February 1, 2011

The United States of Processed Food

If there is anything that we have learned over here, it is that grocery shopping in Germany is never a dull errand to run. There is competitive parking, the OCD need to always have a euro handy for the shopping carts, the narrow aisles, the constant cart bumping and NO ONE saying "Excuse Me", the race to the check out lines and finally the excitement and sheer terror of packing up all your groceries as fast as the cashier can throw them at you. And that is a typical Wednesday mid-morning trip. Don't even get me started on the Saturday afternoon crowd. 

Oh Kaufland, with your craziness, how can I not feel at home?!

We are lucky, though. Most German grocery stores, and certainly the larger chains, carry quite a bit of American food. Wish there were more coupons available; prices can be steep. Most of the time it doesn't even feel like you are shopping in another country, that is, until you stumble across the whole pig, vacuum-packed, laying out for the taking in the meat section. Don't see too many of those at your local Super Wal-Mart, do ya!

Groceries in Germany are very affordable, often being cheaper than the groceries in Texas, even with the currency conversion. And from our short time here, we have discovered some really great German products and brand. They're Items that we actually miss when we are back at home in the states.

Although, before we lived overseas, I had NO idea how profitable just the mere idea of something being "American" could make any given item. Companies try as they may to pass their products off as authentic 'made in the USA' goods, but sadly just miss the mark.
Just a small collection of all the "American" items

And unauthentic as they may be, their packaging stands out like a sore thumb in the grocery stores. So here are just a few of the many, many red, white and blue, stars and stripes, Statue of Liberty decorated German products. And yes, we buy most of these on a regular basis, haha. Suckers.

The Doritos "Cool Ranch" flavor is called "Cool American" here. Glad they could reaffirm something we are already well aware of :)
Even cooler than Chester Cheeto

Oh Cheese Zip. I have a feeling you could be inserted into my veins and clog my arteries in the same fashion as you do when I eat you. What can they possibly think of us when we serve up "Real Chedder Cheese" (MY ass!) in a can?!?

I love that it gives you instructions of how to de-clog the nozzle. Sick.

I was really excited about the Knorr's seasoning packet for Mac & Cheese, embellished with an American flag just to remind you of its authenticity. It was awful, and a disgrace to the Kraft orangey goodness.
Just stop trying

This peanut butter is a little less American-ly decorated than the other. I couldn't find the really patriotic canisters my last grocery run. But most canisters have the American flag drawn all over them. And I think I solely keep the German peanut butter importers in business. This is something those Deutschers just don't embrace.

I could eat a can a day, easy

These are actually made in the U.S., but I am led to believe that a foreigner came up with the name. All I can think of when I see the bags in stores are Rocky Mountain Oysters. What a lovely image to have in my head.
Confused about Rocky Mountain Oysters?? Look it up.

Ok, Mondamin, you guys didn't even try to draw a real American flag. Three stars and four stripes?? That is just lazy. But I do like you pancakes, and without Bisquick, I guess you and your ghetto flag will have to do.
Did you think there was a hyphen in the word, or did you run out of room?

American Style Pizza. Can it get any more patriotic?!? I think it might even play "The Star Spangled Banner" when you open the box. And no, I didn't purchase this one. I will just gnaw on some greasy cardboard and probably have the same experience. 

Who eats Cheese and Onion pizza anyways?!? Source

And last, but certainly not least, American Toast. I knew that is why our forefathers risked their lives for the unity of a nation. It was all to have processed, fatty cheese in the name of liberty, freedom and the justice for all. 

You should be ashamed.
Oh, and the absolute best part about this cheese. In the bottom right hand corner of the picture, although the light blurs the writing, it clearly says "Qualität aus Österreich" - "Quality from Austria". I am embarrassed for them.

I am not complaining about the availability of "American" products, just merely observing and reporting. I am glad they are there for my enjoyment and for a laugh or two.

But really, who am I kidding. We are Americans (the hubs practically one) and junk food is a huge part of our diet and culture. So maybe Germany isn't too far off with these items. After all, the American section at Real consists of off brand Macaroni and Cheese, Cheese Wiz, Crisco and Marshmallows. Yep, sounds like home to me!
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  1. Haha. At the Karstadt in Munich, you can buy the Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting and each are about 6 or 7 EUR. Damn. And gernic boxes of Mac & Cheese sell for 2,84 EUR. My host mom says, "That's so inexpensive." I laugh at her. Considering that's what, about $3.50?? Compared to the $1 at Safeway and $.89 at Walmart for Kraft? I do miss REAL American craptastic food. Ha. We have a bag of marshmallows just called "Campfire Marshmallows." Ha.

  2. Why did I start singing a John Denver song when looking at marshmallows...with a picture of a fire just in case someone forgot they go in smores!?! OMG, totally outrageous. Cheese and onions..I am dying! Who needs WalMart with this cheap entertainment :)

  3. @ Heather - an arm and a leg!!! I don't ever buy those over here, but seriously stock up when I am back home. What I wouldn't give for Splenda! Craptastic!
    @Morgan - haha, good ol John Denver Marshmallows. They even have instructions on the back on how to make smores. It's titled "Hey, You Idiots"

  4. hahaha... this is sooo true!!! I see the same things in Sweden.. it's so funny.

  5. The American flags on everything and red, white, and blue cracks me up. When I visited my husband in Belfast, he made sure that I brought him an economy size of kraft dinner!

  6. How bout when you go to buy a product, your pretty sure they have, but don't know auf deutsch. you keep saying it louder, over and over. then you're moving your hands like its efing charades or something. rustbuster. RustBuster. RUST Buster. RUSTBUSTER!!!
    Finally: ahhh...rost loser? aisle zwei.

  7. Shoot I feel more patriotic just reading this post.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting today :)

  8. @ Laura - I know right, where do they get these things from?!

    @Desi - We have to ration the Kraft Mac and Cheese here, so I know what ya'll went through :) haha

    @ rusk - haha, I can just see this in my head right now. Too funny, and what a fun trip to the grocery store, right?!

    @Mrs. Tuna - no probs bob :) I was happy I did! And glad I could make you feel patriotic today, haha

  9. Fun! I love it. And now I know, if I'm ever in Germany, to avoid the Austrian American Cheese Food.

  10. I thought Rocky Mountain Oysters were buffalo testicles. Oh, it's cold as hell in Houston so you shouldn't be homesick at the moment.

  11. Oh my goodness... we had some of the same things in the grocery stores in Russia. I love it!!

  12. @ Nicole - haha for sure avoid it.

    @ Johnny - you are correct. Gross. And I have heard all the complaining about the cold going on at home. Us Texans don't do winter so well, do we?!

    @ Alida - oh my goodness, I cannot even imagine how grocery shopping in Russia would work. I am just thinking chaos!

  13. I've had that mac n' cheese - it's the one they want you to bake, right? It's actually not bad. And I sprinkled my own cheese over the top. I've also had the Rocky Mountain marshmallows. My husband saw them on the counter and said, 'why did you buy marshmallows?' Uh ... because they have an American flag on them, you idiot! ;)

  14. hahaha, this was too funny! and enlightening. It's kinda sad too, "American" food doesn't conjur up images of whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies, but mac'n cheese, marshamallows and Doritos. All of which we love in the Mo'Betta house ;)

  15. i just noticed I put marsha-mallows. I'm am very tired!

  16. Mmmm, Marshamallows sound great :) Hope you got some rest, gal! lol

  17. This was funny! I have always felt a little embarrassed as I walked by the "American" ethnic food section at our local Real-- just a lot of junk food. In the Philippines, there was a flavor of icecream made by the local favorite brand, called "American Dream." What do you think was in it? Corn and processed cheese!

  18. LOVE this post -- it's too much fun!!! Check out what I found at a small Indian market here in town ... I love these, even if they look at me like I'm a gringo when I buy them for the amusement factor: http://foodfloozie.blogspot.com/2010/07/wordless-wednesday-authentic-indian.html

  19. Haha, I just had a look Mary, that is too funny. Who comes up with these ideas when they are naming the products???

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Whoomp, there it is!