What's this you say? You went out for breakfast and got UN-scrambled eggs, flimsy untoasted white bread with no butter, and sad lettuce and tomato, undressed? Typical British cuisine?
Well Dear Readers, you will be relieved to hear this disaster happened in ROME, not England! I can honestly tell you that if British cuisine was ever as bland as its reputation, it's come a long way! We have been eating very well this Fall, enjoying the pubs, restaurants, grocery stores, and "takeaways." The food has been a highlight of our sabbatical! (And the fruity waffle photo in the email you received for this blog post was from a very nice breakfast in London.)
There is no DoorDash nor meal delivery service available in our tiny village, conveniences we admittedly enjoyed back home during the Pandemic. Grocery delivery works great and is almost free, but I enjoy exploring the different supermarkets too. And we just discovered that every Tuesdsay at 6:45 PM, the Fish & Chip van pulls into town. They park across the street from our house and the food is fresh, hot, and crispy! This may become a Tuesday habit. Some Fortnum & Mason tartare sauce is a nice enhancement - while Robin enjoys vinegar on his fries (chips).
Did someone say "Fortnum & Mason?" I received a lovely holiday package from my favorite London department store, which was nice since I couldn't carry everything I wanted to buy when we visited. The "Hedgerow" preserve (made of damsons and blackberries) is out-of-this-world on a fresh scone, and we'll be trying the cranberry sauce and piccalilly on Christmas Day. Who was my benefactor you wonder? Well, perhaps I ordered it for myself! And maybe it also included a little box of glacé fruit as a gift to me?
Desserts and cocktails seem to be British specialties, even in the local pubs. Some are better than others, and we are keeping notes on our long list of places to try for "research." London cocktails aren't cheap, but they ARE tasty (and often pretty!). Check out a typical Mr. Fogg's drink menu! Saturday Farmers Markets are another great opportunity, which are year-round here. They have good produce as well as prepared treats, like Robin's favorite Cornish Pasties (a meat and vegetable turnover).
We love that we can sample the cuisine of so many nations in London. We've enjoyed Malaysian, Mexican, Indian, and Lebanese restaurants so far. I also love the very English Sunday roast dinners served in country pubs. You'll get melt-in-your mouth chicken, crispy roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding (think popover), 4-5 different vegetables, and a pitcher of gravy. It's like Thanksgiving once a week, and always a bargain at under £20. Also, there are always appealing vegetarian options on restaurant and pub menus. I really like seeing that.
On a related note, I fortunately have lost a few pounds in 2023. My doctor suggested I quit eating after 5 PM, and I've been able to follow that advice. Along with plenty of walking and a second-hand exercise bike, it seems to be working. I hope to return to the US a little slimmer than I was, but I will NOT be able to blame it on "unappealing food in England." In fact, it has been part of the joy to try all there is to offer. It's a wonderful life!
Our son CJ will be visiting England for Christmas, and we're going to take a quick train trip to Paris for him to see the sights along the River Seine. Then I'll be traveling back to the US in January to visit my Mom for a few days. I wish you all joyous holidays and a Happy New Year. See you in 2024!