While you can certainly find some of these items in Meijer's British section (regional to the Midwest) and various international stores, all of the ones listed below are considerably harder to find in the United States than in Britain. Whether it is due to an American aversion, wrong-place-wrong-time, or a wholesale ban (stay tuned for number 5 on the list), there are just some potted food items that don't get the recognition stateside that they deserve.
And so, here are 5 British jarred foods that are hard to find in the United States.
Whether you love it or hate it—and I'm in the former camp—Marmite is certainly a mainstay of the British food spread section. Made from yeast extract, it goes perfectly on a scrumptious cheese sandwich and has a similar taste to those wonderfully moreish Twiglets, a crispy snack whose coating is also made from yeast extract.
Made world famous by Paddington Bear, marmalade is—like tea, crumpets and fish 'n' chips—almost synonymous with the word "British." The explorer Robert Scott was known to have carried jars of marmalade during his ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1911. Moreover, hardcore fans of the James Bond franchise will know that Marmalade makes up part of 007's daily breakfast regimen. But while it is available to buy in Walmart and the like, Marmalade is not a staple of the American diet.
3. Pickled onions
Often, merely mentioning pickled onions to Americans is enough to put them off their lunch. But, with the exception of mushy peas, nothing goes better with a plate of fish and chips. Thanks to Meijer's aforementioned British section, it is possible to find pickled onions in the U.S., but don't expect to find them in most regional or national grocery stores.
4. Mint sauce
A quite brilliant accompaniment to roast lamb (I even mix it with mashed potato, but that's just me), mint sauce is virtually unknown as a concept in the United States. As the name suggests, it is a sauce made up of finely chopped spearmint leaves dowsed in vinegar. Once again, it can be purchased at Meijer's ever life-saving British section.
5. Blackcurrant jam
Though American jam is almost always referred to as fruit preserves, most flavo(u)rs are nonetheless available in abundance across national or regional grocery outlets. However, there's one fruit you are unlikely to see gracing the fruit preserve section at Walmart any time soon: blackcurrant. That's because many states have a long-standing ban on the production of blackcurrant, owing to early 20th century fears that the currant was a disease vector, particularly effecting those in the logging industry. Even in states were blackcurrant production is legal, the fruit is generally not recognised by the masses.
Which potted food items from Britain do you wish were in wide circulation in the U.S.? Are there any American jarred foods that you cannot get in Britain? Let us know in the comments below.
Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and has written for Anglotopia and Smitten by Britain. Having graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, Laurence runs this blog, Lost In The Pond, charting the endless cultural and linguistic differences between Britain and The United States.
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