Care package!
June 20, 2012 11:05 AM   Subscribe

American ex-pats living in Germany, what things that can be mailed did you miss from/about the US?

I have a BFF who recently moved to Germany and I'd like to send her a surprise care package. The thing is, I'm not sure what she misses about America while in Germany (she's been there before).

I know people will differ, but generally speaking, what types of things would an American living in Germany miss? I'd prefer not to ask her in order to retain the element of surprise. Thanks!
posted by Fister Roboto to Human Relations (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I love Cheez-its, and I couldn't find them (or anything like them) in Germany when I was there. In general, it seems that a lot of similar cracker type snacks are hard to find there.
posted by deansfurniture5 at 11:12 AM on June 20, 2012

Peanut butter, black beans, cheddar cheese. I seriously could not get my hands on cheddar for love or money.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:21 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Open Pit BBQ sauce. Thomas' English Muffins. 2nd on anything peanut. Sriracha sauce. Dortitos Nacho Cheese (bukly, use to pad the box if needed).
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2012

When I lived in Germany, I had my friends send me refried beans, black beans, and a huge jar of peanut butter. I could buy peanut butter in smaller jars, but it quite as good. I was happy to find Tabasco at most stores. I went to the Asian market to get Sriracha and a lot of spices.

I don't remember crackers really.
posted by kendrak at 11:29 AM on June 20, 2012

German corn chips are terrible. Absolutely. Terrible.

I've been hankering for some Planter's Cheez Ballz for the last two months.
posted by chiefthe at 11:37 AM on June 20, 2012

I don't know about Germany specifically, but I have a friend who pays me regular sums to ship him Oreos and Chips Ahoy and other cookies and candy up to Finland. Apparently, they have a lot of the same brands, but different ingredients so it doesn't quite taste the same.

Can you find a site that would have any local treats? For example, when I lived in Europe, I loved when my mom would get very New Orleans things like pralines and send them in care packages.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:49 AM on June 20, 2012

Sriracha is available in Asian markets in Germany. In multiple levels of hot-ness even.

Tortillas. I don't know how good fresh tortillas would stand up to mailing, though. I recall failing to find black beans. Decent salsa probably falls into the hard to find category as well.

Canned pumpkin is often a standard answer to this question, but it's the wrong time of year.
posted by hoyland at 11:51 AM on June 20, 2012

I drive from Belgium to Germany to buy refried beans and English muffins! Those are both definitely available (I saw both today in Real).
posted by eendje at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2012

Does your friend live anywhere near Kaiserslautern? There's a new import shop there that sells all kinds of handy American stuff.
posted by jedicus at 11:53 AM on June 20, 2012

I bought tortilla chips and salsa one time from... I think it was Tegut or Edeka, and it was really weird and not so good. They weren't US brands, and the consistency of the chips was off (compared to Tostitos or Mission), and the salsa was closer to tomato sauce. I did want somebody to send me a jar of La Victoria or Pace, but I just ended up making my own. The chips were still a problem.
posted by kendrak at 11:59 AM on June 20, 2012

I send my sister in law Kraft mac and cheese and peanut butter.
posted by ibakecake at 12:06 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

peanut butter
posted by Flood at 12:29 PM on June 20, 2012

Peanut butter. You can get it, but it comes in a tiny jar and is pretty expensive and kind of bad. On the other hand, you can get "genuine American" strawberry/marshmallow fluff. Because apparently we use a lot of that? I dunno.

Salsa/hot sauce. The German palate is apparently pretty bland. What they call "hot" we call "medium," at best, and what they call "mild" we call "ketchup."

Tastykakes. Of course, if you grew up within a few hundred miles of Philly and moved across the country, these might be on your list anyway.
posted by valkyryn at 12:32 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Anything really salty. Germans don't salt their food much. Also, the whole experimental food thing hasn't caught on there, so if she likes things like bacon chocolate or other strange concoctions, then you could send her those. It depends where she is, too. In Berlin, you hardly need a care package, because it's got plenty. Elsewhere, you might.
posted by outlandishmarxist at 12:36 PM on June 20, 2012

When I lived in Prague, I wished that I had taken those little dry mix packages with me (for ranch, chili seasoning, taco seasoning, and the like). It would be really easy to mail a ton of those. Nthing anything with orange cheez dust, I missed "cheez" more than cheese, and I'm pretty sure you can get real cheddar there. Mac and cheese packets (just the mix is really necessary, you can probably get macaroni). Peanut butter cups and reeses eque things were nearly impossible to find too. Mini boxes of cereal would be a good idea, like the the ones at hotels. I had a friend BEG me to bring tapatio when I first moved out there, and mexican spices (like sofrito and sazon). All that wonderful processed crap.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2012

I have a friend that's been in Germany for about a year, and all he says is he misses bourbon.
posted by General Malaise at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2012

Oh, and apparently Fluff.
posted by General Malaise at 1:02 PM on June 20, 2012

I think outlandishmarxist is joking - I have never eaten such salty foods.

Anything with fake cheese (doritos, mac and cheese, goldfish), corn based products (corn chips, corn bread mix, popcorn (they have it but it is sweet) etc), peanut butter products (reeces, combos, etc), or graham crackers or cooked oats products (cheerios). Second kendrak, salsa and refried beans and tortillas/corn chips are here but strange.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2012

Mexican food related items is what a German friend from college said that she missed the most on her return. So, Mexican spice mixes and hey, you can even get Frontera sauces in soft pouches to cut down the weight (check Whole Foods and other fine grocery purveyors.) Seriously, you can make salsa in Germany if necessary but the spices like achiote seemed difficult to acquire while I was wandering around.
posted by jadepearl at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: I'm in the UK rather than Germany, but one thing I've really missed is Girl Scout cookies. Unlike many other American products, there's really no way to get them in Europe unless somebody posts them to you.

Just a word of warning. Make sure you write "GESCHENK" (gift) on your parcel, or the Germans may try to charge the recipient import duty.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 2:06 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

General Malaise, I've had Fluff from Germany and seen it in Dutch supermarkets, too.

I've imported to the Netherlands the following, among other items: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Double Stuff Oreos (single are easy to find), Frank's Red Hot, local-to-home barbecue sauce, chocolate chips, Kool-Aid, Biore pore strips, and canned chiles & chipotles in adobo.
posted by knile at 3:15 AM on June 21, 2012

Oh! Magazines! Hopefully you know what she normally reads and can also slyly ask her if she's set up subscriptions to her German address.
posted by knile at 3:35 AM on June 21, 2012

Lots of mexicana foods:

Chipotles (in a can or dried)
Real corn tortillas
Canned tamales

black beans

powdered mini donuts (god i crave)

mac 'n cheese boxes (comfort food)

pop tarts

canned pumpkin
maple syryp
posted by rudster at 4:11 AM on June 21, 2012

Chewy granola bars and ClifBars/PowerBars/etc.
posted by knile at 5:47 AM on June 22, 2012

In the past I have sent Karo syrup, graham cracker pie crusts (the two to make pecan pies, IIRC), Doritos, and Thin Mint cookies.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:42 AM on December 17, 2012

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