Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 424

British food / American food

Marmite. I had some yesterday and it was LUSH. I don’t miss it, I don’t crave it, but when I had some it was fandabidozie.

Monster Munch crisps. Our mate Dave always brings some over for Harry when he visits, since he has a penchant for the Roast Beef variety. I snuck me a bag to go with my Marmite sandwich. Again, fabbo.



But……British food mostly gets a hard time. Fish and chips, suet pudding, etc. I have some American friends who are desperate for me to have a British dinner party and for us to have Spotted Dick for pudding (yes, in case you are wondering, its predominantly my #hocohomo friends who have requested this 😉 ).

Anyhow, there is a British blogger, Cori, out here in the USA who writes about food, both British and American.

She is a ‘trailing spouse’ like me (gawd, hate that term sooooo much – it conjures up images of forlorn women in long crinoline dresses, carrying large initialed leather suitcases off the train and being kept out of sight indoors so as not to excite the natives).

As I was saying, Cori, like many of us forlorn women in our crinoline dresses, has new spare time and she’s been using that time to do a fair bit of baking and making.

She says ‘The baking has been mostly to satisfy my cravings for a taste of home; sometimes a challenge as there are things that I take for granted back home which are like hens teeth here. I also sometimes find myself making very basic things.

‘America does not seem as concerned as we are about what goes into their food so in the interests of not bankrupting us by spending a fortune at our local organic supermarket I try to produce as much as possible from scratch. The making so far has just been a couple of little craft projects for presents to send home, nothing too challenging as I’m just not that talented!’

This is Cori’s guest post about Making and Baking in the USA

One of my motivations for baking and for my blog is that, for me, food isn’t just food, it’s a reminder of something else. My recipes are like mementos or souvenirs.

People say that smell is most closely linked to memory but in my case it’s definitely taste. A lot of the time I make things simply for the purpose of evoking memories of home. Anything that reminds me of my mum or Grandmas kitchen is always a winner for me. I find making Cornish saffron buns, which not many people seem to have heard of, especially comforting. This is the recipe for them if you’re at all curious….

Yum, yum, saffron bun.

Yum, yum, saffron bun.

A lot of Brits are very proud of their indigenous heritage in much the same way that Americans feel about the State that they come from. I for one would never describe myself as English (heaven forbid). I think of myself as either Cornish or British. The UK is full of amazing regional baking, too much to mention, and there is always a well-loved family recipe involved somewhere. I think it’s important to celebrate and share this as part of our culture, at least that’s what I try to do with my blog. So another reason for writing it is to stand up for the much maligned British menu.

I know British food gets a hard time, Americans seems to be particularly scathing (a little pot calling the kettle black if you ask me), but I think that we have some wonderful dishes and some amazing produce. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come to love Maryland crab but there’s a very good reason Rick Stein bases himself in Cornwall. From Scottish raspberries and Evesham asparagus to cheeses that could (and sometimes do) put the French to shame, the UK really is a well stocked larder.

God of the Sea, Mr Rick Stein

God of the Sea, Mr Rick Stein

But that’s not to say that American produce doesn’t have its merits, I have already mentioned the crab and the sweetcorn here is literally the best that I’ve ever tasted. I’ve also yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good slosh of maple syrup on their pancakes.

I do however have some issues with the amount of processed foods that American baking seems to rely on. I was bought a cook book for my birthday with a chocolate cake recipe which actually included “1 boxed cake mix” in its ingredients. Is that really baking, or just assembling? My general rule of thumb is that if I can’t pronounce the ingredients on the side of the packet I should probably think twice before eating it.

I’ve travelled quite a lot and whenever I visit somewhere I make a new food discovery which then becomes a taste memory and the USA is no exception. My favourite thing that I’ve discovered here so far are Hush Puppies, they are so good and pretty addictive. I happened upon them during a trip to Charleston S.C with some of my best friends, so will forever associate them with that. Because they’re deep-fried I jumped at the challenge to create a healthier version that I could I justify eating a little more frequently; here’s what I came up with.

Hush puppies are edible, and are not really comfy shoes.

Hush puppies are edible, and are not really comfy shoes.

I’ve also been influenced by American flavour combinations, these peanut butter and jelly cupcakes went down a storm when I made them.

Have a look at them babies!

Have a look at them babies!

I’m really looking forward to creating some new taste memories whilst living on this side of the pond. I’ll be sure to keep of a record of it on my blog and maybe next time you visit somewhere you’ll bring back a recipe instead of a fridge magnet.

Thanks Cori – mouth-watering! You can follow Cori’s blog Colonial Cravings here 🙂

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8 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 424

  1. Andy says:

    Spotted Dick you say? Why yes I’ll have a big piece of that, with custard please.

  2. Pingback: Guest Posting on ukdesperatehousewifeusa | colonialcravings

  3. Sally says:

    When we were in NY I wanted to make a Christmas pud. But couldn’t find Atora suet so I asked the butcher in Pathmark, he didn’t know what I was talking about so I explained it was the fat that surrounded the heart etc in a cow. The look on his face was priceless, he disappeared and returned with a giant bag full of suet and told me there was no charge, I only wanted 4oz!!

  4. Dan says:

    I’m a trailing spouse, too! Never tried on a dress though (yet). 🙂

  5. Pingback: ST CLEMENTS COOKIES | colonialcravings

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