Monday, April 25, 2011

Foods We Miss the Most in America

One of the biggest differences that we've noticed in living in Germany this time is that we're not so strapped for food options as we were 8 years ago.  Maybe it's because we were living in such a small village the last time that they grocery stores just had fewer options, or maybe Germany is catching up to having more American-style food available in stores.  Either way, we've been pleased with what's available; however, there are still several items we find ourselves craving. 

Kraft Mac n Cheese - This is always at the top of the list of things we ask people to bring when the come to visit. If you are coming to visit us, it's very likely that you will get an email beforehand saying something like, "We can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks, but you are only welcome here if you bring us 5 boxes of mac of cheese. Seriously.  Love, Dana"
It appears that we are ready for some more visitors as we just ate our last box yesterday.

Wendy's / Five Guys (aka: hamburgers) - Germany hasn't really figured out how to make a good hamburger yet.  Yes, our town has a McDonald's, which tastes the same everywhere in the world, but regular restaurants really don't make the grade.  Bryan is really hankering for a Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and I am dying for a Five Guys Burgers and Fries cheeseburger.
Ever wonder why Americans are overweight?

Cheddar cheese - The best of all the cheeses is nowhere to be found (for a reasonable price) here in Deutschland.  I have no idea why this cheese has not gained popularity here in the land of Munster and Gouda, but these Germans missing out!  The only cheddar cheese I can find in the stores is Irish Cheddar Slices - so for 1.99 Euros, I can get 5 measly slices of cheddar cheese, barely enough to sate my craving.

Chips + cheese - One of our favorite snacks to make in America was tortilla chips smothered in shredded cheddar cheese and microwaved to melted perfection.  But, natural flavored tortilla chips are hard to come by and cheddar cheese (nonetheless, shredded cheddar cheese) is impossible.

Papa John's Pizza - The Germans have not figured out how to properly do delivery pizza.  The crust is not doughy, the sauce isn't very flavorful and the cheese isn't very cheesy.  If you're looking for a peperoni pizza and order it with "peperoni," your pizza will come with green and red peppers.  The correct toppings to order here is "salami" if you want an American-style peperoni pizza.  If you're not careful and don't know your food vocabulary, you can also get some crazy toppings that don't really work on pizza - like tuna-fish, canned peas and carrots, and shrimp.  We've learned the hard way.
This is how a pizza is supposed to look.

Bagels - Oh, how I miss "Everything Bagels" loaded with plain cream cheese.  The cream cheese I can get here, but the bagels are just plain gross.  Only 1 grocery store in town has bagels and they usually taste stale and flavorless.  Can we please get a Bagel Shop here?

Cheerios - Germans are not into cereal.  A typical German breakfast is a crusty bread roll with cold cuts and cheese and a hard boiled egg, so it's no surprise that they cereal selection here is really lacking.  I find it surprising that in our little town I can find Cinnamon Toast Crunch but no Cheerios.  Our store carries about 6-8 different kinds of cereal total.  I told one of my friends here that the cereal selection at an American grocery store fills both sides of a store-length isle and she couldn't even wrap her head around how there could possibly be that many types to choose from.

Anything Mexican - No surprise that good Mexican food is hard to come by in Germany.  There is an over-priced Mexican Restaurant in town, but it really doesn't compare to the authentic Mexican food we could get at La Nopalera or Los Toros in Jacksonville.  Even a Moe's or Sierra Grill would be a huge improvement from what's available.

Honorable Mention: Buffalo Chicken Wings and Ben + Jerry's Ice Cream - This is honorable mention because ironically about a 25 minute bike ride from our house is a restaurant called The Daytona Roadhouse Bar and Grill, which is actually modeled after roadhouse-style restaurants in Daytona Beach, Florida and they serve plenty of chicken wings.  Their buffalo sauce doesn't have a lot of "kick" to it, but since we can actually get this nearby, it only received honorable mention.  This same restaurant has a mini-fridge stocked with Ben + Jerry's single-serve ice cream cups.

There is, however, some great food here in Germany and we are definitely not starving.  And, all of the foods that we miss the most aren't exactly good for us, so maybe it's a good thing to have a break from them.  Here are some German food highlights, in pictures:

Currywurst and Brotchen (bread). 

Doner's.  We still don't know why these haven't caught on yet in America. Bryan's not promoting world peace in this photo - he's actually eating his second doner in a row. 

Bratwursts.  Currywurst's bald brother.  1/2 meter (19 inches) of heaven.

Daytona Roadhouse.  Satisfying at least two of our cravings. 
As you can clearly see from this picture, ice cream is really good here, but it's no Ben and Jerry's. 


Laurel said...

Great list and now I'm really missing Kraft Dinner. I really miss root beer, ripple chips and tiger icecream. Why is it that it's all the junk food that we seem to miss?

Dana said...

Oh, I should definitely add root beer to the list. Now I really want a root beer float!

Maggie said...

I really enjoyed your post! Please explain Donor's. It looks like a pita sandwich from the picture. Or is it a pretzel dough? Thanks!

Dana said...

Hi Maggie! A doner is a Turkish Gyro. The bread is more like toasted sourdough than pita, and the meat is very similar to Greek gyro meat. Topped with onions, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, a banana pepper and some garlic-dill tzaziki sauce - soooo yummy (and filling)!
Thanks for reading our blog!