk doesn’t go all the way across, instead the two halves are staggered. Why? I don’t get it. I feel like such an idiot standing in the median, all alone, trying to figure out where to cross next. Here’s a picture. I added arrows so you can see what I’m talking about.
I’ve also gotten in to two “cooking” shows. One is Come Dine With Me. Five people host dinner parties for the other four, at the end of the night each rates the other, then at the very end the winner gets money. There’s always drunkenness and weird dancing. It’s been really funny and I’m addicted. The other is called Dinner Date, and women create a menu that they would cook on a date. A man chooses 3 out of 5 menus. The women who made those three menus have to cook for the guy and at the end they rate him, and he picks his favorite date. I was watching yesterday and one of the women liked to drink and the narrator said she likes “a tipple and a topple.” Which means, you like to drink and then fall over. I died. The is some awesome slang. So hilarious.
But, let’s get on to the main event. The myth busting! As you might remember, at our going away party we received a mountain of treats that may or may not be available in London. So, I went to grocery store to check out what I really could find.
There is definitely peanut butter in London! I’ve been told, by people who’ve studied abroad in London, that the peanut butter doesn’t taste as good as it does at home. But, I haven’t tried it yet, so I’ll reserve judgement. For now I’m happy that peanut butter is available. There aren’t the brands that we have at home, but there were at least two shelves of peanut butter. If you need jelly there’s tons, about four times as many shelves of jelly as there are shelves of peanut butter.
Marshmallows & Fluff
There is definitely marshmallow fluff. Marshmallows took me a bit to find at first (because the store was out). I’ve seen them both at coffee shops and at the grocery store. What’s interesting is that the marshmallows are always pink and white! I don’t know why, but I thought it was interesting.
Twizzlers & Hershey products
As far as I can tell, there aren’t Twizzlers. But, I did find strawberry flavored licorice. Isn’t the packaging super cute? The only Hershey product I’ve seen are Kit Kats (and in mint, cookies and cream, and dark chocolate flavors!). But Ryan says in Europe, Kits Kats are licensed and made by Nestle. Who knew? Side note: the Kit Kats are delicious, Ryan and I bought mint and they were great.
This took me forever to find because the bag is so much smaller than what I expected! How the heck am I supposed to make chocolate chip cookies with such a dinky bag?! I have no idea. Maybe chocolate chip cookies aren’t that popular here…?
Boxed macaroni and cheese
As far as I can tell, this doesn’t exist. There is pre-made food, but no equivalent of Kraft boxed mac and cheese. No worries, because I can make this at home, and they have Lincolnshire Poacher here. Update: They have microwaveable macaroni and cheese. I found this out because on Dinner Date, the women who aren’t chosen get a “ready meal” at the end and I just saw two women get mac and cheese. The woman who is chosen gets taken out to a restaurant.
I don’t think this exists either. There are tons of similar, lightly sweet flat cracker-cookies, but I didn’t see anything exactly the same.
Remember when I made lemon ricotta pancakes because I was told there are no pancakes in London? Well, there are definitely pancakes in London, just not the way we’re used to. Here are my pieces of evidence. First, Ryan and I were watching the TV show Idiot Abroad (which stars a British guy) and he says something about “Pancake Wednesdays,” which means that must be a thing and so British people have pancakes. Second, I saw a commercial for Warburton’s pancakes; and you can watch it here. I don’t know where to find it in the grocery, but obviously it exists. Finally, the grocery store has all the ingredients you need, including maple syrup! So, I can definitely get pancakes. Now, as far as I can tell there’s no Aunt Jemima or Bisquick, but I’m pretty sure we can get over that because making them at home isn’t that hard.