Top 10 everyday things Americans take for granted

First let me state for the Aussie readers that this is IN NO WAY saying that I think it sucks here, because I don’t think that. But if you’d been living overseas for ten months, you’d be putting together a list of the things you missed too (like Tim Tams, Vegemite, meat pies, and sausage rolls).

1. Velveeta. Many years ago, when I was first using IRC, I had an ongoing debate with a guy named "Saveall" on #bighouse on Undernet. We couldn’t agree on whether or not Velveeta was cheese (although now I can’t remember who was on which side). But who cares, really? Mmmm…processed cheese food. (Interestingly though, Australian Quarantine won’t let Velveeta be imported because of its "cheese content," so I guess that answers the question.)

2. Oscar Mayer braunschweiger. Yes, I’m one of those bizarre people who likes liverwurst. Which is funny, since I don’t like liver in any of its other forms. I have found two brands here that are somewhat similar – one is the right texture & consistency, but the taste isn’t quite right, and the other has the taste, but also chunky bits. Perhaps someday I’ll get around to checking out the shops in the very-German Hahndorf to see if they’ve got a suitable substitute.

3. Whole turkeys for PENNIES a pound. I think the figures I remember are around 39 or 49 cents a pound. Which is roughly…uhh…let me get my calculator…just over a dollar a kilogram in Australian dollars. Even chicken isn’t that cheap.

4. Big, orange, round pumpkins. The kind you make jack-o-lanterns out of, or (my preference) pumpkin pies.

5. Wal Mart. If you’ve been to one, ’nuff said. If you haven’t, think Big W on steroids.

6. Freeways. Australia’s two biggest cities aren’t even joined by freeway yet, and Adelaide has two freeways. Which don’t even intersect.

7. Internet connections with no download cap. Mostly unknown down under.

8. American cheese. This is a particular variety of cheese, made out of the leftovers from Cheddar. It’s a nice, mild, yellow cheese, and my own personal favourite. Impossible to find here (although the cheese on a burger from McDonald’s or Hungry Jack’s comes close). Interestingly, while looking for a good link about American cheese, I came across a What Type of Cheese Are You? quiz, and was classified (surprise!) as American cheese.

9. Going to the gas (petrol) station at 11 pm the night before payday with three dollars in your bank account and knowing your direct deposit will make it to the bank before the $20-30 payment you’re about to make. Sometimes slow banking systems are a good thing.

10. Cheese curds. This is a very Wisconsin thing. Cheese curds are little bits of cheese that are left over in the cheesemaking process. They’re salty and tasty and the really good, fresh ones squeak when you chew them. Major staple at any potluck/picnic/family reunion-ish type thing. The A&W in Baldwin, Wisconsin, deep-fries them; also, a town 20 miles away from where I grew up calls itself the Cheese Curd capital of the world, and holds a Cheese Curd Festival every year.

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