Peanut Butter and Ranch Dressing: What Americans Abroad Miss From Home


Lauren Kulwicki, 33, a community engagement specialist from Ohio, has lived in Munich for four years. “I don’t think I’ve had a real chocolate chip cookie since arriving in Germany,” she said. Brown sugar and vanilla extract are grocery store rarities, and the chocolate chips are the wrong shape and have less flavor, she added.

Nicole Trilivas, 37, a freelance travel writer who has lived in London for six years, said that when she is homesick, she finds herself craving Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, the kind Hershey’s releases around Easter. “When you choose to eat these kinds of things, you’re bringing up memories from childhood,” she said. “Rather than feeding yourself physically, you’re feeding yourself emotionally.”

When Ms. Trilivas is in New York, she usually stocks up on packets of dehydrated ranch dressing — “a barbecue summer staple” that evokes memories of outdoor gatherings with friends and family. Under different circumstances, she would be home now and spending time with her niece, who was born in July.

Will Jernigan, 26, is homesick for a regional specialty: green chiles from New Mexico. He is from Durango, Colo., near the state’s border with New Mexico, and driving with friends and family to stock up on chiles is an annual late-summer tradition, one that he will have to skip this year.

“Mexican food in general is impossible to find here,” said Mr. Jernigan, who works at the U.N. Migration Agency in Geneva. “This is one particular aspect of Mexican food I miss the most.”

After living outside of the United States for more than a decade, Kendra Valentine, 35, has narrowed down the foods she packs in her suitcase from Boston to Berlin to a few favorites, like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Cap’n Crunch.



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