English Things I Miss, Part 2: On Biscuits, and Such

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I had pancakes for breakfast yesterday and I took it totally for granted. God, how quickly we forget the hard times.

Back in the day, (when I was living on nothing but beer and chicken-flavored potato chips), finding any kind of American baked good was like a treasure hunt.

I was reminded of this when I visited Lisa Taylor this morning and she mentioned tea cakes. Mmmm don’t “tea cakes” sound just delightful? Well, they aren’t. They are just an amalgamation of flour and baking powder and sugar backed in a tiny formed pan and having the consistency of sea sponge.

British food, almost without exception, is awful. It’s mushy when it should be fresh or extra deep fat fried when it should be soft and flakey. Or it contains “bacon” which is actually ham. It is hard and stiff-upper-lipped when it should be warm and comforting.

Historically, this has resulted in binge drinking at delightfully lovely pubs in the evening– to blot out the horror of the day’s eating and also to avoid having to eat supper. Don’t worry– the protein in the salted peanuts will get you by.

More recently, with the advent of aeroplanes and Chinese shipping containers, it has resulted in the import of “real food” from other places, such as the great frontiers of America (made in Taiwan). Nothing hits the spot after a late night round like a stop at HRH’s KFC.

Thanks Lisa, for reminding me how much I am missing. And thanks Colin, for the pancakes.

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  5 comments for “English Things I Miss, Part 2: On Biscuits, and Such

  1. Colin
    February 16, 2010 at 11:43 am

    You are very welcome. Since I also hold a British passport, I must come to the defense of some British food:

    1. sausages – I know you agree on this one.
    2. Cadbury chocolate vs. Hersheys – I know you disagree.

  2. Grinder
    February 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Oddly I had Waffles last night and they were GREAT!!!! I am now hungry.

  3. Leonard
    February 18, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Your blog seems very interesting :) How come you are staying in the UK? You’re from Connecticut, aren’t you? :)

    • February 22, 2010 at 9:23 am

      Leonard, thanks. We were in the UK for three years, prior to moving to CT. Occasionally I have blindingly vivid flashbacks of my London days, and they often include food, and the weather.

  4. January 26, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Elizabeth,

    Thank you for stopping in on my little blog, how extraordinary is this world of bloggers! I love finding someone from home who has been on some of the same adventures AND writes so wonderfully well.

    I have flashbacks of food, but mine are from France, sniff, quite the polar opposite to the UK. However, I was so happy on one visit to London to find nachos with cheese, a friend with a stash of Girl Scout cookies and Oreos, sad, but true.

    My daughter wants to grow up and live in the UK, but be wealthy enough to import her own French cook and food, lol!

    I’m off to further explore the delirious writing of your world.

    Angela

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