Monday, April 2, 2012

Why I Love Great Britain and the British -- Part 2

On Wednesday, I blogged an overview of why I'm an unrepenting Anglophile.  Today, I'm sitting in a British version of a worldwide coffee establishment, where not only can I get a mocha that tastes radically different (but equally delicious) to my neighborhood cafe, but I could also choose from a selection of scones and "toasted multi-fruit bread" to sandwiches like cheese and Branston pickle or egg mayonnaise.

As I said before, I love British food.  It used to be said that hell would be a place run by the French, entertained by the Germans and catered by the British.  (and heaven a place catered by the French, run by the Germans and entertained by the British).  The Brits are famous for overboiled cabbage, gamey roasts and flavorless cakes.  But aside from my first years here when I couldn't find a decent cup of coffee (even the fine establishments served instant.  Instant!) I've not been disappointed by the food.

Of course, fish and chips are the best.  So.  Much.  Grease.  And there is absolutely nothing like a plain scone served with homemade strawberry jam and clotted Cornish cream.  But I've also learned to love pasties (though I lean towards the cheese and onion ones, being a mostly vegetarian - fish is my downfall).

The British sometimes think of odd combinations of flavors.  Especially pizza.  Imagine a pizza with corn kernels on it.  Or a fried egg.  Or tuna.  And Branston pickle is definitely an acquired taste - a cross between what Americans know as pickle relish and a chutney.  I'm still not down with vinegar on my potato chips, and only tasted the roast beef flavor crisps once.  Ahem.

I also love British sweets.  Cadbury's is the epitome of great milk chocolate.  And Green and Black's makes a gorgeous organic and free trade dark chocolate that is to die for.  I love fruit pastilles - a chewy fruit-flavored, sugar-encrusted sweet a little like gumdrops, but much better.  And wine gums.  Yes, sweets for kids named after wine.  Desserts like banoffee pie and treacle tart and spotted dick are listed on restaurant menus along with hot apple pie with cream (or custard).  And you have not lived until you have fresh strawberries and double cream.  I always come home with ginger nuts and plain (dark) chocolate digestive biscuits in my suitcase (these are both packaged cookie-type goods.)  And I adore attending British weddings where the cake is almost always a fruit cake covered in marzipan and fondant.  Really, you can't knock it until you try it.

I could go on.  But I won't.  I think that scone over there is calling my name...


  1. "I think that scone over there is calling my name..." I can understand why. It looks delicious! And it has been far too long since I've spent time in England. Must correct that.

  2. I just had breakfast, but I'm hungry again! Marzipan! Enjoy that scone, and the fish.