web analytics

Not that, you bastards! Anything but that!


Food is one of the hardest things for an immigrant to cope with. This immigrant, anyhow. It’s one thing to visit a country and immerse yourself in the local cuisine; it’s another when, five years later, not love nor money can buy you a freaking saltine cracker for your freaking soup.

Bacon. Bacon is the cruellest food. British bacon is even weirder than the Canadian stuff. I mean, it’s pretty nice in its own way, but it’s some kind of salty country ham thing. It ain’t bacon. Nome sane?

For years, there was one supermarket (not a chain, a single supermarket) that sold Oscar Mayer bacon. Sure, it was made in Spain, but somebody from OM must have overseen the process, because it was what I call proper bacon.

Then, a couple of years ago, they dropped the “Oscar Mayer” branding and relabeled it “American style” bacon. That’s an actual packet of it in the picture. Well, fair enough – the name was probably costing them a lot of money and didn’t mean diddly to Brits. It was the same true blue American bacon.

And then the quality began to slip. First the packet wouldn’t peel open properly and had to be cut up the side. Then the bacon stuck together and wouldn’t come off in cohesive strips. It was more like baconfloss. That comes from losing the American quality control, I guess.

And today? Gone from the shelf. Nowhere to be found. Not even the thin comfort of bacon strings for weasel.

It’ll have to be pancetta. Dammit.


Comment from Zohtan, Master of the Universe
Time: October 17, 2017, 8:13 pm

I would bet, not a drop of branding, but a sale of the factory or division. Thus the loss of the rights to ‘Oscar Meyer’ and the loss of the quality control or process.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: October 17, 2017, 8:17 pm

But you can at least be sure it meets EU standards…

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 17, 2017, 8:19 pm

Pan Setter.

Is that a breed from the Hebrides?

After all, it ain’t right to eat pork, that might be offensive.
Dog, much better.

Comment from gromulin
Time: October 17, 2017, 8:21 pm

I’d build a smoker…there must be butcher shops with pork bellies somewhere there. I mean, it’s a civilized country right?

Comment from Bob
Time: October 17, 2017, 9:03 pm

A quick search turned up this. I guess you have to check your postal code for availability.

Comment from Brother Cavil, dolphin brain in a jar
Time: October 17, 2017, 9:13 pm

I forsee the TransAnglo Underground smuggling bibles and proper bacon into Islamic England…

Comment from Sigivald
Time: October 17, 2017, 9:38 pm

Can’t a butcher get you streaky bacon if you ask?

Comment from Zhytamyr
Time: October 17, 2017, 10:05 pm

Get pork belly and butcher’s salt (sodium nitrate), you can dry cure, or wet cure like ham. Either cold smoke like cheese or add a very small amount of liquid smoke to the mix.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 17, 2017, 10:41 pm


Comment from bikeboy
Time: October 17, 2017, 10:48 pm

Well, at least you’re no longer in danger of catching Mad Bacon Disease…

Do they have passable PEANUT BUTTER in the UK? I spent a couple years in South America and dearly missed peanut butter. You could buy it… but it had sugar in the recipe, where it should’ve had salt.

Comment from Nina
Time: October 17, 2017, 11:30 pm

Moving to another country is fraught, even with a hunky English badger to cuddle up to at night!

But at least they do great battered, fried, fish on that island!

Comment from peacelovewoodstock
Time: October 17, 2017, 11:57 pm

Seems like folks here know a bit about makin’ bacon nome sane

Comment from Armybrat
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:15 am

Oscar Mayer is the stuff to buy only when the in-laws are coming for brunch and you’re already hung over and probably don’t have enough vodka for the number of bloody Mary’s it will take you to be civil to your mother in law. You just pray the cheap shit will put them off and they’ll be gone soon. For those sundays that are lazy and boozy and just you and your love, buy a pork belly and make your own. Or order from http://www.nueskes.com

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:41 am

Mme. Ermine, Amazon.co.uk has the American style bacon previously known as Oscar Mayer. Click HERE.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:44 am

What about tortillas and other adjuncts of Tex-Mex? I think that’s what I’d miss most.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:46 am

Stoatie, I did look around for a Bacon of the Month Club that we, your loving fans, might set up via GoFundMe or the like, but sad to say I was unable to find one that ships to the U.K.

Comment from OldFert
Time: October 18, 2017, 4:36 am

Go find a USAF outfit on a RAF base. Strike up a friendship with some GI or GI family. I’m pretty sure the commissary will have all the Yankee fixin’s your little heart will desire. Exploit.

Comment from Niña
Time: October 18, 2017, 4:36 am

Mrs. Peel, when my daughter was living in England she found some “Mexican” cheese that was cheddar with chilies in it. She said it was disappointing. 😳

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 18, 2017, 8:14 am

I don’t know if you think it counts, but I can get the full range of Old El Paso stuff, Mrs P. They keep putting the refried beans on sale because nobody here knows what they’re for.

Brits have streaky bacon and (my favorite) lardons and other close bacon substitutes. Close.

Comment from p2
Time: October 18, 2017, 8:44 am

swease…. gots a bit of a barter for ya….. i have, within driving distance even (a rarity of epic porportions here in the frozen freakin north) a no kidding, old fashioned meat processing establishment which produces some of the best bacon i’ve had in 50 states, 48 countries (including ol’ blighty) on 5 continents. they do bacon right, nome sane? and, they do it in slab form, with the rind still on. (scratchings, anyone?) what they dont do and what i’ve been jones for since i left the uk in 93 is proper brit sausage for making sausage rolls. the us stuff just ain’t cricket. if its at all possible and fedex will allow it..ill ship a goodly amount of right proper true blue yank bacon in exchange for a bit of those sausages…… you game?

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 18, 2017, 11:02 am

All this bacon talk, just not kosher you know.


Someone had to say it.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 18, 2017, 12:59 pm

Stoaty—words fail me. No bacon is just wrong. And I don’t understand how it happened. How did America learn to cure bacon if not from her mother country?*

But Crackers! We can fix the crackers problem. Homemade saltine crackers are terrific! I know it’s not like an endless supply of Nabisco’s Premium Saltines, but do give them a try. Lots of recipes for saltines on the innertubes (once you get past the recipes for Christmas Crack).

*In Those Who Love, Irving Stone’s magnificent biography of John and Abigail Adams, he describes a scene where Abigail runs down to the cellar early in the morning to slice strips of bacon from a hanging slab, to cook for John’s breakfast. I’m not sure why that scene stuck with me; I read the book when I was about fifteen (and enthralled by John and Abigail’s love for each other). But bacon. And this was pre-Revolutionary War bacon, too.

So how or why did the British drop the ball on bacon?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 18, 2017, 1:57 pm

You and Uncle B could do a bacon run to france:


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 18, 2017, 2:01 pm

The brits hate our bacon. They make fun of it on rate my bacon. Does Uncle B like American bacon? Or does he just tell the neighbors, oh, my American wife and all her crazy bacon yearnings!

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: October 18, 2017, 2:27 pm

I like the Old El Paso refried beans. Their tortillas, not so much. I imagine it’s hard to get quesadilla cheese too… Can you get asadero? Monterey Jack will do in a pinch, but it’s not the same.

Comment from Timothy J. mcCrokle
Time: October 18, 2017, 2:51 pm

HMMM… Time to build a smokehouse.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:19 pm

“The brits hate our bacon. They make fun of it on rate my bacon.”

Same place that thinks SPAM is the corned beef used in a Reuben so I’m not sure we should take their opinion of our bacon seriously.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 18, 2017, 3:25 pm

And no saltines? I suppose that means oyster crackers and pilot crackers are also right out.

How can you have crackers in your chowder or smoked turkey soup if you don’t have saltines/oyster crackers?

Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: October 18, 2017, 5:48 pm

It is a cruel God who denies his people bacon.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 18, 2017, 7:12 pm

So, all stoaty needs is:
pork belly
a meat slicer or some really really really sharp knives
Uncle B for moral support &/or cleanup &/or heavy lifting.

The knives & the smoker will come in extra handy for bbq-ing ribs. You’ll be the most loved yank in your hood.

Comment from BJM
Time: October 18, 2017, 8:02 pm


“But you can at least be sure it meets FU standards…”


Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 18, 2017, 8:11 pm

is smoked meat as much a thing over there as it is on this side of the puddle?

Comment from Carl
Time: October 18, 2017, 9:00 pm

Mr Dave – We don’t exactly miss out on bacon in the UK. I counted more than 15 different types of bacon in our local Tesco supermarket today. It’s all British, Danish or Dutch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 18, 2017, 9:22 pm

I think we’d have a problem with shipping food, P2. And possibly with Customs charges. I got stuck with an awful bill when one of Uncle B’s American friends sent us a wedding present. And it was awful.

Uncle B has never dissed American bacon to my face. He wouldn’t dare. But he never pinches my bacon. Erm, if you know what I mean.

Not sure, Mrs P. I’m kind of a Mexican food philistine. I love the stuff — don’t get me wrong — but I don’t know squat about making it properly. I wouldn’t be surprised if you get the correct cheeses, though — Brits love their cheeses.

Comment from Timothy S. Carlson
Time: October 19, 2017, 12:17 am

I have the same issues, but the other side of the world.

For the life of me, I can’t find proper dill pickles here. All the pickles are sweet. Every. Single. One. Sure, sweet pickles are fine, but every once in a while I’d like a few dill spears to go with my sammich.

It used to be that I wasn’t able to find Italian rolls and deli meats, but now Subway franchises have invaded the metro Manila area. And since they are popular, the more upscale grocery stores now carry deli meats and cheeses. They sometimes even have a fancy bakery for all of your strange bread needs.

Speaking of cheeses – I don’t know what is going on, but my favorite mozzarella cheese has gone from p148 / 200g to p258 / 200g. WHAT. THE. HOLY. HELL. IS. GOING. ON? And not at just one store – this is happening all over.

Beef is the biggest thing that irks me here. I’m a ‘Kano (American) and I likes my beef. But the stuff here is either Caribou or Water Buffalo. Tough and stringy. And the ground ‘beef’ is full of gristle, bone chips, and stringy connective tissue. Ugh.

Bacon we have. Not USA bacon, but a reasonable filipino facsimile. In fact, pork isn’t a problem – I think the pig is the national animal, or it should be judging by the large amounts of pork eaten here.

Veggies are a big deal, too. Iceberg lettuce is p150 for a baseball sized head (about $3). And most of the time I don’t buy any because the heads have gone bad and are speckled brown and slimey. And no spinach – there’s stuff called “kang kong”, but it’s some kind of floating river plant and it’s just not the same.

And Jerky. I have a friend that brings me bags of Jerky any time he visits the islands. Can’t find it, otherwise.

Thank God I recently found a source for Kaluha, which makes my morning coffee (and my day) a bit more bearable.

Comment from Mrs Compton
Time: October 19, 2017, 2:35 am

Sorry to say but that’s kinda how bacon is turning out here as well. You need a kitchen knife to open the thing, I remember it use to pull apart and you could squish it down if you needed to put it back in the fridge. No doing that now and the bacon is always stuck together, your fingers get all messy trying to take a strip out. But… we do have that butcher down the street and that’s pure heaven… sorry.

Comment from p2
Time: October 19, 2017, 5:56 am

option 2 swease….. i havent been back in forever and i still have folks there id love to see again… and raf lakenheath & mildenhall are still open…and i’m retired usaf with access to the commissaries…. perhaps a trip is in order….

Comment from Pupster
Time: October 19, 2017, 10:42 am

No bacon?

What the heck do they crumble over their shrimp and grits?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: October 19, 2017, 3:08 pm

Tim: Kahlua is really simple to make. Then you put it in a decorative bottle with a homemade label and give it as gifts for the holidays.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 19, 2017, 3:51 pm

My mother used to make Kahlua. She never gave any of it away though 😉

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: October 20, 2017, 7:07 am

I made bacon wrapped cheese dogs last weekend. They were most tasty!

Write a comment

(as if I cared)

(yeah. I'm going to write)

(oooo! you have a website?)

Beware: more than one link in a comment is apt to earn you a trip to the spam filter, where you will remain -- cold, frightened and alone -- until I remember to clean the trap. But, hey, without Akismet, we'd be up to our asses in...well, ass porn, mostly.

<< carry me back to ol' virginny