Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Scottish Grocery Experience

For awhile now, I’ve been wanting to do a post about Scottish grocery stores and the funny items that can be found there. When April visited, one of her favorite things was just tagging along on my daily errands, checking out the differences between malls and groceries stores in the US vs the UK. Sometimes I feel like the biggest cultural differences between our two countries are most evident when shopping for food. 

For instance, portion sizes. If you buy a box of Ritz crackers in the States, it comes in a large box consisting of individually packaged tubes and has the potential to last you all month. Here in Scotland, it's always on our weekly grocery list because they come in small boxes and all the crackers are thrown together into one plastic bag. 
And good luck finding a 12 pack of soda. Everything comes in 6 packs here. But that's just one example of the differences. 

 Trying to encapsulate the Scottish grocery experience in one post would be darn near impossible, so I’ve decided to make it a recurring segment. I’ll feature quirky Scottish food items, American substitutes, and general insights into shopping for food in Aberdeen. I wanted to start today by touching on some of the great finds that I purchased this week. A new item in stock is seriously cause for celebration, and it’s been quite the celebratory week. 

Because I have been gone for 3 weeks and the pantry was completely empty, it was a ‘go down every single aisle’ kinda week, which led to some pretty thrilling discoveries. Yes, housewives get super excited about grocery trips...

Anyone who has ever traveled to Europe knows that an affinity for ice is a mainly American phenomenon. Many of the fridges don’t have ice makers (mine included) and we are forced to revert back to the stone age days of ice trays. Since I’m on a smoothie kick, I knew that I’d have to buy a bag of ice at the store because there was no way that ice trays were going to be efficient enough to keep up with my smoothie cravings. I cannot explain to you my excitement when I got to the ice section of Tesco and saw …wait for it….***Crushed Ice***.  
Crushed Ice, y’all!!! Aside from my trips back to the US, I haven’t had crushed ice in 10 months. It was an exciting time for me. When Jonathan got home from work, I was beaming as I immediately lead him to the fridge to show him my purchase. He wasn't as thrilled, and immediately figured that such a rarity was exorbitantly expensive. Who knows? I was so excited to see crushed ice that I didn't even bother to check the price. Crushed ice is priceless, y'all.

Because you know what I can also used crushed ice for? To keep my Dr. Pepper zeroes cold. 
Yep, Dr. Pepper Zeroes, y’all. Eat your heart out, Diet Dr. Pepper drinkers across America. I bet you wish you had some of these sodas to quinch your thirst. I might be a slight Dr. Pepper Zero addict. Too bad they only sell them in 6 packs. Beggers can’t be choosers. 

As I wound my way down the ‘biscuit’ aisle, I did a double take when I saw the familiar packaging of these ‘Finz’. 
If you don’t live in the UK, you might not know that this is super duper exciting because up til now, Aberdeen didn’t carry knock-off goldfish crackers. And even though I haven’t eaten goldfish since I was 6, the fact that they were there in a real live Scottish grocery caused me to grab a pack of cheddar before heading to the check-out aisle. 

They are actually a bit more cheesy flavored that the ones you’ll find at Target, but the texture was the same and they hit the mid-afternoon snack spot.  

That was about it for Tesco this week, but I just so happened to stop by Sainbury’s today to get fruit and cream cheese to make a fruit tray and dip for tonight’s book club meeting.  While I was cruising the aisles I noticed…wait for it…**canned croissants**. 
Canned Croissnats, y'all!!! I have griped and moaned about the lack of canned biscuits here for months now, but I can totally work with croissant dough! In fact, they’ll be perfect for my next attempt at chicken and dumplings. 

It was definitely a positive week on the grocery shopping front, which eased the homesickness I'm usually slapped with in my first week back. Next week I’ll bring you some more insights from the food aisles here in Aberdeen

Any other expats surprised by what you've found at your local grocery store lately?


  1. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is the mother load!!! Finz?!?! JusRol?!?!?! Once the baby is in bed I'm going grocery shopping!!!

    Last summer we got Hershey's, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Tootsie Rolls and Ruffles Potato Chips. I cried in the isle. I sang praises to Jesus.

    I've been wanting to do a post like this forever. I'll have to think of a new twist. I can not wait for what you'll find next! You will find all the good stuff for me and I won't have to do the hard work. Thanks!

  2. This is just the kind of info that will help prepare me for when we move to Scotland! Looking forward to the next post in this series!

  3. Canned croissants I'm so jealous!! I found Daisy sour cream last weekend and was jumping up and down in the store. Actual sour cream, so exciting, we had tacos to celebrate :)

  4. We are thinking of moving to Scotland when I am done with my teaching degree. I have so many questions. I will email you with the rest of them but on the topic of groceries, do they have cream of XYZ soups?

  5. My family and I are considering a move to Scotland after I finish my degree in education. I would love to pick your brain so I will send you an email for the rest . As far as cooking goes though I am interested in whether they have cream of xyz soups?