Choking on the sweet taste of high fructose freedom

21 May

A weird thing is happening. The other day my friend asked me what American foods I miss when I’m in London and I struggled to think of something. My usual answers are sweet gherkin pickles, neon orange cheese, tater tots, Twizzlers and Good ‘N Plenties. But I’ve been back in the U.S. for almost a month now and I have not eaten a single tater tot dipped in neon orange cheese, and worse, never felt the need to. A couple days ago we went to Cici’s Pizza buffet for lunch and then I ate half a box of Good ‘N Plenties and half a bag of Twizzler Bites while at the movies and woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick.

“Your stomach isn’t American anymore!” my friend joked when I texted her. I laughed and made a freedom joke, but couldn’t help but wonder (a la Carrie Bradshaw) — was it true? Can my body no longer handle immense amounts of high fructose corn syrup and bacon ranch pizza? I stocked up on Quest and Pure Protein bars to bring back to London since they’re so much cheaper here, but that may be the only American food I bring back.

I’ve also noticed things taste different here — the butter, cottage cheese, Cadbury eggs. Shouldn’t it be the other way around — American is normal and British food is “weird”? Between my stomach issues, resistance to make small talk with neighbors and fellow grocery shoppers, and the fact that I understood that “cheeky Nandos” post that made the rounds on Tumblr and Buzzfeed, I fear I’m becoming more British than I ever thought. I almost feel like I need to go buy a gun at Walmart and take it to the shooting range that just opened up on Mall Road or they may take my U.S. citizenship away. (I’m kidding, if I die having never shot a gun I think I’ll be OK with that, even if it makes me less ‘Murican.)

You know what else I miss about London? Toilet paper. Yes, this is a real issue I’m choosing to blog about. I cannot find a brand of American toilet paper I like. They’re all either too flimsy or too cushiony. In the UK I like several generic brands as well as Andrex. Andrex is the sister company of Cottonelle — they both advertise with those adorable puppies. Yet Cottonelle here has these weird stupid “clean ripples.” I don’t want ripples, quilts, or flower designs, I want simple TP with the perfect balance of softness and strength. This, basically:

andrex toilet paperI may just have to throw some Andrex in my suitcase next to the Cadbury and tea on my next trip back.

And just in case you get the wrong idea, I am really enjoying my time in the US. If the only things I can complain about are toilet paper and ODing on candy, things are going pretty swell. I’ll close things out with a dog floating in space:

space dog


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