The American food aisle

Since The Boy and I decided to see if we can eat mostly locally grown & seasonal food, we’ve been buying our groceries at the farmers market every weekend. Visits to the shop have been limited; I usually pop in to buy essentials like Doritos or hand soap.

But the other day I needed some parchment paper for baking and a couple of other things so I went on a more leisurely visit to the store. I was just talking a little stroll down the chocolate aisle, which I always do even if I won’t buy any, when it caught my eye: The American food aisle! It was new, it was shiny, it was full of mysterious and intriguing food from across the pond.

I feel perfectly at home at the Asian or Mexican or Continental aisles. However American products really feel quite foreign. A lot of things I recognised from watching american tv shows and films. Especially Gilmore Girls. I think that show was my main form of education on junk food. But I had never seen these foodsย before and I have certainly never tasted them. Like Milk Duds and Tootsie Rolls.

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Macaroni and Cheese! I’ve only ever had the posh, english-ised versions at gastropubs, never the original.

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Who knew M&M’s came in such varied flavours?

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Some items were more obscure, like Crisco. I remember having a conversation ย with Trish on Twitter about this mysterious substance some time ago but I’m still not sure what it is.

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What’s cornmeal?

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What are these?

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What about Marshmallow Fluff? What do people use it for? I only ever have marshmallows in hot chocolate or as a special addition to these Chocolate Chip Cookies. But this looks like marshmallow spread. Do people have it on toast? Like Nutella?

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So many questions!

Then I saw the cereal boxes and all the different flavours of Pop Tarts! So much candy handily disguised as breakfast food that I was hyperventilating.

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I spent a lot of time just picking up various items, feeling excited when I recognised something. I’m weird, I know. This discovery was such a surprise; I actually didn’t buy any of these American goodies because I was so overwhelmed. But I think I’ll return soon. I’d like to try the Kraft Mac and Cheese. Perhaps some Hershey’s chocolate, even though I’ve heard that american chocolate bars can taste a bit funny to european palates. I think my weakness will be the Pop Tarts.

Do you have any favourites? Have you tried any of these mysterious foods? Do you often try mysterious food from other parts of the world?

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10 thoughts on “The American food aisle

  1. jama says:

    How interesting to hear your initial reactions to these foods! If you’re into fresh, seasonal and local (and healthy), you’d probably not like the Mac and Cheese or the sugary cereals.

    For years and years, Crisco was the staple to use for baking pie crusts, but recently people have been staying away from it because it has bad trans fats (the FDA is now working to ban trans fats from all American foods).

    Marshmallow Fluff is often used with peanut butter for sandwiches (in lieu of jelly or jam). My husband liked it when he was little.

    I grew up on those chocolates. Always had to have Milk Duds when I went to the movies, loved Tootsie Rolls for Halloween, and M&M’s anytime. But I rarely eat any of them now, preferring high cacao content dark chocolates.

    Pop Tarts are kind of a guilty pleasure. I like the brown sugar cinnamon the best. Not much nutrition to them, but they’re convenient. Rarely eat them anymore, but I did eat them for breakfast for many years.

    It would be fun for you to try any of these things, just out of curiosity. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • bookworm says:

      Yup I’m really curious to try some of these mysterious collections of chemicals. I suspect a lot are more geared towards children’s tastes so I wouldn’t necessarily like them but I’d like to try.

  2. Pogue says:

    Don’t eat Tootsie Rolls, that is unless you like waxy flavored chocolate. Never did like those things. Milk Duds have caramel in them so they are ok. As for the Fluffy stuff it is like sugar on a stick, I have only ever used marshmallow cream for making fudge.

    Stick with the local seasonal you will be much better off.

    • bookworm says:

      I know, you are right. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this kind of refined sugars and artificial ingredients are very bad for you. They would never form a large part of my diet but I’m curious just to try some. Maybe the Milk Duds…

  3. Charlie says:

    Nerds used to be around in the 90s here, but they seem to be slowly making a comeback. Otherwise, I feel exactly the same, American food seems very foreign! Yet you’d think with all the mentions in books, films, etc, we’d have a clue… I guess when it isn’t actually there to see in front of you it’s just too different.

    I always liked Jolly Rancher sweets as a child and finally they’ve made an appearance again. They’re different, but still good.

  4. Jackie {York Avenue} says:

    It’s so funny to read this post and see that someone would find these ordinary-to-me foods to be foreign and novel! I would say consider yourself lucky that these are foreign to you, as most of them are examples of how bad/unhealthy the food industry is in the United States. Cornmeal isn’t too bad though, it’s got a consistency like flour (but a little grainier) and is used to make cornbread and corn muffins. Nerds are just little tiny pebble-shaped candies-actually I love those, even those they’re just artificial junk. And the mac and cheese you get at pubs is likely to be a million times better than that junk in the box-not good stuff. Love this post though, so cute!

  5. Trish says:

    I’m dying at this post! And also a bit embarrassed. Or a lot embarrassed. Though I do love Butterfinger candy bars. And twix. Not big on tootsie rolls. I also love nerds. With those, though, it’s basically eating sugar sugar. I don’t keep crisco in my house because I never use it, but I think it’s basically grease (this is apparently a must for southern fried chicken).

    Don’t waste your time on the Mac and Cheese. Though I do love poptarts. I try not to eat them, though, as they are high high calorie for just one in a package.

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