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looking to send care package to friend in uk . . .

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i am looking to send care package to friend in uk - is there anything the usa west coast has that the uk does not? i think it would be fun to get a bunch of goodies "from home" - but i'm not sure, in today's global world, if there is anything that's available in the us that is not available in the uk. i'm in los angeles. ideas?

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  1. Unless you're attempting a huge surprise care package, I'd just ask your friend what he or she is missing. I've found that one misses less and less as the years go by. I was back in the States a week ago and went through a Target store and came away with much less than I usually do. Instant puddings aren't the same here (i.e. Jello Pistachio) and there aren't as many cake mixes either.

    A lot of American products are sold here... they just cost a lot more. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: zuriga1

      i think we've gotten used to the generally higher standard of products here. i spend every summer in long islands east end and inevitably begin by getting homesick for the meat, fruit and veg you get here in london.

      for instance, iacono farms in east hampton sells fresh non-refrigerated eggs and chickens slaughtered on the spot; while these are the best of their kind i've ever had in the us, they still aren't a patch on what i can get here by walking over to my local butcher.

      i guess the only thing we miss is the local corn, but its pretty much over by the time we leave for london anyway.

    2. I'd love a box of Yakima peaches, sadly, not easy to transport.

      Perhaps some Mexican type of foods? While we can find many of them here, they can be expensive and/or difficult to find.

      1. I second the notion of asking your friend what he/she is missing. I live in the UK now but grew up in Georgia so the foods I would miss would be quite different than West Coast treats (i get instant grits, canned boiled peanuts, etc. sent over from time to time).

        There are a lot of not-so-good-for-you foods that i personally love and miss but a lot of people might not care for them (duncan hines cake mixes, bisquick for pancakes, kraft mac and cheese, etc.)

        If you friend is into cooking and likes mexican, I would definitely send some of that stuff. Canned chipotles in adobo (i can't find them, though they may be available in london), really good jarred salsa verde, dried chiles of any kind, his/her favorite hot sauce, etc.

        Outside of that, I can't really think of much, but those would all be the types of stuff I miss. I would definitely ask your friend though to see if there are special requests.

        1. Thanks for the input!! I thought you may have a lot of the same stuff - but you never know.

          I know I could ask - but surprises are fun!

          It sounds like I should make a fiesta in a box!! Thanks.

          2 Replies
          1. re: dtud

            Reese's Peanut Butter cups, if your friend likes them and isn't allergic to peanuts. That's what my Sister misses. I like the idea of the Mexican foods too. You can get some products in the UK, but the taco seasoning doesn't taste the same, even if it's the same brand as what is sold in the US. It has a strange flavor. While you're at it, could you send some of those things to Turkey? ;)

            1. re: hariscruff

              Yup. When I go to England I have to bring Reese's peanutbutter cups for my cousin and Mexican ingredients for my ex-California friend. It's all very well for howler to talk about what's available in London, but lots of people in the UK don't actually live in, or even near, London.

          2. The things we ask friends to bring are Ghirardeli chocolate chips, mole sauce, and Tom's cinnamon flavoured toothpaste. When we asked one person for Market spice tea from Seattle he objected to bringing tea to England (probably sensibly).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gordito

              I send one friend grape jelly and Oreos. (Hopefully she doesn't eat them together.)

            2. I'd also go with asking. I lived in London right by a store that sold a lot of American foods. I think you could find American cake mixes, Oreos, and Jello there, among other things. Many of them were extremely pricey, but probably not any more than you'd spend if you shipped something from the US.

              1. you do realise that amazon.com ships to the uk, don't you? and yes, they carry oreo cookies, peanut butter, ghirardelli cocoa etc.

                1. I've never tried to send one friend the two things she craves most and can't find over there: dill pickles and orange soda. I'm scared to try to ship the glass (though I've contemplated sending some of those pickles packed in big plastic bags).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dmd_kc

                    tell your friend to go to any Kosher or Jewish deli and there will be plenty of pickles choices. Funnily enough, I think the dill pickles in the US do not compare to the ones in the UK!!

                    1. re: smartie

                      I'm of two minds with this one. Thanks to the Polish population, in terms of jarred pickles, the very dills I used to buy in the Eagle Provisions are available in the Morrisons up the road.

                      As for enjoying the variety of the pickle barrels from LES, I haven't had the same experience. But then, I'm way up north, and don't have the benefits of a proper London life.

                      1. re: smartie

                        She's in East Sussex, and doesn't know of any such place there -- but I'll advise her to redouble her efforts. I didn't really know such places were common in the UK. Good idea.

                        1. re: dmd_kc

                          Brighton has a Jewish population - there must be a Kosher deli there.

                    2. Not sure if you have mailed anything lately, but it's pretty expensive. Just mailed my daughter a down filled coat, to Scotland, today and the charge was $45. You know down weighs nothing, so you may want to take it to the post office and have it weighed before you have sticker shock.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: grouper

                        Unfortunately the post office stopped doing surface mail a few years back. That was a reasonably cheap way to send food abroad, but now it's just ridiculous. I sent a ton of stuff too myself and home when I was in Japan 5 years ago, but just threw everything extraneous away that I couldn't send home with others when I moved home from London last year. The price differential between surface and airmail is insane.

                      2. When I was a kid and lived outside the US we missed iced tea mix and peanut butter. A friend wo lives in Turkey requests Kraft mac and cheese. Maybe a childhood themed package?

                        1. How about a "care package" featuring items your hometown area is known for?

                          My husband and I spent a great deal of time in Vermont this past winter. I decided to send my friends in England a "care package" featuring Vermont made products. I sent maple syrup, Green Mountain coffee, Lake Champlain Chocolate, cookies from Vermont Country Store, even small pewter pins from Danforth along with some local candy items (you get the idea).

                          As grouper mentioned below, the postage costs are out of this world. It was exorbitantly expensive to send, it ran me about $40, but they really enjoyed it. My friend in England said I had "started something" When she and her husband visited Cornwall in the Spring she reciprocated with a box of goodies!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Axalady

                            I just can't shut up on this topic, but postage can drive prices up. One of the things that I can miss are saltines. My Brooklyn family tried to help me out, but the cost ran almost what you paid for a far fancier offering.

                          2. About thirty years ago, a friend living in London begged for American peanut butter. I don't recall whether it was just better than UK peanut butter or if there wasn't such a thing. Anyway, on finding she had full access to peanuts, I sent her a peanut butter making machine for an unlimited supply. The overall postage was a LOT cheaper that way! '-)

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Peanut butter didn't used to be available out in Europe-- it's sort of a shock to see how easy and available it is nowadays. At least in the UK. I can't recall seeing it in the DelHaize or anything...

                              1. re: Lizard

                                What about popcorn? I was an exchange student in the late '80s, and the people running the program advised us popcorn, peanut butter and hair mousse (ha! - it was the '80s!) were three things that would go over great. They were right, though the popcorn was a hard sell at first.