- Ziploc Bags. Real ones that actually seal. Quart size, gallon size. Regular and freezer. Zipper seal bags suck here. (I've also started bringing Glad Press and Seal, as well. If the Brits saw that stuff, their heads would implode.)
- Peanut Butter. The only one I've found that has no sugar or oil is the consistancy of grout (and tastes about like it, too.) There are lots of flavourless ones that have salt and palm oil available here, or you can buy a jar of Skippy that's about the size for a camping trip or a week at the cabin and spend about $6. All in all, best to bring some back.
- Pickles. We've been over the fact that even kosher dills seem to be in a sweetish brine here. Pleh.
- Penzey's Spices. I don't need garlic powder, cayenne or other basics. I need things like Breakfast Sausage Seasoning and Italian Sausage Seasoning. You can find passable sausages here if you spend some money and buy ones from a butcher. But sometimes you want a good ole sausage patty, or a decent hot italian. Penzey's can sort you out. Plus, while you're there you can grab some Fox Point, some epazote and other oddball spices for Mexican food and some Sate for the airpopcorn.
- Speaking of Mexican food, mole and chili peppers in adobo sauce are necessities, as well.
- Ban Roll On. I hate the new green bottle, but I'm fresh as a dang daisy.
- Black Trousers. Clothes cost a bomb here. And they're rather cheaply made and not particularly well cut if you scrimp. Buy a $100 pair in the states and you get 3 times the quality for the same price.
- Crystal Light. They don't know anything about the wonder of powdered drink mix with artificial sweetner. Or Jello, for that matter. The "jelly" sets in chunks while you're stirring it if you're not careful. Sugarfree Jello is the low-carb dieter's secret weapon, so you buy it at home, put it in some of your ziploc bags so it doesn't blow all over the luggage if it's punctured, and you bring it with you.
- Virgin Top Up cards. For just $30 every three months you can have a US mobile number for your trips home. (But you can't pay online with a foreign debit card.)
- Colored uniball pens. Because red, black and blue are simply not enough.
- Bourbon. Maker's Mark. Baker's. Booker's. Basil Hayden. Bulleit. Evan Williams Single Barrel, Buffalo Trace, or even Wild Turkey. These people think bourbon means Jack Daniels, or worse, Jim Beam. No wonder they lecture us about why we should be drinking scotch instead. Sure, the tenacious could scour the web and boutique liquor stores of London and come up with a £45 bottle of the big red M. But why not pay $25 at Surdyk's instead?
And putting some of these things in your luggage on your way to the UK buys you free lodging and an engaging, extremely grateful hostess. There's a fare sale on. Have YOU checked them lately?
Spellcheck is on the fritz. Sorry for any mistakes.