I think many people take for granted that whatever they like to eat is “normal,” particularly if everyone they know eats the same thing.  So, many Americans probably think peanut butter and jelly (jam here in Ireland – jelly would refer to gelatin) sandwiches are a staple in many places throughout the world, but I don’t think they are.  Peanut butter isn’t eaten nearly as much here, and many Irish adults have never had a PB & J sandwich.  The Irish equivalent?  An individual size pack of Mr. Tayto’s Cheese and Onion crisps (potato chips in America) on white bread spread with butter.  I like it, actually.

Crisps are almost always flavored here (and often only available in small bags, or giant bags that hold many smaller bags), usually cheese and onion, or salt and vinegar.  There certainly are flavoured crisps in America, including some not found here, like barbecue, but there it’s easy to find big bags of plain chips, with just salt.  Because American crisps are usually plain, people often buy dips for the crisps.  Dips are harder to find here.

We’ve mentioned before that it’s hard to find Hershey’s chocolate over here.  That’s not surprising once you’ve heard an Irish person describe Hershey’s as tasting like . . . well, let’s just say it’s not something found on the food pyramid.  The most common chocolate over here is Cadbury’s, which to many Americans means only the Cadbury cream-filled Easter egg.  Actually, though, Cadbury’s is quite good.

So far, we haven’t found a movie theatre here that serves its popcorn with melted butter, an artery-clogging staple for American moviegoers.  But at least the unbuttered popcorn seems familiar to us.  A German friend of ours went to a movie shortly after her arrival in Ireland and almost gagged on her first mouthful of popcorn; in Germany the popcorn is always sweetened, so the salted popcorn was an unpleasant shock for her.

It’s not just preferred flavours that are different.  Amy was having lunch with an Indian man and an Irishwoman.  The main dish was a curry, and the Irish woman thought it was very hot, Amy thought it had a little heat, and the Indian didn’t think it had any heat at all.  We know some Irish people who love hotter foods, but it’s not as common here.

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