I’m a Brit who loves living in the USA! I’m very much an ex-jolly-hockey sticks Brit, who’s embraced the American lifestyle and to confirm this I now frequently don a cowboy hat and Daisy Dukes. I find myself saying ‘awesome’ a lot and I ask for the ‘check’ and not the ‘bill’. But…I also still say ‘brilliant’, and I confess to having Marmite stashed in the back of my cupboard, and I, of course, still spell certain words with a ‘u’. After all, it’s only been 18 months!
To be honest, I don’t miss that much about the UK because I’m having a bundle of fun discovering the USA – however, a strange sensation came over me just t’other day when I suddenly thought of fish ‘n’ chips British-chippy style – you know, with all the salt and vinegar squizzed all over them, and wrapped in newspaper, getting all soggy at the bottom as you sat and ate them watching the drizzle down the windscreen (not windshield, note!). And, even though I wasn’t one to partake in this traditional British fayre much back home, oooh, I tell you I could have got me chops right round a big old greasy bag of ‘em and wolfed the lot down there and then!
And this got me to thinking, what are the things that Brits really, really miss when they are in the USA?
Food, it appears, is very often top of the list. So, what do they hanker after; what do they get their relatives and friends to stash in their suitcases; what do they utterly long for and research online to find if it’s available in various British online stores over here, no matter what the shipping cost?
Well, I put the word out and the great folk of Smitten by Britain and other expat networks responded, and these are the findings.
The ‘What Brits Really Badly Miss’ List
1. Spotted Dick
‘All I think about sometimes is Spotted Dick in custard. I know they sell it on the shelves in some stores, but it’s not the same.’
‘Americans don’t understand about pudding. They can keep their pumpkin pie – it’s spotted dick all the way for me.’
2. Fish and chips
‘I’ve not found anywhere that makes them properly, dripping in batter and with vinegar. Why don’t they use vinegar properly here?’
‘I miss that smell of the chippy on a Friday night. The bag kept my hands warm on a cold night when I walked back home from the pub.’
‘I’ve tried the chocolate in America and it sucks. My whole family craves Dairy Milk and Galaxy. My friends know the list when they come over. It is very important to me!’
‘I need British chocolate. None of that Hershey stuff. Although I heard that Hershey’s have taken over Cadbury’s or something. Is nothing sacred?’
4. Roast dinners
‘Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. Nothing like it. I’ve tried to recreate it in the USA, but for some reason it doesn’t quite taste the same. Perhaps I need it to rain!’
‘Nothing beats a roast dinner Brit-style. You can keep your pulled pork and your cook outs. Roast dinner with the family – that’s the way to do it!’A Sunday roast dinner © Jeremy Keith via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)
‘I eventually found tea bags that were British out here. I’ve scoured many shelves. Lipton’s is not always the best choice, but sometimes it seems to be the only choice!’
‘Tea in a teapot and poured into china, Downton Abbey style! That’s what I miss. Not wham, bam, cup of hot tea with a lemon on the side.’A nice cup of tea © instructables.com
‘Weirdly enough going to the supermarket even made me miss home – I missed certain foods (especially bacon and scotch eggs.) I don’t like the ‘super convenience’ where you get fluid eggs in a box and everything is microwaveable.’
(For American readers, here’s a good explanation on the differences in cuts of bacon.)
Thank you to everyone who provided comments and quotes for this article. Not all of them have been used so far, so yours could pop up in the next few articles that I’ll be writing.
This is article is the first in a series of articles by me. I will also be focusing on many different subject matters for Smitten by Britain – some more serious, such as the emotional impact of moving from the UK to the USA, and how being a British expat in the USA has changed over time, as well as some more light-hearted British banter, like wot this is 😉
If you would like to send over comment and thoughts about anything to do with being a Brit in the USA, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!
Claire McGill is a British expat living in Maryland, which means she still drinks tea, but now has it with a corn muffin instead of a crumpet. Claire has two blogs – one which observes the amusing and confusing cultural differences between living in America and Britain (www.ukdesperatehousewifeusa.wordpress.com) and her fitness blog (www.fortyshadesoffitness.wordpress.com)