A Homesick Recipe

I’m calling it homesickness, but it’s mostly just that I am just over Scotland right now. Well, that’s not exactly right either. I am annoyed at expat life (on several different levels), this is the longest I haven’t been home, I missed the excitement of the cubs in the playoffs, I missed my nephew’s birthday, I need a bunch of stuff I have to wait for until I’m stateside…I just want to go home. I am counting down the days already (6 weeks exactly!) which isn’t a good sign.

The sucky part of homesickness is you’re kinda stuck with it. Or, to fix it, it’s really expensive. I mean your options are flying home, having people fly out to you, or buying a bunch of American shit to surround yourself with in hopes of feeling less homesick. All expensive options. Seriously. Even if you’re thinking I just want to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast and Velveeta Mac n Cheese for dinner for my comfort food. IT’S EXPENSIVE.

For example. On rare occasions I do get E one box (of the 3 out) of Lucky Charms from the back of Tesco in the “American” section next to a random selection of foods, some American some not. (In case you’re looking, there is Gatorade there!)   The cost for a standard box of sugary crap.

uk lucky charmsLucky Charms = £5 = $7.63

ON ONE BOX OF CEREAL. That lasts E MAYBE 4 breakfasts.

Or today, with Halloween approaching and plans to eat candy with friends (no one trick or treats out in these parts of the country), I went to pick up some at the ASDA (UK Walmart). What is Halloween to me? Reese’s and peanut m&ms.

uk mandm10.5 ounce bag of peanut m&ms = £1.80 = $2.75

uk reeses

bag with 16 MINI reese’s cups = £2.30 = $3.51


$3.51 for 16 MINI REESE’S CUPS. What the efffffff.

So last week we were having a little party and I’m blaming homesickness, but I was dead set on making Hanky Pankys. Hanky Pankys mean different things to different people. To me and my people, it means little party rye breads with a pork sausage/ground beef/Velveeta mixture on top. I wasn’t raised in a house that had Hanky Pankys, I actually wasn’t raising in a house that ever had even Velveeta in it. But my nextdoor neighbors….they were a Hanky Pank and Velveeta loving house that I benefitted from.

So I swung by the Aberdeen store that I’d been told had American food (specifically Velveeta) last week and was told they didn’t have any of their overpriced Velveeta in stock. I was pretty annoyed but oh well, for I’m sure a little more I can get it from Amazon. I go home and first off, I couldn’t even find plain Velveeta. Secondly, what I did find, was UNGODLY expensive.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.04.58 PM

£19 = $29


Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.03.51 PM£39.99 = $61.03


But I wanted hanky pankys! I was already making my own pork sausage (okay just ground (or mince as they say here) pork with seasoning). And had already spent £9.90 on some weird German pumpernickel bread to substitute for party rye that I had to throw all away because it tasted like ass. These Hanky Pankys were becoming the most time-consuming, expensive appetizer ever. But how hard could making homemade Velveeta be?

So without further rambling or ado, for my homesick American expats, here’s how I made Hanky Pankys.

IMG_1963Expat Hanky Pankys*

  • 1 lb mince hot pork
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb mince beef
  • 1 lb Faux-veeta**
  • ¼ ounce unflavored gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons dry milk powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 16 ounces mild Scottish shredded cheddar
  • ½ tsp. Fennel SeedIMG_1990
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp. Garlic Salt
  • 2 loaves strange rectangle rye bread, each slice cut into thirds

Make Faux-veeta the night before.

Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap with extra plastic wrap hanging over the sides. Put gelatin and milk powder in a blender, add 1 cup boiling water and blend until combined. Add in the cheese and puree until mixture is well blended and smooth. Immediately pour/scoop cheese mixture into loaf pan, spreading the top layer so it’s even. Wrap completely with excess plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. And there you have Faux-veeta. This makes more than 1 lb so be sure to weigh the final product before using it in the Hanky Panky.IMG_1950

Add mince pork to a skillet and add salt, paprika, garlic powder, 1/3 tsp fennel seed, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cooke until browned. Drain fat and set cooked pork aside.

Brown mince beef. Drain fat. Add in 1lb Faux-veeta, ½ tsp Fennel Seed, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and browned pork. Stir until combined and Faux-veeta is melted.

Spoon onto bread and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in a 204 degrees C (or Gas Mark 6) oven. Enjoy!

I actually made the Faux-veeta a couple days before and made the entire mixture of stuff the night before and left it in the fridge. It’s really easy to prep it all early and just spread the mixture on bread and toss into the oven.

IMG_1962 (1)

*Hanky Panky recipe from The Seerups

**Faux-veeta (or homemade velveeta or make at home velveeta) recipe courtesy of The Brown Eyed Baker.


  1. Diane

    Hey Lauren, just discovered your blog. I have no idea what Hanky Pankys are, but I can relate to the part in the beginning about getting fed up with expat life — not necessarily the country you’re in but more the situation and missing stuff at home. I’m an American living in France and go through phases like that. Anyway, just saying hi!

    1. Lauren (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by- loving finding new bloggers. I got your messages right before I headed to Paris and I got really excited for a second thinking you were there and we could meet up! If you’re ever in Scotland do let me know.


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