A photo posted by Tina Trenkner-Meade (@tinatrenkner) on

In Auckland, there is a store that sells American foodstuffs and cosmetics and other things called Martha’s Backyard. It has a website here, and a brick-and-mortar shop in a suburb called Mt Wellington.

It offers lots of promising stuff that elicits glees: Funfetti cake. Airheads. Sour Patch Kids. A 50-pack of red Solo-like cups.

I haven’t had a huge nagging need to go check it out to buy things like hot sauce or whatever. There would be times where I would be cooking and I would think to myself: “This would be better with Old Bay” or the Kiwi would say that we need hot sauce for Buffalo Chicken soup.

And yet: Last weekend we were driving around Auckland, exploring neighborhoods, buying things for our place, etc. A wrong turn took us into a shopping center with … the American store.

So much for buying things for the apartment. We’re going in, like it or not. And it was glorious for this Yank:

Halloween decorations in August


What’s more American than selling decorations for holidays that are months away?

Much Bath and Body Works

Teenaged Tina called, she wants to know what happened to Country Apple.

All the hot sauce and spices


No Goya though. I will faint of shock if and when I see Goya any in New Zealand. I could use some Adobo.



Peach Snapple is the taste of childhood summers. Its commercials played all the time on New York TV when I was a kid.



Evidently, Mexican sodas have been co-opted by ‘Merica. Pro tip: Throw some pineapple Jarritos with some Bacardi Strawberry Daiquiri frozen mix. Add ice and blend. So good.

Want to take a guess for the store’s most popular product?

Arguably, it’s EOS lip balm. The ones that look like little eggs, making them easy to find in your purse. They go for $8.50 NZD – the cashier was telling me they’re a hot commodity. I remember a friend bringing a stash for a Kiwi family member since they’re only like $2.99 USD at Target.

Look what we got! EOS Lemon Drop SPF 15. Get it while it lasts! #eos #marthasbackyard

A photo posted by @marthasbackyard on

So what did we walk out with?

• A big can of Old Bay (spice mix used for crabs. Or anything: Bloody Marys, roast chicken, french fries, pasta with olive oil and pecorino…)
• A half-and-half Snapple in plastic bottle.
• A bottle of hot sauce