Sunday, June 22, 2008


Long Grove's Strawberry Fest was in full swing by the time I got off the highway, found a parking spot, and dodged the hordes of slow people waddling down the congested road. I did a lap of the small downtown and bought some dark chocolate-covered strawberries. They leaked sugary juice on my fingers and I licked it off, annoyed but enjoying the taste.

The majorly exciting part of the day, however, was when I ducked into the British goods store and found-- wait for it-- crisps!

Now, I am not one of those ex-expats (for however long I was there) who dreams of digestives or tins of baked beans. In fact, if you had asked me what I missed about British supermarket food five minutes before I went into the store, I would have said nothing. But a packet of Hula Hoops caught my eye from the window, and I got teeny butterflies in my stomach.

My favorite crisps were always Walkers Chicken flavoured. My appreciation for strangely flavored chips started in Paris, when I bought a few bags of Bolognaise, Paprika, and Poulet for a group meeting at school. I explored Bacon, Buffalo, and even tried a few Prawn Flavoured once I got to London, but nothing could replace the oddly addictive Chicken.

The store today didn't have Chicken-- I asked the hormonal shopkeeper if they sold out, and he told me they don't sell so the owners stopped buying them. I'll never understand how Prawn Cocktail can be more popular than Chicken.

I always had problems finding bags of Chicken in London. You had to know where to get them: Waitrose usually had them, for example, but Tesco never did. The off-license across from the Laundromat definitely didn't.

My first experience with Hula Hoops was on a hiking trip in Dublin. My friend had led us in circles from the bus stop, trying unsuccessfully to find the mountain and park. We stopped at a gas station for directions. I disappeared for 10 minutes, buying one of each packet of crisps to keep us happy and occupied on the rest of the journey. Out of that crisp fest came a love for the little crunchy BBQ rounds.
Me, demonstrating the correct way to eat a Hula Hoop.

We must have looked ridiculous-- three Americans in flashy sunglasses and bright clothes, strolling down an Irish highway with a greasy "O" around each finger, snacking and laughing at stupid jokes. They are so good, though.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I think I'll miss Quavers - they're yum!

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