It’s weird the way that homesickness can manifest. I can’t say with confidence that I’ve felt full blown homesickness since I left. With my impending trip all of four days away, however, there’s a familiar itching not in my throat, but in my belly. Of course I’m looking forward to reuniting with family and friends. I’m no monster. Truthfully though, my heart is flooded with a hitlist of foods I miss. Most of them won’t make sense to non-Kiwis, I’m sure. Let’s take a look. What exactly am I craving?
- Pineapple Lumps: Pineapple flavoured marshmallow covered in a thin layer of chocolate. If that sounds bizarre, have you never dipped pineapple in chocolate fondue? Have you never truly lived? Oddly enough, they’re fantastic after being chilled in the freezer. Gives them a pleasant snap when you bite into them, but the marshmallow becomes far chewier.
- Whittakers Peanut Slab: Whittakers’ chocolate blocks are floating around in Canadian stores. They’re expensive as all hell though. The peanut slab is a solid little block of chocolate with peanuts. Sounds simple, but the texture is hard to describe. They’re chunky enough that you couldn’t talk with a bite in your mouth.
- Cookie Time: Third chocolate adjacent item in a row on this list. Cookie Time cookies are large and crispy, but with a soft enough centre without entirely giving way under a bite. It’s hella specific, I know. Once again, you’d understand if you had one.
- Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk: Why not add one more to the pile? There was enough of a national craze over these that they had to impose purchase limits. Years later the desire has died down, but I still have yet to partake in said craze. Why not get on the bandwagon, even a few years later?
- Apples: Some kind of Pacific or Rose or Pacific Rose variety. Pacific Queen, even. Dense, crisp and sweet, but with a slightly tart edge. The perfect apples, in my opinion, are like candy from the tree. New Zealand does them well and I can’t wait to grab a bag.
- Feijoas: Strange sour-sweet little green orbs. They ripen in bunches, enough that when they do you’re usually eating nothing else for a week. It’s been too long.
- Kumara: Think sweet potato, but sweeter. A purple skin with a noxious yellow interior. I like my sweet potatoes, but they ain’t a patch on a good kumara.
- Lamb: Canada does excellent pork and its beef is decent. The difference between Canadian and New Zealand lamb is equivalent to the distance between both countries. A big roast lamb leg or a few racks wouldn’t go amiss.
- Cheese: We’re a dairy oriented country and our cheese is pretty fucking good. It’s at least good enough that I’ve had trouble finding basic cheese blocks here that remotely compare to our classic “tasty” (cheddar) cheese. There’s a sharpness you don’t find in stock standard supermarket brands and it’s a sharpness I sorely miss. Even with Extra Old, it pales in the face of the cheese I grew up with. This isn’t simply the rose coloured glasses of nostalgia, I know it in my heart of hearts.
- Marmite: Speaking of my heart of hearts, I’ve been longing tubs of this thick, salty nectar since I ran out. Not to be confused with the tamer Aussie and British varieties. Goes great with the aforementioned cheese on a cracker and I can’t wait to chomp down on that little piece of paradise.
- Coffee: Kiwis love their coffee. Toronto has its fair share of decent cafés, but your benchmark in New Zealand is a lot higher than Toronto. Drip coffee doesn’t exist, most people will get their daily flat white or at worst, french press. Me, I’m all about the mochas. Let it rain sweet hot caffeine all over me. The third degree burns will all be worth it.
- Pies: If you’d thought I had my fill of pies for life working back at Wisey’s, you’d be wrong. I’ll hardly copy my brother, who had six pies in the first few days of being back Down Under. Still though, I’m missing a mince and cheese something fierce.
If the key to my heart is in my stomach, then I left my heart locked up back home. Soon to be reunited and it’ll feel so good.