England Trip: Grocery Stores

OK… so if you read my blog… or my FB… or Twitter… or know me at all… you know that I’m pretty much About the Food.  What you may not know is that along with the whole menu-ing thing is the Grocery Shopping thing.  We do Grocery Shopping basically every Sunday, generally With the kids.  My kids have always gone to the grocery store with me – it is a bit of a tradition and … well, frequently quite fun.  Someone once stopped us and said, “No One should have that much fun grocery shopping.”  I LOVE going to the grocery store… just seeing what’s new, getting ideas, feeling inspired… truly one of my favorite things to do so… what else would I do but visit grocery stores in England and take pictures! (My Heart is a Very Patient Man!) Here we go:
Chips in the states are called Crisps in the UK… and they have some great flavors.  It seems that Walkers is one of the most popular brands – I managed to try a few.  The Roast chicken wasn’t bad but I was hoping for a “Chicken in a Biskit” flavor.  The flavors were unique but I still prefer our kettle cooked chips (crisps).
There were some pretty good sections for Mexican food (my Heart’s favorite food)… I think that actually may have increased even since my daughter was here three years ago.  I was able to find most of the ingredients that I needed for cooking Mexican, which we did a couple times while we were visiting.

Chef Gordon Ramsey has lots of stuff (mixes and the lot) on the shelves… I took a picture of these because they are also supporting “Red Nose Day” and raise money for Comic Relief.  It just made me smile.


And… what the heck is “fruity brown sauce”??  … nope… I wouldn’t buy it.

This picture was basically to tease my kids – I brought back Two 36-pack boxes of Jaffa Cakes for them… their only request!


I think their takeaway (or carry away, as they say there) foods are more interesting (you will see more pictures below).

Gammon steaks (or ham) are very popular and served in most of the pubs with eggs (you will see pictures in the What We Ate blog)

I once asked my Heart what they called “English muffins” in England… his answer, after staring at me for a moment, “Muffins”.  YUP… Muffins! *smile*

And… I have no idea why most of the chocolate chip cookies are call “Maryland Chocolate Chip“.  weird
Marmite cashews… no I didn’t try them.  These shots were in a convenience (i.e. 7-11) shop – I love all the different pasties
Another favorite, pork pies.  If we could have figured out how to bring some home, my son would have been thrilled. So, one of our next cooking projects… making pork pies.

Bisto is a staple in our kitchen for making gravy… who knew that there were so many varieties though.  We brought home a BIG canister of the standard beef flavor but I also bought a small canister of the onion flavor.

Lots and lots of varieties of good cheeses.  In a standard U.S. grocery store you can get the cheddar, swiss, etc. but if you want brie or blues or anything exotic you frequently have to go to an Upscale store.  They had a great selection of cheeses even in the corner market.
Also, I wish it was easier to buy smaller containers of milk. I like having cereal at work but don’t want a quart in
the fridge… this would be so much more convenient but many grocery stores don’t carry pint bottles anymore.
Little known fact, I Love Pâté… seriously.  We are lucky… the grocery store we normally go to has at least one and maybe, on a good day, Two varieties of Pâté… in England – wow… a big selection!  This will come up again in the What We Ate blog because my Heart’s mom makes her own!!  Also on our cooking To Do List !!
They had lots of little “personal” melons, including watermelons – they are just cute.
Their carrots are … stumpier?  They are shorter and thicker than ours 95% of the time.
There were all varieties of Fishcakes – I think this has to make it to our Cooking Projects list too… they sounded good.
I was warned about this one by my kids but… they sell their eggs in the standard aisles, on the shelves.. not refrigerated.  Weird!  I did like “happy eggs” though.
They do have bagels, although they don’t look quite as good as ours… that could be said basically anywhere outside of the Northern U.S. (NY / NJ / MD / Etc.)
I did buy the Prawn crackers… basically shrimp chips – there were good!
Now there are American brands in the UK.  The Doritos are bags of of littler bags – this is a very popular packaging method for chips.  I didn’t see any just BIG bags of Doritos
And they have “American brands” BUT they don’t always have the same products that we have, i.e. Uncle Ben’s & Kellogg’s.  And Nestle, if you are listening… bring Shreddies to the U.S… they are one of my Heart’s favorites and we brought back a BIG box. (they are like wheat chex but malted… they do taste distinctly different).
The pastries were very tempting.
Their bacon is really different from ours… the bacon closest to ours is “streaky bacon”.  I thought it was more like ham and, actually, I liked it a lot (I know I will catch grief from my daughter for that comment… she is an American bacon fan!)
Another Me-Fact… I drink hard cider.  I don’t drink beer much because of the gluten-thing and, fortunately, I really like cider.  They have Tons of ciders there… it was great.  Also, I gather the “west country” is where cider comes from and is always where we spent a lot of our time so I was able to try some great and unique ciders.  But… I loved just how many choices there were in the grocery store.  General Fact: If you order CIDER in the UK it WILL be Hard Cider (alcoholic).  We have a funny story of my Heart’s sister & her husband bringing home cider in Maine to have with dinner and being VERY surprised (& disappointed) that it was basically Apple Juice – their response? “Why bother?”  *smile*
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Definitely some American brands..
…in the beer aisle too!
The deli sections were very nice and always included pork pies (left pic – upper right corner)
The fish section was also very nice in every store we went to. Slightly different varieties than we have.
I would totally have bought these mini meatballs.
I don’t know that the takeaway sections were more extensive than ours – perhaps I just don’t look, but they sure seemed to be… with great choices… They are “Chinese BBQ” thighs.
Sandwich section – see where it says “prawn mayonnaise”.. that would be shrimp salad here.  Again, I was warned about that one by my daughter. Egg salad is “egg mayonnaise”.  Egg is also a really popular ingredient here.. the egg in these are fried, not hard boiled
The baby avocados were cute but it was definitely difficult to get good avocados anywhere.
There was also, like the cheese, etc., a large selection of sausages.  I would have tried them all!
Ready-made Trifle… it looked pretty good.
All sorts of puddings that are also candy brands: Aero / Rollo.  Also.. to clarify – in the states “pudding” is a smooth spoonable dessert frequently made with milk – in the UK “pudding” is basically Dessert… technically in the UK “pudding” means a “cake”-type dish but in the vernacular it generally just means dessert. Totally confused me in the beginning of our relationship – would be asked if I would like pudding and would get: cheese & fruit, cookies, ice cream, etc.
Packaged soups – really cool flavors.
One of my son’s favorites – Scotch Eggs… a perfect Protein kick-starter in the morning.  We bought these a couple times just to eat on the road when we were going a distance but not far enough or long enough to stop for an actual meal (or wanted to wait until we got to where we were going but were hungry – Yum!)  This has been on of my son’s cooking projects this spring.
There were almost always Cornish pasties available.  Also a cooking project – so excited because my Heart’s mom gave us her recipe!

Again cheeses – I took this picture because my Heart uses both of these in his Chicken with Emmental Cheese, on of my daughter’s favorite dinners.  The emmental is so hard to find here and is expensive… not so in England.

Loved the stews.. Beef & Ale sounds yummy!
OK – I have NO idea why these are American-style hot dogs.. they are in a CAN! Ewwww!
An interesting popular quick meal here: spaghetti on toasts… yup, exactly what it sounds like.
We will go into English breakfast (the Fry Up) in a later blog (all the pictures of What We Ate) but… they serve “baked beans” with breakfast. Also, another
quick dinner: beans on toasts.  Again… I have no clue but I am a fan of that one – especially when it is served with eggs!
I liked the different soups and Broccoli & Stilton sounds delicious.
I do like the ethnic varieties in their take-away foods – satay & samosas are common in most grocery stores… not just the gourmet, fancy stores.
Look: CHUNKY Maryland cookies… ???
This one is for the kids – MINI Jaffa Cakes… sorry I didn’t buy you any!
This made me laugh – ONE variety of Pop-Tarts. Seriously!
OK, and the tiniest bags of Tortilla chips I have EVER seen.  We made guacamole for everyone one evening (also coming in the What We Ate blog)… had to buy Six of these tiny little bags!
For my son’s GF – Look, a Hello Kitty Cake!
And for my Heart, who is a huge fan of Top Gear tv series – The Stig cake
I totally would have bought these, although the bakery ones were better!  I really like Bakewell tarts.
These little apple pies were just adorable.
They totally sell little pancakes in the bakery section…
And, again – Eggs just in the aisle. So weird.

Rusks are good for teething babies but also good broken up as cereal?  Uh… like breakfast cookies.

And the BIGGEST box of PG Tips (my Heart’s preferred tea) – we brought back two large (smaller than this one – they were on sale) boxes!


Next Up: What We Ate (with a few exceptions)










1 comment for “England Trip: Grocery Stores

  1. Ann A
    June 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Totally love the pictures! I thought I was the only one who wanted to check out EVERYTHING in the stores. I’ll have to spend some time perusing the shelves on my next trip.

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