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View Full Version : Need Suggestions from our UK Friends!



Jack Parker
05-22-2013, 11:27 PM
I live in Minnesota, USA and have a friend in the UK who absolutely loves to cook. Cakes, curries, breads and foods from all over the world. She's done a fair bit of traveling, too.

As a thank you for all she does, I'd like to send her a care package from the U.S. Here in Minneapolis, we can buy certain products from the UK and I'm sure the reverse is true. I really want to make this care package unique with unexpected items.

Any suggestions of things I can send her that she might be hard pressed to find there? Are there any particular items that I definitely SHOULD and/or SHOULD NOT enclose? (Other than the obvious cold items like meat and cheeses.)

Feel free to recommend small kitchen gadgets or toys that might be nice to receive, too. What about spices?

Basically, any recommendations or MUST HAVES would be greatly appreciated!

Please let me know if you agree with the following things that have already been suggested by others on different forum:

Salt Water Taffy
Nutter Butter Cookies
Duncan Hines Cake Mixes (although she makes her own from scratch.)
Tinned Pumpkin
A good microwave popcorn (???)
Grits
Corn Meal or a good Corn Muffin Mix


From my time in Europe, I achingly miss a good chips and curry, curried Pringles and I'd trample my grandmother for some double cream!

Fran
05-23-2013, 12:10 AM
I'm in Scotland and this may not be true for the rest of the UK. Just giving my impressions.

We don't get a lot of your sweets (candy) here. Although I'm personally not a fan of American chocolate, your friend might be. Maple syrup costs a fortune here, if you can find it in the first place. We do have microwave popcorn but I don't eat popcorn so I can't say if it's any good or not. Tinned pumpkin isn't easy to find so that could be good.

If I think of anything else I'll come back. :D

cornflake
05-23-2013, 12:20 AM
Why would you send a boxed cake mix to someone who likes to bake? Just for the gross-out factor? I'm guessing so, based on the Nutter Butters, heh.

I'd go native candy - it's the most-often sought little weird thing on both sides of the pond, in my experience. I'd collect a big bunch of single-serve bars and packs of things that aren't there. Maybe some American-type jam, like a Maine blueberry or something gross like pineapple.

As to the double cream, do they not have it anyplace by you? It's in the market down the street from me.

Oh and here (http://www.englishteastore.com/dodecr6oz.html), on the Internets.

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 12:52 AM
Why would you send a boxed cake mix to someone who likes to bake? Just for the gross-out factor? I'm guessing so, based on the Nutter Butters, heh.

I'd go native candy - it's the most-often sought little weird thing on both sides of the pond, in my experience. I'd collect a big bunch of single-serve bars and packs of things that aren't there. Maybe some American-type jam, like a Maine blueberry or something gross like pineapple.

As to the double cream, do they not have it anyplace by you? It's in the market down the street from me.

Oh and here (http://www.englishteastore.com/dodecr6oz.html), on the Internets.

Regarding the Duncan Hines cake mix, it was recommended by a British user of another forum. She said that brand is desirable but not found in the UK. She said even if my friend makes cakes from scratch, it's nice to have the boxed mix on hand for quickness or to give to a friend or neighbor.

As for the Nutter Butters... it was another of her suggestions. She said her friends like them. I love PG Tips tea from the UK but I know many Brits who think it's AWFUL. Taste is in the tongue of the beholder.

In Minneapolis, I can't find double cream to save my life. There's no way I'd order a perishable from online. I just wouldn't trust it. But, I'm finicky that way.

I think I have the candy and sweets portion of the care package taken care of. Hopefully, I can get some great suggestions for other things!

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 12:54 AM
I'm in Scotland and this may not be true for the rest of the UK. Just giving my impressions.

We don't get a lot of your sweets (candy) here. Although I'm personally not a fan of American chocolate, your friend might be. Maple syrup costs a fortune here, if you can find it in the first place. We do have microwave popcorn but I don't eat popcorn so I can't say if it's any good or not. Tinned pumpkin isn't easy to find so that could be good.

If I think of anything else I'll come back. :D

American chocolate doesn't come close to European chocolate. I learned that first hand when I was there so I won't be sending any chocolates! I have a few other sweets in mind but I know my friend isn't big on a lot of sweets.

Thanks for the help!

mirandashell
05-23-2013, 12:56 AM
There is an apple jam in America that I didn't think we get here. As your friend likes to make cake, that could come in useful.

KVL
05-23-2013, 01:26 AM
Any suggestions of things I can send her that she might be hard pressed to find there?

A big jar of apple sauce, maybe the kind with a bit of cinnamon added.
Girl Scout cookies.
Graham crackers for S'mores.
They sell Oreos over here but I've never seen the specialized ones (double, mint, etc).
Too bad you can't include an It's It :) Maybe a moon pie?
Pancake mix/Bisquick. Over here the pancakes are more like crepes. +1 to the maple syrup suggestion.

There's a place in Brighton that sells American stuff but at fairly hefty prices. It's nice of you to send a care package :) I'm an expat and, while I'm used to grocery shopping in the UK, sometimes I pause and wish they stocked certain things. Like eggnog.

Forlorn-ember
05-23-2013, 01:34 AM
I love PG Tips tea from the UK but I know many Brits who think it's AWFUL.
Oh no, it has to be PG Tips. Has to!
I don't know many Brits that like american sweets, we can buy them here in sweets from heaven shops but they cost a fortune. Why are they sugarless? They taste sugarless.
From what I've seen around my area, we're getting a lot more american food. My local Asda has whole aisle devoted to the things. Although they still only sell four of the pop-tart flavours, some of the more outlandish ones are missing.

Fran
05-23-2013, 01:37 AM
I'm an expat and, while I'm used to grocery shopping in the UK, sometimes I pause and wish they stocked certain things. Like eggnog.

Yeah, we don't do eggnog over here.

I can't believe you can't find double cream in Minnesota. I'm never going anywhere that doesn't have double cream. :tongue

Fran
05-23-2013, 01:38 AM
From what I've seen around my area, we're getting a lot more american food. My local Asda has whole aisle devoted to the things. Although they still only sell four of the pop-tart flavours, some of the more outlandish ones are missing.

I saw squirty cheese in Tesco the other day. That's one American import I think we could have lived without.

mirandashell
05-23-2013, 01:41 AM
No such thing as squirty cheese. It's squirty yella stuff. But it's not even the second cousin four times removed of cheese.

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 01:42 AM
There is an apple jam in America that I didn't think we get here. As your friend likes to make cake, that could come in useful.

Great idea! She has several apple trees in her back yard and makes her own apple jam and apple butter every year. I could use your idea though and send her some pumpkin butter.

mirandashell
05-23-2013, 01:44 AM
I didn't know anyone here even knew what apple butter is! LOL! Fair enough.


<boy your friend is tough to shop for!>

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 01:50 AM
Oh no, it has to be PG Tips. Has to!
I don't know many Brits that like american sweets, we can buy them here in sweets from heaven shops but they cost a fortune. Why are they sugarless? They taste sugarless.
From what I've seen around my area, we're getting a lot more american food. My local Asda has whole aisle devoted to the things. Although they still only sell four of the pop-tart flavours, some of the more outlandish ones are missing.

Truly, American candy, chocolate specifically, is not nearly as good as European sweets. I hear a lot of Brits like Twizzlers and Skittles, though. Either way, I think I have the sweets covered. Just have to come up with a few more non-sweet food items and perhaps a non-food item.

Pop Tarts? Ugh. I've never liked them. Even as a kid. I know many Europeans and Australians who are FASCINATED by them but... no. LOL

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 01:52 AM
I didn't know anyone here even knew what apple butter is! LOL! Fair enough.


<boy your friend is tough to shop for!>

She IS tough to shop for. She'd never tell me if she wanted anything specifically and she's been EVERYWHERE.

At some point I'm going to have to think about postage! Especially with grits, cornmeal and tinned pumpkin. Yikes!

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 02:00 AM
A big jar of apple sauce, maybe the kind with a bit of cinnamon added.
Girl Scout cookies.
Graham crackers for S'mores.
They sell Oreos over here but I've never seen the specialized ones (double, mint, etc).
Too bad you can't include an It's It :) Maybe a moon pie?
Pancake mix/Bisquick. Over here the pancakes are more like crepes. +1 to the maple syrup suggestion.

There's a place in Brighton that sells American stuff but at fairly hefty prices. It's nice of you to send a care package :) I'm an expat and, while I'm used to grocery shopping in the UK, sometimes I pause and wish they stocked certain things. Like eggnog.

Thanks for the suggestions!

She makes her own applesauce. I don't know any girl scouts. Your moon pie suggestion gave me a GREAT IDEA! I'll send her a "Cow Patty" ;)

Since Bisquick is just flour, salt, shortening and baking powder, I won't send that but I'll toss in some maple syrup. (This package is getting heavier and heavier!)

I'll do my best to post a photo of the care package here in a few days, once I have it together.

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 02:09 AM
Yeah, we don't do eggnog over here.

I can't believe you can't find double cream in Minnesota. I'm never going anywhere that doesn't have double cream. :tongue

Raw cream is extremely rare in the US, because most states ban the sale of raw milk and cream. The breeds of cow that make the fattiest milk are generally not that common in the US. American dairy herds have mostly been bred for volume, not butterfat.

Ultrapasteurized (and stabilizer-enhanced...cough) cream is, sadly, the norm in US supermarkets because it's more shelf-stable, and frankly most Americans use it for purposes where they cannot tell the difference.

We're lucky enough to have Creme Fraiche and Clotted Cream (at a very heavy price) but not double cream.

Do to ridiculous US restrictions, you simply will not find real double cream for sale in the US (legally).

frimble3
05-23-2013, 08:29 AM
How about wild rice? That's a Minnesota thing, isn't it?
Have you checked the regulations on importing food products into Britain? If importing fresh stuff is okay, I'd go with dried wild rice, and maybe hot chili peppers. If importing meat/fish is okay, are there any tinned local fish that she wouldn't have tried? Smoked, maybe? I doubt that there's any way to send her some buffalo or elk meat.

(For yourself, I don't know where you are in Minneapolis, but apparently in St. Paul there is a place called Anchor Fish and Chips that does chips in curry sauce. And mushy peas, as well.)

And, I can't think of any idea as good as grits, the kind of thing we non-Americans read about, hear about, but seldom get a chance to try.

cornflake
05-23-2013, 08:59 AM
When I saw the apple jam suggestion I thought apple butter, as I've never seen it in the UK and never met any European wasn't all 'apple what now?' when seeing it here. Beaten to the punch by the box though, and she's already had it.

You might look for, especially as it's lighter, local cookbooks. There are tons of little local cookbook things, usually put out for fundraisers or such. Like sold by some local org. of hot dish recipes, or a cookbook from New England with really traditional stuff like Johnnycake recipes.

Obviously, she can find recipes online, but if it's stuff she's never heard of, she wouldn't likely think to look, and the more local and non-particularly-ethnic, the less likely she'd have run across it in general, I'd think.

You could put in weird teas - to go with the Nutter Butters (yes, of course tastes differ but ... they're Nutter Butters. Heh. Also, just as simple to make a cake from scratch to me, and I'd never touch a mix, as I like to bake. I know plenty of people who use them but they're people who don't like to bake, that's why I thought it was for the 'lookit! Ew!' factor.) Like some of the weirdo Celestial Seasonings things or similar - the oddly-flavoured things. They might be fun to play with or pass around and they don't weigh but anything.

Oh, also, if she likes to read, might chuck in some American novels that deal with cooking of her bent. There are some mystery series that have chefs or caterers as the investigators, like Diane Mott Davidson and some other, that have lots of cooking within and recipes, and lots of straight novels that do. Or a Ruth Reichl book or something like that.

cornflake
05-23-2013, 09:58 AM
Oh, also peanut butter - and/or weird peanut butters.

Jack Parker
05-23-2013, 10:07 PM
When I saw the apple jam suggestion I thought apple butter, as I've never seen it in the UK and never met any European wasn't all 'apple what now?' when seeing it here. Beaten to the punch by the box though, and she's already had it.

You might look for, especially as it's lighter, local cookbooks. There are tons of little local cookbook things, usually put out for fundraisers or such. Like sold by some local org. of hot dish recipes, or a cookbook from New England with really traditional stuff like Johnnycake recipes.

Obviously, she can find recipes online, but if it's stuff she's never heard of, she wouldn't likely think to look, and the more local and non-particularly-ethnic, the less likely she'd have run across it in general, I'd think.

You could put in weird teas - to go with the Nutter Butters (yes, of course tastes differ but ... they're Nutter Butters. Heh. Also, just as simple to make a cake from scratch to me, and I'd never touch a mix, as I like to bake. I know plenty of people who use them but they're people who don't like to bake, that's why I thought it was for the 'lookit! Ew!' factor.) Like some of the weirdo Celestial Seasonings things or similar - the oddly-flavoured things. They might be fun to play with or pass around and they don't weigh but anything.

Oh, also, if she likes to read, might chuck in some American novels that deal with cooking of her bent. There are some mystery series that have chefs or caterers as the investigators, like Diane Mott Davidson and some other, that have lots of cooking within and recipes, and lots of straight novels that do. Or a Ruth Reichl book or something like that.


Oh, also peanut butter - and/or weird peanut butters.

Do you know how much I love you right now? :e2arms: You gave me some good ideas!

The apple butter is something she makes already... as well as her jams. She has a massive garden where she grows all kinds of berries, apples, rhubarb, etc.,

I think a local cookbook is a GREAT idea! So is a novel. I read/write cozy mysteries and so many of them are foodie based! The two I'm reading right now are Pies and Prejudice and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I think a cozy mystery is a PERFECT addition, along with the cookbook!

And your suggestion of different flavored teas is perfect. I'm still undecided about the Nutter Butters, though. I personally don't care for them but I'm not sure how loved peanut butter flavored things are in the UK. Along that line, though, I'm definitely sending her some Cookie Butter with has a gingerbread like flavor with crushed Speculous biscuits in it. It's incredible and makes a great cheesecake! The assortment of cookies I could send her to experiment with for bases for her cheesecakes is almost endless, too.

When it comes to sweets, I'm going with your suggestion and sending her the odd and unusual stuff. Cow Patties, for one! And a couple of locally made candy bars like Nut Goodies and Salted Nut Rolls.

Thanks so much!

Fran
05-23-2013, 10:34 PM
I personally don't care for them but I'm not sure how loved peanut butter flavored things are in the UK.

Peanut butter's fairly popular, although you'd have a harder time finding a Brit who'd eat it in a sandwich with jam. :D

Mr Flibble
05-24-2013, 12:48 AM
I'm definitely sending her some Cookie Butter with has a gingerbread like flavor with crushed Speculous biscuits in it.

Okay, now I'm drooling. FWIW peanut butter seems pretty popular, but as Fran says, not with jam.

FerrisW
05-24-2013, 05:02 AM
How about Marshmallow fluff? I used to spend ages when I lived in the UK hunting the stuff down in specialty sweet shops- it's great if you enjoy baking (salted caramel rice crispie treats wouldn't be the same without it!). Also, if she likes mexican style food, dried/tinned chillies/tomatillos etc could be good- I could never find those in the supermarkets. Likewise with grits and hominy. Tinned pumpkin is also a great idea!

Also, since she loves to cook, why not put together a little recipe book for her, with your favourite American foods that can be made from common ingredients- that way she gets the pleasure of enjoying something you enjoy, as well as the pleasure of cooking it?

Shakesbear
05-24-2013, 09:48 AM
You might want to check out this site http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/customs/banned-restricted.htm

to make sure that the food will get past HMRC.

Billytwice
05-09-2014, 03:46 AM
American chewing baccy... I love the stuff.
It's gross and disgusting and so very nice.

Mary Thornell
06-20-2014, 11:33 PM
Dont know if the author of this thread is still looking for tips, but I was curious to know if youre looking for things specifically Minnesotan to send or just American in general? I live in Texas, but I have put together a few care packages for international friends I have. Might I suggest a can (or two) of Rotel Tomatoes (original) and a box of Velveeta? Don't know how well the Velveeta will travel, and yes it has the look of government cheese and the consistency of Elmer's glue, but combined with Rotel Tomatoes it makes AWESOME queso. I think genuine maple syrup would be an awesome item to include as well.

Billytwice - you mean BEEF JERKY??? lol