Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bad Habits in Trip Planning

Ian & I have the bad habit of planning a trip...and then planning another on top of it. We are heading to England over Easter,  but his dad just booked his tickets to visit in Berlin so now we are busy planning his travel arrangements and side trips to Denmark & Italy. The problem?

  • Do we have a place to stay in Cambridge? NO
  • Do we know what horse track has steeplechases during this holiday weekend? NO
  • Do we know if the Roald Dahl museum is closed? NO
  • Do we know how to get from Stanstead to Cambridge? NO
  • Do we know if we should take the train or bus in & out from the airport? NO
  • Are all of our dishes washed? Again, a resounding NO
Need to get back into that Engy excitement. This may seem as if it would have the opposite effect, but I am going to explore some English cuisine and culture to get my Brit back.

Butty - A butty is a sandwich. The most famous butty is the chip butty. The perfect chip butty (invented in Liverpool) consists of two fairly large slices from a large white loaf, liberally buttered, layered with chips (salt and vinegar optional) and smothered in tomato sauce. 

Banger - The good old British banger is bigger and fatter than the American breakfast link sausage. It is served for dinner with fried onions and gravy, in batter as toad in the hole or for breakfast with eggs, back bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, fried potatoes, grilled tomatoes, toast and marmalade. There are also many regional sausages that combine different meats, herbs and spices. And don't forget good old Bangers and Mash.

Beer mat - Pubs always serve beer on a little card coaster which advertises the brewery or beer. They make great frisbees and are used for several pub games/jokes/tricks.

Bevvy - If someone asks you if you want to come out for a bevvy, they are asking you to the pub for a beer.

Biscuit - Cookie in America. Though the large home-made chocolate chip type things would also be referred to as cookies in England. We also use the word "biscuit" to mean cracker, for instance you will see "biscuits for cheese" in the supermarkets, which are assortments of crackers. 

Bitter - Bitter is what we call beer. However, this is not what you call "beer" - we call that lager. Beers are the dark ales that are so popular amongst British drinkers. Served a little below room temperature, but not cold like yours. This is the most popular alcoholic beverage of the UK male drinking population. It is served in pints at just under room temperature (real ales, however are served AT room temperature). Real Ales are non carbonated beers made from hops and barley. 

Black pudding - Missed by Brits in America, thin or thick black pudding is one of the staples of a cooked breakfast. Looking like a black sausage it is made from pigs blood and fat. Sounds horrid, but like faggots, you should try it before passing judgement!

Bubble & Squeak
Bubble & Squeak -  Bubble & squeak is an old English breakfast dish made from frying up left over greens and potato.

Clotted cream - This cream looks a bit scary at first. It is yellow and crusty on top. It is thicker than single cream or double cream and totally delicious. It is served in blobs with cakes or spread on scones.

Crackling - The skin of the pork joint, scored with a knife, rubbed with salt and roasted so that it crunches around the outside of the meat. Fabulous!

Cream Tea - This is something you should definitely try when you visit England, particularly if you are visiting the little villages of Cornwall or the West Country. A real cream tea consists of a pot of tea, some fresh warm scones that you spread with homemade strawberry jam and top with thick, yellow, clotted cream. 

Crisps - Salt and vinegar, cheese and onion, beef, smoky bacon. Crisps are called chips in America.

Crumpet - One of the oldest traditions in English foody fads is the crumpet. A cratered flat cake. Toasted and covered in butter, so that it drips into the holes, the crumpet is enjoyed at tea on a Sunday, during the winter. It is about the size and shape of an English muffin (itself recently introduced to the UK and unheard of by most Brits!). Crumpet also has another meaning. Men might refer to women as a bit of crumpet, or they might fancy some crumpet tonight.
Curry - England has more than it's fair share of Indian restaurants. Anything from a korma or a bhuna to a madras or a vindaloo are amongst the favourite curries. Curry houses are one of the few places that serve alcohol (lager) after the pubs shut. Therefore it is very popular, after your 10 pints of lager, to pop next door to the curry house for 10 more pints, some poppadoms and a good curry.

English muffin - No such thing. Nobody seems to know why these are called this. Until recently, they were not available in England. Even now that some supermarkets stock them, most Brits think they are things you get in America. And they think they are big fluffy things! Cause we're not big on muffins either.

Faggot -  Made by many butchers, they are meatballs wrapped in a casing of intestine. Delicious! The best known commercial brand is Brains Faggots - eat them with gravy.

Deliciously greasy Fish & Chips
Fish and chip shop -The chip shop has been an important part of the British culinary experience. Mimicked badly on your side of the water nothing beats a good bag of Cod'n'chips, some mushy peas and a saveloy.

Haggis - One of the best known and most misunderstood Scottish inventions. Haggis is made from offal and grain and is held together in a sheep's stomach. It can be grilled, fried, or boiled whole. It is absolutely delicious and is traditionally served with neaps and tatties (turnips and mashed potato).

Jellied eels - In the east end of London, these are a local tradition and delicacy. As the name suggests they are simply eels, cooked and left to set in their own jelly.

Joint - Either something containing wacky backy that you smoke to get high, or a piece of meat that is roasted on a Sunday with roast spuds, roast parsnips, veggies and gravy. Like roast leg of pork and crackling. Mmmmmmmm!

Mushy peas - An English tradition. Mushy peas are reconstituted dried peas that go all mushy. They are often served with fish and chips, or on their own with mint sauce.

Nosh - This is simply another word for food. If you were going out for some nosh it would mean you were going to get some lunch or dinner at a restaurant. Posh nosh is what you get at expensive restaurants.

Pickled onions - These little onions are a staple part of the British diet. Every kitchen has a jar in the cupboard or the fridge and many people still make their own. Peeled little shallots in pickling vinegar and eaten with cheese and salads.

Pie - This word is more of a subtle difference in usage. Unless specified otherwise, a pie would default to a meat pie with a pastry lid. Of course, we still have apple pies and the like. Pie's always have lids. No lid - no pie! We call that a tart.

Pimms - Another English tradition. Pimms is a liquor that you mix with lemonade in a tall glass with slices of apple, orange and cucumber and some fresh mint leaves. It is a summer, outside sort of drink that people drink at home and at the races, Wimbledon, Ascot, Henley etc. It is fairly alcoholic.

Ploughman's Lunch - You'll see these in pubs on the menu at lunchtime. Basically it's a chunk of cheese, some pickle, a pickled onion and a hunk of (hopefully) nice bread. Sometimes the cheese will be substituted with a piece of home baked ham.

Rasher - You have to have a couple of back rashers with a proper English breakfast. You would call them slices of bacon.
Scones - These look like your biscuits but must ONLY be eaten with clotted cream and strawberry jam. If you are ever lucky enough to encounter real scones (with or without currants), in England or on a British Airways flight, cut the scone in half and spread the jam on each half, top it off with the cream and enjoy it WITH a cup of tea. No other method is permitted or forgivable. Most arrests of American tourists are for eating Scones the wrong way!

Scotch egg - Horrid, though they are, I actually like scotch eggs! They are hard-boiled eggs surrounded in a half-inch layer of sausage meat and coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Then you eat them cold at picnics!

Shepherd's pie - Originally made from leftovers, this is not a true pie, nor does it contain any shepherds! It is minced lamb, cooked with some veggies and topped with mashed potato (sometimes with cheese) on top and grilled till brown. Not to be confused with Cottage Pie which is almost the same, but with minced beef.

Simnel cake - This is the traditional British Easter cake. It is a heavy fruit cake with a thick layer of marzipan right through the centre. There is marzipan on the top too plus usually balls or chicks made from marzipan decorating the top. Excellent with a cuppa.

Spotted dick -Spotted dick is a suet pudding with dried fruit and is an excellent pudding in winter with custard.

Tarts - If you flirt with members of the opposite sex you could be described quite legitimately as a tart. If you are a pastry base with jam or fruit topping you would also be a tart. But in this instance you may have cream or custard poured over you! 

Tea - One of the English classics. Tea is either a drink made from tea leaves (loose in a pre warmed pot), boiling water, served in china cups, milk first and at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Or tea is the name for the meal served early evening, nowadays by Grandma and Grandad since most modern folk eat dinner at about 7:30pm or later.

Toad in the hole - You may see this on the menu in a pub or restaurant. It is basically Yorkshire pudding or batter with sausages embedded in it.

Twiglets - These are an important part of the British culinary culture. They look and feel like little sticky twigs, though they are really a snack with a strange marmite tang - hence the stickiness. Try them when you visit.

Vacuum flask - A vacuum flask is a thermos to you. It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. I have an ice cream and some coffee in mine. Not!

Yorkshire Pudding

Wine gums - These are a kind of sweet that are made from the same stuff as Gummi-bears. They are bigger and round and very useful for shutting the kids up for about an hour!

Yorkshire pudding - You may see this on the menu in a pub or restaurant. It is a light batter that rises when it is cooked. In pubs you will sometimes see huge ones that rise at the edges to form a sort of bowl. The middle can be filled with anything from sausages and beans, to soup or stew. Worth a try if they look good. Traditionally, smaller Yorkshire puds are served with roast beef, as an accompaniment with horseradish sauce and gravy, roast spuds and veggies.

For more of the insanity: www.effingpot.com/food


We did eventually get some planning done in our post Booking in England. You can also check what exactly we did and more UK adventures.


~ cheryl said...

Ya gotta remember few people have ever boasted about the mouthwatering gems of British cooking. Most of these things - kippers, bangers, etc. are crap!

Unknown said...

Booo! Brit food is making a comeback. And we are going to eat lots of it's tastiness very soon

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008