Sunday, September 18, 2011

Brits and their food

Around this time of year when the weather gets colder, I like to start baking. Well, I like baking all throughout the year, but during fall especially. Pies, muffins, cakes all seem to taste better when its cold outside. Plus the hot oven seems to warm the whole house with the smell of wonderfulness wafting through. As we are coming up on our one year anniversary of living in London, I'm getting frustrated (again) with British food (and supermarkets!). Specialty items I cook with such as Karo syrup, molassas syrup, velveeta cheese and pumpkin pie filling is very difficult to come by. I have eventually figured out where to buy most things - thanks to a Whole Foods (about 1 hour away), and suitcases filled with goodies from home!
Here are some other odd food related observations coming from an American.

  • Hamburgers are eaten plain. Sometimes with cheese. And maybe mayonnaise or ketchup. But you won't find the bacon and avocado with lettuce, cheese and tomato burger here. Sad. No wonder people don't eat them very often! 
  • Also, hamburgers are made by mixing ground beef (or whatever meat you use) with bread crumbs. This only creates a dry burger. And one impossible for a gluten-intolerant person to eat. 
  • If you were to tell a friend, "I will bring a pie for dinner tonight", it means that you're bringing the main course. It can either be a pie crust with a meat filling on the inside, or a meat (usually seafood) casserole with mashed potatoes and cheese on the top, broiled until brown. 
  • For those Brits who read this blog -a  pie in America is a dessert - apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie and so on. Unless you specify Chicken Pot Pie, which is the only pie that is for dinner. Mmmmm. Pie. 
  • I have been so frustrated with buying fruit here. Lately, the day after I buy it, I will find parts of it going moldy. I know food here is supposed to be bought fresh and eaten soon after buying, but sometimes I don't get through all 4 peaches in one day. Shocking! I would really appreciate if it stayed mold-free for more than a day or two. 
  • In all honesty, pub food is no good. Every pub has practically the same menu, and it includes fish and chips, pasta, sausage and mashed potatoes, ham and eggs. Its really depressing going out to eat for me. You know that nothing is going to "wow' you. The one thing that Brits do well is Indian food. They do make a really good curry. 
  • British beef is also not good. Whenever possible, we buy Scottish. According to the CEO's wife (of Dave's company), the reason for this is that British cows are unhappy. This is just applied when we go out to eat (if ordering a steak, get a USDA or Scottish one) or when at the grocery store. 
  • When people eat things with whipped cream, like strawberries, the cream they use is not sweetened. They use a whipping cream or double cream, but add no (or very little) sugar to it. Why not show sugar some love? 
  • Words like tortillas and jalapenos are pronounced phoenetically... aka tortillas sounds like "tor-til-as" rather than "tor-tee-yas" and jalapenos are pronounced with an "n" rather than an " ". Paella is prounounced pie-el-a. 
I don't mean to come across too negatively, but it has been hard to get used to food here! We went from  eating out often (and for cheaply) to eating out (or getting take-out) maybe once a week. I get exhausted from menu planning, finding substitutes for the recipes I have, making sure the recipe is gluten-intolerant-friendly, walking to the grocery store daily, and doing dishes all.the.time. Seriously. Cooking would be so much more fun if I didn't have to clean up afterwards! Someday we will have a house with a dishwasher. someday. 


khall1026 said...

You sound tired :(

Wish I could give you a hand.

Catharina said...

A dishwasher is awesome....and yet not as wonderful as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because I, too, am cooking all.the.time. I will be thankful though the next time that I go to shop that I am able to find nearly everything that I want/need easily and am readily able to tell if it is "glutard" friendly. Thanks for keeping us posted on all of life's adventures...and you are still my hero! I mention to Robbie frequently how I admire your flexibility, adaptivity and adventurousness is embarking on this crazy, amazing journey of the last year.

Anonymous said...

Moan moan moan. So you are a yank stuck in our beautiful country for what ever reason. "Suck it up!" to use an American term, go out and find the good, adjust, explore and discover the finest. 
Although you are in an alien country, be positive, try to find the simple pleasures in life. England is not America but somewhere between the two is a balance. 
Find it if you can, then enjoy life.

Anonymous-1 said...

Hope this helps.