‘The ready meals just never end’: American tourists film their first-ever visit to an M&S


‘The ready meals just never end.’

So say American tourists Cara Atwell and Jeremy Davis as they film their first-ever trip to an M&S Foodhall, which they describe on their YouTube video of the expedition as ‘unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before’.

The couple are startled by the sheer number of ‘heat and eat’ meals on offer as they browse the aisles in the Chester store.

‘How would you choose dinner?’ asks Cara. ‘Because there are just so many things that sound wonderful.’

They find the descriptions on them delightful.

American tourists Cara Atwell and Jeremy Davis (above) film their first-ever trip to an M&S Foodhall, which they describe as 'unlike anything we've ever experienced before'

American tourists Cara Atwell and Jeremy Davis (above) film their first-ever trip to an M&S Foodhall, which they describe as ‘unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before’

Cara and Jeremy visit the M&S Foodhall in Chester (above)

Cara and Jeremy visit the M&S Foodhall in Chester (above)

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Cara notes the ‘hearty and generous’ shepherd’s pie, and the ‘tender and comforting’ cottage pie.

She told MailOnline Travel separately: ‘I think the biggest surprise we had at M&S was the vast number of ready meals they have.

‘The meal descriptions are part of the experience. I don’t think you’ll find a lot of food in the U.S that say things like “comforting gravy”.’

Other offerings the couple are enticed by include beef-filled Yorkshire pudding (‘yes, please!’), salmon fillets (‘they look decadent’), Percy Pig ice cream (‘woah!’), the pre-packaged fruits (‘so much better than what you could find in the U.S’), the Danish pastries (‘they look amazing’), and the ‘cheese and onion deli filler’.

Cara says: ‘Does that mean you can just use two slices of bread and slap some of that cheese and onion mixture in there and have a cheese and onion sandwich? That sounds like a good thing for me.’

'How would you choose dinner?' asks Cara. 'Because there are just so many things that sound wonderful'

‘How would you choose dinner?’ asks Cara. ‘Because there are just so many things that sound wonderful’

The Percy Pig sweets are a major hit with Cara and Jeremy

The Percy Pig sweets are a major hit with Cara and Jeremy

They end up buying ‘an assortment of random things’ – including M&S Collection crisps (prosciutto and formaggio), Percy Pig sweets, Colin the Caterpillar softies, a toad-in-the-hole ready meal, and a ‘steak and old peculier ale pie’ main for one.

However, there is some confusion before they get to the till to pay.

Over the ‘tuna and sweetcorn deli filler’, for starters. Upon spying it, Cara says: ‘What is that like? We do not put corn in our tuna. And I’m very curious about it.’

Cara is also stumped by the jars of goose fat. ‘It’s a cooking medium,’ says Jeremy.

‘Have you seen that in the U.S?’ asks Cara. ‘No, but it makes sense,’ says Jeremy.

The steak and old peculier ale pie ends up being one of the most treasured purchases

The steak and old peculier ale pie ends up being one of the most treasured purchases

Cara and Jeremy said of their visit: 'The experience was better than we expected. There was a great selection of items and the employees that we came in contact with were kind and helpful'

Cara and Jeremy said of their visit: ‘The experience was better than we expected. There was a great selection of items and the employees that we came in contact with were kind and helpful’

The pair are also miffed by the location of the shopping trolleys, which are ‘hidden down a weird alleyway’ in the store.

And that’s not all.

We asked them how ‘alien’ the experience felt.

They said: ‘The most alien feeling about shopping at M&S is the fact that the food hall is housed inside the department store. In the U.S, you might find a high-end department store that has a small cafe or a candy counter, but not a full grocery section.’

Which items that they’d not heard of did they find the most enticing?

They said: ‘We had had some of our viewers tell us about “toad in the hole”, but we hadn’t really investigated what it was. We have something called toad in the hole in the U.S, but it’s a piece of bread that you cut a hole in to cook an egg. After seeing it at M&S, we bought and tried it, and it turned out to be one of our favourites.’

What did the couple end up buying? 'An assortment of random things'

What did the couple end up buying? ‘An assortment of random things’

THE VERDICT ON THE M&S FOODHALL HAUL…

In a post-shop taste test Cara and Jeremy enjoy the Percy Pig sweets (‘fruity and sweet and delightful’), the Colin the Caterpillar softies (‘really nice, so good’) and the old peculier ale pie (‘that beef is so tender, it melts in your mouth’).

Cara tucks into a Percy Pig sweet during a post-trip taste test

Cara tucks into a Percy Pig sweet during a post-trip taste test

Cara and Jeremy's steak and old peculiar ale pie

The toad in the hole

Cara and Jeremy’s steak and old peculiar ale pie (left) and their toad in the hole (right)

The toad in the hole is also declared a winner – ‘a really nice mixture, for something just thrown in the oven for 20 minutes, pretty good, way to go M&S!’

They added in an email to MailOnline Travel: ‘The item that we both seemed to enjoy the most was the “steak and old peculiar ale pie”. 

‘We had tried a heat-and-eat pie from Sainsbury’s before and it was okay, but the pie from M&S was much better quality and tasted more like something you get in a restaurant or pub.’

In a post-shop taste test that they film, they also enjoy the Percy Pig sweets (‘fruity and sweet and delightful’), the Colin the Caterpillar softies (‘really nice, so good’) and the old peculier ale pie (‘that beef is so tender, it melts in your mouth’). 

They added in an email to MailOnline Travel: ‘The item that we both seemed to enjoy the most was the “steak and old peculiar ale pie”. We had tried a heat-and-eat pie from Sainsbury’s before and it was okay, but the pie from M&S was much better quality and tasted more like something you get in a restaurant or pub.’

Would they recommend M&S Food to other visiting Americans?

They said: ‘The experience was better than we expected. There was a great selection of items and the employees that we came in contact with were kind and helpful. Above all, the quality of the food there was really good. We would recommend M&S to other Americans. It is probably the most different supermarket experience from what we have in the U.S. They have so many interesting options for great quality foods. But it is more expensive.’

Cara and Jeremy post on social media as The Magic Geekdom. They can be found at www.instagram.com/themagicgeekdom; twitter.com/magicgeekdom; www.tiktok.com/@themagicgeekdom; and www.facebook.com/themagicgeekdom. The original M&S Foodhall video can be found here.





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