Beyond the Pond

Whenever people are flying “across the pond” and will be in Dresden at some point, they always ask me “what do you miss from the US?  Can I bring you something?”

I used to have a quick answer for this:  Candy corn! Root beer! Brown sugar! Cake mixes!  Oh yeah, and some chocolate chips for baking and….and and and… the list went on and on. It seemed like I missed so many things that first year we were here.

Now, 9 years later, I have to put on my thinking cap…chocolate chips?  No, I usually just cut up a Milka bar. Brown sugar?  Well, I guess I could ask for that, but I know how to make it now with molasses, so would that be a waste of space?  Same thing with canned pumpkin…each Halloween I hollow out a pumpkin or two, bake the pumpkin, puree it and voila!  Pumpkin for pie in the freezer.  In other words, I don’t feel like I need or crave anything.  I’ve learned to do without and in some cases I’ve found substitutions that are even better.  When I DO give a list of things it’s usually for convenience…if someone wants to bring a can of pureed pumpkin, then I won’t stop them…it saves me a lot of steps!

So today I get an email from an English-speaking contact of mine and she says an acquaintance has opened a new store called Beyond the Pond with British and American foodstuffs.  We should all go over and support her!  “Okay, sure,” I’m thinking, “but I probably won’t get anything.  After all, I’ve gone for YEARS without a box of Rice Krispies…”

The store is literally three blocks from my house, so I took my bike over there this afternoon.  It’s a virtual hole-in-the wall, with no sign out front, yet, so I missed it twice before I found the door.  I walked in….to food overload.  It actually only consists of two short walls of tall shelves on either side of the small room and some stuff in the windows.  British stuff on one side, American on the other, so it’s not like I even walked into a gas station sized store.  But my first thought was “be still my slavering salivary glands!”

Starburst! Cake Mixes and blueberry muffin mixes and cornbread mixes!  DR. PEPPER! Cheerios, Lucky Charms!  Pop tarts! Stuff I hadn’t ever SEEN before from the Doritos brand!  SALSA! and the list went on and on.  The owner is a lady with children who had visited our English playgroup once so we sort of recognized each other and had a nice chat.  She’s been in Germany since ’94, so she’s got me beat on “living without” for sure 🙂  But she knows many ex-pats and therefore, shrewdly guessed that many, like myself, would be interested in those products from “home” that you get a craving for once in a while.  After my eyes stopped popping out of my head I realized with some humor that all the foods I “missed” were actually not that good for me!  We’ve been trying to eat healthier as a family and I was chagrined to realize that my style of eating has changed so much that I shouldn’t actually buy 90 percent of the stuff! (I did put in a request for diet Dr. Pepper for future orders 🙂 )  I did buy a few items and it was fun to see Randy’s face when I got home…we’re so used to only seeing this stuff once every two years when we’re stateside.  And the kids were enthralled with the poptarts 🙂  I’m sure I will be visiting Beyond the Pond in the future, when I feel like I ‘have’ to make fudge for Christmas (TWO kinds of Marshmallow Cream!) or Rice Krispie treats for a party, but I’m also realizing that “doing without” was actually a great life-style change for us since we’ve been in Dresden.

One thing’s for sure…the people of Dresden will never be the same again…Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is in town…

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3 responses to “Beyond the Pond”

  1. Queenie says :

    Oh Bri! How funny. Yes, I would have been right there with you for that shopping spree! And yes, so much of it is really not that good for us. I remember when we moved to Zürich 51 years ago, I discovered such a department within the big store, Jelmoli – (150-yr-old) department store in downtown Zürich. We did not buy much – too expensive, but it was so comforting to know I was not “alone” there! I felt like my homeland was there with me (well, a little bit of it was with me) 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Caryn says :

    Pretty soon you’ll be missing things that you can only find in Deutchland! If I were you I’d start buying now and shipping it over for later cravings! 🙂

  3. Brianna Carroll says :

    Too true, Caryn, too true!

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