The contents of my suitcase must raise a few eyebrows amongst TSA officials. As I make the same journey several times a year you'd think they'd have more interesting items to unwrap, unfold and generally throw back in a way which guarantees they will be broken, battered and squeezed.
I'm a keen baker so high on the list in the transatlantic bag going east are cake and cookie boxes of various sizes and designs, biscoff spread,
(though -I LOVE YOU WAITROSE– this has within the last few weeks been stocked in the one proper supermarket in guernsey), salted caramel powder, baking spray ( I gave up the laborious process of melting butter, brushing it inside nooks and crannies of speciality cake tins, then flouring when I saw this wonderful stuff on the shelves in US about 6 years ago. You can buy a similar product in good UK stores but it is a LOT more expensive.
The salted caramel powder is a wonderful addition to pound cakes, or simple vanilla tray bakes, or just add it to the buttercream frosting on cap cakes. It teams wonderfully if you have a dolce de leche theme going on.
Tinned pumpkin is soooo versatile in the classic moist pumpkin roll, cupcakes, cheesecake and on and on. Indeed is there any recipe an American baker can't adapt to make use of pumpkin purée? 💜💜 This product just does not feature at all in the UK, so sadly as I stand there at the final weigh in of the case, do the shoes go or the tin of pumpkin……
Various kitchen rolls. I know Lakeland now stock a couple of these, but it's not exactly widely available. The parchment backed foil is such a great product, I just wish I had thought of it.
So what do I bring travelling when travelling west- like a container I try to fill it both ways, and lets face it the airlines allowance is hardly generous, once the minimum six pairs of shoes are in. After marmite extra strength and cadbury's dairy milk cargo for a friend (true!), I bring vanilla pods which I bulk buy. The supermarket price for vanilla pods if you are buying 2 in a jar is quite outrageous and you can. Bring this down by comparing bulk online sales. If you don't use so many then it's worth thinking abut splitting the purchase with one or two baking friends. Depending on the season I bring marzipan- I have never found a bought marzipan in any of the stores in the phoenix area to come close to renshaws brand.
The transfer seems very lopsided but the one kitchen appliance I miss most and can't bring because of the voltage is my Thermomix. I have no idea why this is not available for sale in the US – there are distributors in Canada – and I may well muse on my Thermomix another time.
The items I wish I could bring are impractical in that they are found in the chiller- I worry about the long shelf life of dairy produce because it can only be that way due to processing. Until fresh and easy (tesco's ill fated venture onto the west coast) I found it hard to source unadulterated unsalted butter. I still wonder why butter has to have sweetener or vanilla in it!
I have become more aware of the differences in what I thought were the same products, for example powdered sugar is not the same as icing sugar, it has a starch added! As baking is a science it is useful to know this.
If there was a michaels in guernsey I'd need a bigger kitchen!