Funny English Food

The trips to my local English grocery store are cracking me up more and more lately.  They have food with names that I simply cannot believe, and in some cases cannot figure out.  I had been quietly gathering ammo but mostly keeping mum on the subject until a work dinner party Monday night at which the subject came up and I broke down and asked, “what on earth IS spotted dick“?  There are others; I think many people know bangers (and mash) but even I was taken aback when last week I saw a box of “faggots” in the store.  A far more complete list of funny British food names is here along with a suggestion that this is the reason for Britain’s bad reputation in the food world, that it’s the names that are problematic, not the food itself.  I’m not sure I buy that; I find the food to be very heavy and remarkably lacking in a certain fresh character I would associate with modern American food (probably more appropriately “California Cuisine”).  I find British food lacking crunch, missing fresh herbs and vegetables, and thus overcooked and overprocessed overall.  Green vegetables are remarkably difficult to find on the menu here (and no, mushy peas do not count).  I also had a craving for a nice brunch last week and went out seeking a garden omelette or something similar only to find that such a thing does not exist.  The veggie version of a full English breakfast is just not very appealing to me–I only like the toast and mushrooms, and occasionally something potato-like and/or vegetarian sausages.  I just happen to not like the tomatoes, the baked beans, I can’t eat eggs that are runny (personal failing) and so overall I eat less than half of what is on the plate.  Thus, to add to my usual longings (Target!  Cheezits!) for my upcoming trip to the US (departure t minus 11 days and counting) I now have to go to Perkins for a garden omelette brunch.

8 responses to “Funny English Food

  1. Mmmmmmm, Perkins! Be sure to go to the new Super Target near Southdale on this trip. It wasn’t open yet when I was back for Labor Day.

    Speaking of food, I think there’s an entire post already lurking in a jar of Marmite near you…

  2. I don’t get the baked beans under the eggs for breakfast bit at all.

  3. pacificyorkshirebird

    I grew to love beans and eggs on toast – although I can remember thinking the concept was hugely disgusting, not sure when I changed my mind. Maybe its because the other choice is often the “full english” which I cannot eat. Too heavy and salty, and I always feel yucky after. My father in law makes the best bacon and egg sandwiches EVER, but I always feel so thirsty and unhealthy for hours after I eat one.

  4. Terry Collmann

    Mmmmm … spotted dick … the slightly slimy outside is the best bit.

    As for not liking your fried eggs runny – that’s when they’re at their best. Otherwise you can’t mix the brown sauce in and dip your toast in it.

  5. Thats just the beauty of experiencing life in other countries. I have been all over the place from Singapore to China, to the US to India. I am British and I love a full English breakfast (had one this morning as a matter of fact). While in these countries I have seen all sorts of oddness (for a British guy anyway) on the menu for breakfast. From rice and what looked like spicy mutton in China to mashed up potato, bacon, saussages etc with maple syrup spashed all over it while I was in the US (Florida on that occasion). This is one of many reasons why I love to travel, it is great seeing things like this that leave you thinking…….mmmmm OK???? I guess it would be one heck of a boring world if we all ate the same things. I must admit, I laughed when I saw the big about faggots. I think on the whole they are rarely eaten these days, most people I know, including myself, think they are rancid. Both by name and nature ;-)

  6. As I’ve seen expressed elsewhere a lot of the names derive from slang, colloquialisms and dialectic roots, such as Gallic, and the etymology of such words is quite fascinating. The semantics of a word like Faggot changes over time and can have an adverse impact upon anything that takes on such a word as a brand name. A similar example is in the use of the word “gay” – even until the late 60’s this meant nothing more than “happy” and today the meaning is being changed again when stating that something is “gay” to imply that it is stupid or useless.

    British food has suffered a poor reputation, partly engendered by the post war rationing of the 40’s & 50’s, the resistance to the perceived “foreign muck” of a xenophobic generation and the growth in mass produced, highly processed “convenience” foods. This misrepresentation is similar to the perception of American cuisine as being purely based upon the fast-food emporium, a similar inability to find fresh vegetables and a necessity for breakfast to be covered in syrup &/or powdered sugar. In my stays in America I have found the food opportunities around the accommodation to fuel this perception and only when I stayed in an apartment and was able to cook for myself was I able to fulfil my desire for fresh fruit and vegetables.

  7. Gentleman’s Relish

  8. Thor hungry. Thor want EAT.
    Hello. I’m in Engrand right now.
    American food tastes way better than English food.
    I even brought over tons of American food and everyone here devoured it.
    Ironically enough, the food they liked the most was the spray cheese.

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