Monday, January 25, 2010

The Mushy Underbelly of British Food

I have been overall pleased with the quality of British food since I got here. I have even been known to wax on about how delicious certain things are here and how much better they are than in America....

but some things here fall really short of the mark.

This, for example, is an item I recently found when looking for hotdogs. I supposed the fault lies mostly on the shoulders of the Dutch because they manufactured it, but really? "American-style hotdogs" in a can?? Really?!
All kinds of hotdogs come in jars or cans here, this one just seemed the most egregious because it is labeled as American-style. I suppose the pictured hotdog looks pretty US-friendly... That might even be a hint of pickle relish, an item I have not seen once since arriving here.

Moving on....

Canned soup.
During the winter, I adore a nice bowl of soup for lunch. But soup is one of those things that I rarely cook; too much time waiting for it to finish, I suppose. And so many good soups are available canned, I don't lose much sleep over the fact that I refuse to make it myself. But here in the UK? The canned soup is always undersalted, overcooked, and mushy. I just had some chicken and barley soup where the barley had been cooked for so long, they were nothing more than white clots in broth. And the broth?? Don't get me started on how the broth is not quite liquid, but has a certain viscosity here that leaves me cold.

Here are a variety of soups on display at the nearby Tesco supermarket:

I'm not sure that I need to comment on these. They speak for themselves, right? And you people out there that love eating little lambs and think that one looks alright? You are a very baaaaa-d person and you should be ashamed of yourself.

And I love that this one (below) that doesn't even pretend to sound good in any way, shape or form. It is sells itself as the worst possible thing you could give to your husband to eat! Which I suppose is good for a chuckle, but not actually something you'd want to stock in your cupboard, right? Unless you had a really crap husband, I suppose.... "He-forgot-your-anniversary-again-a-Soup" to the rescue!

Here're your creamed asparagus granules, dear. Rot in hell!


  1. OM dear friend please let me send you the easiest soup recipes in all of the land!! It takes 30 mins.
    Thank God there is another mother who would NEVER GO NEAR THE LAMB ANYTHING!!

    I AM SENDING YOU SOUP RECIPES THIS WEEK! THEY ARE TO DIE FOR!! And super easy, believe me I don't cook w a microwave so I know how to get around all of that long food prep biz!

  2. For a brief time in the mid-90s I worked with a food company in Britain; primarily making soups. I've seen and tasted some very weird recipes...

  3. There is just something fundamentally wrong about packaging hot dogs in a can - American style or not.

    And I'm about the world's worst cook, but I love making soup. I let it simmer all day in the crock pot.

  4. What the hell is Cock-a-Leekie? Do you want us to take you seriously, Brits? It's hard with the weird food, Monty Python (equals weird sense of humor) and bad decorating. But, I still love to hear you talk, and if you aren't a thief, you are welcome to visit any time.

  5. Hotdogs in a can? So wrong on so many levels.

    No lamb or veal for me either... just can't do it.

  6. I remember having these weird hotdogs in Copenhagen a long time ago. They didn't cut the buns down the side but drilled a hole down the middle and dropped the wiener in with some kind of strange mayonnaise sauce. I ate my body weight in them because they were so freakin delicious, but still, they were weird.

  7. Listen you (and Dumbass), when you say

    "All kinds of hotdogs come in jars or cans here"

    I'll admit it that you can buy anything in a can, even a full "English breakfast". But you never should! Those cans of crap are poisonous!

  8. Good God! What are they thinking? I hope you are savvy enough in the kitchen to make your own soup.

  9. Broccoli and Stilton? The vomit just came out of my nose and I love both broccoli AND Stilton. And your blog. But NOT in a can!!!

  10. I'd keep a can of Cock-a-leekie on habd just for the fun of it!


  11. You've inspired me.
    I have a bunch of photos on British products stocked at my local grocery store in Michigan (like yummy canned sponge pudding) parked in my iPhoto.They have been patiently waiting for me to write a story about them.

  12. Maybe, just maybe, the soups are so bad because everybody makes their own at home? Probably not, but a thought. :)

  13. Yeah I'll pass on all of that. Still, there's something to be said for under-salting the canned soup. I've actually seen Campbell's on a list of dangerous foods because of the sodium content.

  14. Hilarious. I have some friends with a whole shelf of odd packaged food they've picked up from around the world. And people have of course been buying the grossest things they find when travelling so it's now an awesome collection. The canned maggots from Korea are sure something -- I kid you not. There's really a lot from the UK - breakfast in a can rings a bell. I'd love to give them some Cock-a-leekie soup though. Man.

  15. As a Brit in exile (in Italy), I loved your look at British supermarket foods. I have to say, though, that I wouldn't touch any of this stuff either!

  16. Oh my dear ... I'd be happy to put together some easy peasy lemon squeezy crockpot soup recipes for you ... jeez those sound horrid! Oh ... but you can't freeze ... doggone it!

  17. Well, I've always thought that canned soup is gross, like most canned goods really, except for tuna, plain beans and pineapple, the rest? yikes - but the hot dogs? they hit it out of the park. Yuck.


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.