A Broad Goes Abroad Volume 2 Musings from the British Isles: I Like This Junk

By: Maddie DePree, Contributor

     As my group approaches London, our final destination, I have had some time to reflect. Constant travel forces one to sit and think; one can lean her head against the cold coach window and ponder the subtleties of life. During my hours of highbrow introspection, I finally came to a solemn conclusion: the junk food over here is mad delicious.

     Hold your applause, as well as your shock and betrayal. I am not saying that European junk foods are better than the ones we have back in the U.S., but these foods are, shall we say, levelled up. Firstly, their use of puff pastry is superb. The British invented something called a sausage roll, which is basically crumbly sausage filling encased in a flaky pastry shell. If your mouth is not watering, I do not know what to tell you. Sausage rolls are comically delicious. I tried one for the first time back in Stratford-upon-Avon, and I still have not recovered from the ecstasy.

     I found another greasy snack at some hole-in-the-wall in Galway, Ireland (disclaimer for those who don’t already know: Ireland is NOT TECHNICALLY part of the British Isles. The Irish would be mad at me if I failed to mention this distinction.) Anyway, the snack was called a “choco stick,” and it was essentially a one-inch-wide, foot-long Starbucks chocolate croissant. (What? Yeah. You heard right.) Seriously, this thing was twelve inches long, and that is a conservative estimate. I felt weird eating it. Tell me where I can find a choco stick in the United States and I will be sorely impressed.

     The third critical snack item was a brand of chips called Tayto, complete with a potato mascot who looks like an off-brand Mr. Peanut. Tayto is a huge Irish corporation, and these people love Tayto. Mr. Tayto himself even offers tours of the Tayto factory. (For some reason, this rubs me the wrong way. I feel like Mr. Tayto is an even more vindictive version of Willy Wonka. Also, he is a potato. But I digress.) While I was in Ireland, I tried three different flavors of Tayto, and I cannot lie: they tasted exactly the same as American potato chips. But hey – does Frito Lay have an uncanny humanoid potato to boost sales? I think not.

     My last and most shocking junk food discovery is this: American ice cream is not top-tier. I know we have killer soft serve and those obnoxious mega-milkshakes that come with a whole waffle on top, but we are severely lacking in flavors. Over here in Ireland and Great Britain, the ice cream shops are stacked. They have flavors like elderberry, malted caramel, and Ferrero Rocher in every store. These are just run-of-the-mill flavors over here. Even the cheapest soft-serve is Zesto’s-quality creamy, and most of the cones come with a Cadbury Chocolate Flake jammed into the side. Mmm.

     I’ll be cramming my face full of treats until my next article, but never fear. No European junk food can hold a candle to Chick-fil-a and Cookout – yet.


The "American Ice Cream" served in other countries proved to be sub-par compared to other sweet treats and junk foods. Photo courtesy of Maddie DePree.
The “American Ice Cream” served in other countries proved to be sub-par compared to other sweet treats and junk foods. Photo courtesy of Maddie DePree.


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