Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 92

Getting out about

In my little head, what I really want to be doing during my time here is journeying all over the USA – seeing cowboys at a Rodeo, gasping over enormous canyons, oggling Gracelands, throwing my arms up with the Sunday church brigade, taking a whisky sour at a blues bar, eating lobster on the shore line, hitting the boardwalk in the sunset on rollerskates and making conversation with those who live north, south, east and west of where I currently reside.


(And, on a side note, I would like a soundtrack of tunes to accompany me. I’m thinking everything from Elvis to Journey to 80s dance tunes. Strange but true.)


But, this Bill Bryson-esque journey-athon is not an entirely feasible thing to do, since I have a son in school, a part-time job and do not possess wads of cash to go gallivanting about all the States in such a wondrous and frivolous manner.


But my current status is reflecting in my blogging. I am blogging from what I see and hear and observe in my present situation, so this to me, right now, right here is ‘America’. And I am under no illusions that this is just it, or that this is how it is throughout. My wish is to see these other places and areas, so forgive me if my blogging is a little subjective, a little HoCo-orientated, a little moderate in behaviours, a little East Coast MD, a little suburban; it’s just that is what I’m seeing, hearing, observing and feeling.

It would be the same to be an expat in the UK – a blog about life in a Cotswold village would be far removed from a blog about a life in Soho, London. (Believe me, I’ve lived both in the Cotswolds and London and they ARE NOT THE SAME ;))


The Cotswold village of Bibury

However, I am totally aware that even if I travel just 30 miles south or north or east or west of HoCo things are different again – laws are different, people have different accents, lifestyles are different, geography is different, wealth and poverty and culture are different, and religion and politics make a huge amount of difference to how things are. And that is amazing to see and makes me realise how places can be so unique and strange and wonderful and different, and I embrace it all and ponder on it and am constantly bemused and amused and confused – in a good way.

And whilst I am fortunate enough to have done NYC, Virginia and Florida (see past blogs 49, 65, 71 and 76 for my observations on these areas) – this gal is craving more America, more reality, more sights and sounds!

So bring on the summer, because that means bring on the travelling! πŸ™‚

High fructose corn syrup (aka The Devil)

“There is sugar in bread,” a friend told me before I came out here.
“Surely not,” I replied.
“There bloody well is,” she confirmed with vigour (she’s British, hence the ‘bloody’).

She’s right, don’t you know.

This is a normal supermarket British loaf’s ingredients: Wholemeal Wheat Flour,Water ,Salt ,Spirit Vinegar ,Yeast ,Soya Flour ,Emulsifier (Mono- and Di-Acetyltartaric Esters of Mono- and Di-Glycerides of Fatty Acids) ,Vegetable Oil ,Flour Treatment Agent (Ascorbic Acid).

Okay, not great, but at least no sugar.

By comparison, an American grocery store’s loaf’s ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Salt, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Cracked Wheat, Oats, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Wheat Bran, Whey, Soybeans, Wheat Germ, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin.

That’s not just sugar, that’s the Devil Incarnate (so I am told): HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. I don’t really remember seeing it in anything in the UK, though it probably is lurking in various things and I was totally unaware, but HFCS has reared its nasty, cavity-making, gut-increasing syrupy head since I’ve been in the USA, and I’m not liking it too much….


And the blighter is everywhere.

What is it? Basically, it goes in processed foods and it is said to rot your teeth and lead to many health issues.

OMG, I have looked at stuff in my cupboard and it is in soooo much stuff. Out damn HFCS. Be gone! It is being blamed for many issues surrounding obesity and it beggars belief that it is being allowed in stuff, me thinks. Health government type people up on high – what’s going on with the HFCS thingymajig?

I would love to know from American bloggers when it appeared and if it has really had such a dramatic impact on obesity and health……

I’m popping off to the organic shop and being all virtuous now (plus you get to nibble stuff as you go round, so that’s ace).


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13 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 92

  1. Nicole says:

    Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen, it explains HFCS in all its glory. And HoCo has a number of wonderful places to buy staples without it though like David’s Natural Market, MOM’s, Roots, Great Harvest and a number of farms too (Breezy Willow is one).

  2. kate says:

    With you on the tavel – bar eating the lobster – you do know they normally boil them alive don’t you?

  3. Vyvian says:

    Hi Claire – you are right to be wary about HFCS, but wrong to thing it’s worse than sugar – it’s exactly the same – equally bad! They are metabolised by your liver in the same way, and turned straight to liver fat..

  4. ThatOtherGuy says:

    HFCS is indeed in everything. It acts as both a sweetener and a filler so it makes everything cheaper. It’s also subsidized by arcane laws designed to protect corn growers in the Midwest who crush any politician that threatens their stranglehold. The rest of the world wonders why Americans are so fat, there’s your answer. Even the bread we eat is laden with sugar. Also, WRT lobster, they don’t boil them alive much anymore. Usually they put a well placed knife through their tiny brains. Whether this assuages your guilt or not is up to you.

  5. Elizabeth Mitchell says:

    Luv, if it comes out of a box it’s probably NOT good for you! My rule is out of the ground to the table with just a stop under the facet to rinse off the dirt. Off the hook to the cutting board , to
    descale and clean….you get idea. As for bread make your own or…..look for Ezekiel’s Bread in the freezer Section of the organic market. Grain sprouted , very good!
    As for summer you must come to the shore with me and give surfing a go!

  6. jacqueline moore says:

    Cheer up! (about the groceries, at least) Not all horrible additives are a bad thing. Next time you’re in the supermarket reading labels, take a stroll down the aisle where the bottled salad dressings are-the non-refrigerated ones that read “best used before July 2037 A.D.”. Look for the additive: Propylene Glycol Alginate. Bad news- it won’t help you reach your daily requirement of vitamins. But the good news-in the human body it prevents the absorption of strontium, the villain in radioactive fallout. The way things are going lately, it might not be a bad idea to keep a bottle or two in the pantry.

  7. Pingback: Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 154 | ukdesperatehousewifeusa

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