When Americans like food, they eat it. When the Brits like food, they give it “protected status.” Yep, like an endangered species.
Last week, the Cornish pasty (think pie crust stuffed with filling and rolled up like a calzone and baked) joined other British delicacies like Jersey Royale potatoes and Cornish clotted cream and acquired “Protected Food Name Status” by the European Union (EU). Read more about it and view a map of the UK’s protected foods.
What’s it all mean?
Well, now the Cornish pasty will get the respect it deserves: If it’s not made in Cornwall, it can’t be called a Cornish pasty. Pasty, yes. Cornish, no.
It makes me feel a little bit sorry for the food on our shores, so sweet and vulnerable.
I live by the two-hour rule. Refrigerated food can live outside its natural habitat for two hours max. TWO HOURS MAX. It’s a guiding principle in my life.
And so you can imagine my horror the first time I wandered into a Tesco Supermarket and stumbled upon the egg aisle. The unrefrigerated egg aisle with stacks and stacks of egg cartons sitting quite happily in a non-chilled state. Gah.
Apparently, Brits aren’t bothered by this. They buy their eggs, bring them home and put them in the fridge. Why the rush? Why not leave them on the counter for a few days? This I’ve never understood. When asked, I’ve usually gotten the ho-hum, nonchalant response: “Well, eggs need to be refrigerated.” If there is an urgency to put them in a fridge when you’re home, why not the urgency at the supermarket? Not quite sure.
Does anyone know why this is? Or can anyone hasten a guess? It might just be one of those chicken-or-the-egg mysteries …
After doing a few minutes of searching on the Internets, I’ve decided that what the world sorely needs is an anthropological study of the drinking habits of people across the globe. A cultural analysis of the inebriated, complete with full color pictures. Maybe a coffee table book.
If such a book were written, then much could be said about the copious amount of singing that goes on in the United Kingdom, following last orders.
For a time, we lived in a cozy flat (translation: apartment) in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket area, a stone’s throw from quite a few pubs. And so it was that every Friday and Saturday night, we would inevitably hear the lilting melodies of “Flower of Scotland,” Scotland’s unofficial national anthem, from roving bands of merriment makers. It was like clockwork. The pubs would close and then, cue the singing. Nothing resembling The Warblers. Always “Flower of Scotland.” Sometimes something by the Pogues.
Now I’m no anthropologist but I think it’s fair to say that such a thing doesn’t happen in the US. There are bar fights, yes. Shouting, of course. Loud chatter and giggles and the clip-clop of heels hitting pavement but strains from “America the Beautiful”? Uh, I think not.
It started with a conversation with a couple of friends … they were discussing their husbands’ fascination with guns and how they cope. I responded that I don’t have that problem because my husband is British and you know that they don’t have guns in Britain.
Well, they didn’t know that. They wanted to know more.
I proceeded to explain how the cops there don’t have them so the criminals don’t have them – well, not usually. The cops there do have lovely woollen uniforms, which they were also fascinated by, and who could blame them? And one thing led to another until they both determined that a blog was in order – one that would celebrate all of these little things about Britain that Americans might not know and teach them how they, too, could live like a Brit.
Did they have to be a Middleton? Did they have to marry a Beckham? And speaking of that, what exactly is bending it like Beckham? So many questions…
And so today I’ve launched Britrish.com, an online destination to get the skinny on all things British from an American perspective. I’m not British, but I am Britrish and the welcome mat is always out! Please feel free to contact me, leave a comment, suggest a story idea, or throw me a question. Let the fun begin!