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

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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