When I decided to move to the UK at the wee age of 18, I knew it would be an adjustment. I’d been traveling internationally for the majority of my life, and I knew that with every new destination comes a whole culture to experience. Don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite parts of travel is the culinary exploration, BUT there is a big difference between a week of trading in your Chick-fil-a Chick-N-Minis for Turkish Börek and Baklava, compared to a four-year adjustment to life without crispy bacon (I’m still in a state of mourning and pretending it doesn’t cause cancer).
I get asked all the time by my family, friends and family friends what I miss most about home, and while my snugglemuffin cat hits the top of the list (shoutout to Venus), here it goes:
1. Cheap Sushi
Alright. This was the first thing that came to my mind and that says a lot considering it’s 35 degrees outside and definitely not spicy tuna roll weather. Wasabi is great, Nobu is great, but I mean COME ON, I miss my 10$ Bento boxes.
Corndogs can best be described by the expression ‘you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.’
My friends make SO much fun of me for being a child and always wanting Rootbeer, but it’s delicious OKAY? I will forever remember in Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Holiday in the Sun when that girl Keegan is offered a beer and she says ‘Ya, heavy on the root’ — so badass.
Give me guac, give me jalapeños, give me happiness. These come preferably from a truck and in a set of 3. The ones I have come across are usually made by a hipster in a t-shirt advertising something local, but don’t let that dissuade you.
I have a love for waffles…. Particularly when presented at 3 am on a Waffle House plate drenched in syrup with a side of hash browns (scattered, smothered, covered and chunked — obviously).
“Makes ya want a hot dog real bad.” — Legally Blonde
7. Kraft Mac and Cheese
Affectionately called ‘KD’ (aka Kraft Dinner) by my Canadian friends, this delightful (and somewhat plastic-y) symbol of American childhood is dearly missed.
8. Cheeseburgers (The bigger, the better)
I’m talking triple decker, layered with bacon, cheese, onion, peppers — the works. In Europe you can without a doubt find a cheeseburger, but they’re appropriately sized and can you know, fit in your hands. Who wants that?
9. Deep Dish Pizza
None of that Dominos nonsense… Cheesy, savory and damn delicious, this puts both a late night drunken grease-soaked slice and an authentic Italian stone baked Margarita to shame.
Cinnamon-spiced, warm, melt in your mouth goodness… All I can say is, thank goodness the holidays are quickly approaching.
Confession 1: I have an addiction to white cheddar Cheez-Its and I’m proud. Confession 2: I haven’t had them in months and I’m slowly dying. (I also may or may not be ordering them on Amazon Prime right now…)
13. Mexican Restaurants
Not to be confused with the hipster-run taco trucks or Chipotbae, the delightfully warm atmosphere of a Mexican restaurant — margaritas, enchiladas, chimichangas — cannot be beat.
14. Oysters Rockefeller
A slightly more pretentious item, these cheesy and creamy delicacies are melt-in-you-mouth delish.
We have a song in my family that I’ll just leave here: ‘Everything’s better with bacon, bacon is better with me. We die a little every day, so have a piece of bacon, what do you say?’
16. Chinese Takeout
My flatmates and I are really into the whole ‘acting like we’re old ladies at the age of 21‘ thing, which usually means staying in on weekends. Those fond makeup-free and Netflix-filled memories could only possibly be better with egg rolls, fried wontons, and chow mein.
17. Reuben Sandwiches
Sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and corned beef — a weird combo of ingredients, but what isn’t to love?
18. Apple Pie
It’s called the American Pie for a reason.
Chobani is like that really stylish friend that is always there for you and has a bomb-ass Instagram theme, but when they disappear from your everyday life it’s like a hole is missing.
20. In n Out
The Californian Classic — get it Animal Style, trust us.
21. Flavored Vodka
This is a double-edged sword from my formative years… Flavored vodka (holla at you, Burnetts) is great because you can chug it if you’re really looking to get turnt, but is bad because you know, it’s $5 vodka.
I remember my first year in the UK, I tried to get an iced coffee and it just didn’t exist. The barista looked at me like I had a huge American flag decorated ‘L’ on my forehead. What? How? Why? Help.
23. Baked Pretzels
When I think about middle school I remember a lot of things, like layered Abercrombie lace tanks and the Clique books. But nothing comes close to the memory of the Auntie Anne’s pretzel in my hands at the mall.
While we’re on this doughy-delicious roll (pardon the pun), it’s important to not forget the original love, bagels. I follow an embarrassing amount of food instagrams (you know the ones…) that always have these food-pornographic bagels stuffed to the brim with toppings. We have one place in my University town that sells bagels, and they come nowhere close to these.
So there you have it. If you’re a fellow student away abroad, I’m sorry that I’ve probably made your stomach growl more than a few times in this post. If you’re in the US, go away and go eat the delightful foods that I’ve been torn away from.