Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Love 4 England: Strange Food

I love going to grocery stores in foreign countries. You never know what you'll see! One of my fondest memories of a trip to Austria was going to a grocery store with my friend's family. They put what I thought was a fire extinguisher in the basket, and it turned out to be cheese. In moving to England, I've noticed these incredible foods lining the shelves:

Branston Pickle is chopped gherkins, in a sort of thick and vinegar-y sauce. It's sweet, and almost always paired with cheese in sandwiches. It must be a pickeling idea that's a remnant of World War II, and good lord, is it nice. This is the "small chunk" variety, my personal favorite for ease of spreading.

HP Brown Sauce was my first ever gift from Mr. Jones. I had no idea what brown sauce was, and the next day a bottle was waiting for me on my desk. It's put on chips (aka fries), but mostly on breakfasts, "full English breakfasts" to be exact (see below). It's sort of like ketchup, but made of dates and molasses! Best of all, the company is called HP, which of course stands for House of Parliament, with an illustration on the front. Shall we call him Gordon Brown Sauce?

Speaking of English breakfasts, they're another favorite of mine. Called "The Full English" or "Fry-ups", they're served on every corner of this island, at any time of the day. It's a set menu of eggs, baked beans, sausage, bacon, tomato, and toast, served with some other bits, or a vegetarian variety (if you're lucky), and a cup of tea (of course). This lovely institution has morphed into a canned variety for about £1. It reminds me of that gum in "Willy Wonka" that lets Violet taste a three course meal. That, or dog food.

And finally chips, or as they call them here, "crisps". You have never seen a country of people who love potatoes, and more specifically potato chips, like English people do. I was in a corner shop the other day and literally half the place was just crisps. As you can see by these flavors, they're getting more experimental by the day. I haven't tried the squirrels yet, but they are vegetarian, and since I love fake meat, these could be right up my alley.

So if you see any of these foods in your international food aisle, my friends, buy them up! Are there any strange foods you particularly enjoy?


Elizabeth said...

LOVE Branston Pickle. We've managed to find a store here that sells the small chunk variety (our preference for sandwiches as well). The British are also masters of junk food, especially biscuits. I love McVittie's plain chocolate homewheats - gotta get me some when we land next week! Will have to try the cajun squirrel crisps, too.

Clair said...

Can i reccomend the following:

Square or Lorne sausage- with HP (it has to be HP) sauce in a morning roll. Oh, breakfast of champions! served with ice cold Irn Bru (scotlands other national drink)

Now i'm hungry!