Rule Brittania

July 5th, 2013 § 0 comments

Americans are amused and sometimes repulsed by oddly named British desserts: Spotted Dick, Toad in the Hole, Roly Poly, etc. They are missing a treat. Many of these desserts make ample use of expertly made custard plus dates, raisin and other good things. There is a club in London (Members are mostly “old boys” of posh schools like Eton and Harrow) which meets periodically to consume abundant amounts of these yummies. HG is fond of bangers, the rather bland but good British sausages, and Scotch eggs, the pub treat of fried and breaded hard boiled eggs. An unpleasant habit of the British is serving canned baked beans and tinned mushrooms with a breakfast of eggs and bacon (plus cold toast, of course). At “chippies” (Fish and chips eateries), the classic duo of fish and chips (French fries) is often accompanied by “mushy peas,” a vile concoction. Most of the old criticism of British cooking (bland, mushy, boring, over-cooked) no longer applies. As a foodie destination, London is on a par with New York, filled with excellent restaurants of every description and ethnicity. But, if you are on a budget, it is wise to concentrate on Indian and Korean food. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding still stars at Simpson’s on the Strand and Dover sole rules at J. Sheekey. These are two of the world’s best dishes and are unsurpassed at these historic restaurants. A very good, properly brewed pot of tea is available all over London, even at museum cafeterias. HG/BSK always interrupt their visits at the Tate Modern and Albert & Victoria with tea plus crumpets lavishly adorned with jam and clotted cream. Londoners bemoan the fact that there are only one or two traditional “eel and pie” shops (specializing in jellied eels) remaining. HG does not share their sadness.


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