Ok, maybe not today… But beware… I could strike at any moment…
Ok England, what’s up with all this stuff you call ‘food’?? I’ve tried to keep quiet on the issue, tried to help you by thinking I caught you on a bad day, but no longer. I need to ask some serious questions… Because I’m hungry!
You have easy access to ingredients and recipes from Europe, Asia, Mediterranean, and Africa, so you have no excuse for what you are doing to the food industry here.
Some of the finest coffees in the world come from countries not five hours flight from you, and yet you still serve compost water as coffee? Milk served with third degree burns, having the texture of raw wool, and truly not fit for human consumption. Be gentle when making coffee, it is an art, not road maintenance. Why do you not want the best for yourself? Paying over and over again for mediocre, bland, horrible food and drink is not the way to live!
Where is your *flavour*?? Why are you so grey and bland? Why are you overly sweet? Why the excess grease? Herbs and spices are your friends! Food doesn’t need to be spiced to the point of physical harm upon consumption, but at least learn to flavour your foods so all ingredients are balanced, complimenting each other, and salsa dancing with your tastebuds. (Heh, see what I did there?)
Food needn’t be so damn grey and boring! Yes, the British weather is grey on the odd occasion, that doesn’t mean you need to match your wardrobe and fridge contents to the weather! Instead, through some life and colour into your meals! Taste the rainbow! (No, not endorsing Skittles, lest you wish for teeth resembling Swiss Cheese.) I don’t know about you, but when I go out and spend my hard earned cash, I like to be happy with my purchase. I like to think, “Wow, these people know what’s up! I’m coming back here!” Take a leaf out of your favourite child’s book (that’d be New Zealand… In case you’d forgotten) and have delicious food for people in all walks of life.
I’ve heard England has some of the best restaurants in the world. Well, that’s nice! (Mrs Brown would be so proud!) I don’t have the dosh to throw at restaurants in that price category. So I go to the cafes, the food trucks, etc. In NZ, our cafe culture is enviable. We train our baristas to make coffee that brings customers back again and again, singing for their perfect pick-me-up. We have exciting blackboard menus, as well as cabinet food. We add flavour, character, and our own spin on classics such as the mighty pie, the scrumptious b.l.t., and the refreshing salad. We have food that is delicious, affordable, and tips it’s hat to other cultures. So I am quite shocked when I walk into a cafe in the UK and 9/10 the workers are on their phones, bitching to one another about their lives, and not truly paying attention to the customers. The food, apart from the odd exception, has lacked the “X-FACTOR” (Simon, don’t sue me) that one expects.
Pies. I love a good pie. As I come from New Zealand, that shouldn’t surprise you. Give me a sweet pie, give me a savoury pie, I’ll be a happy camper… Usually.
A pie is not so hard to make, and yet here in England, it seems to be the forgotten 13th Labour of Hercules. Every single pie I’ve braved has been so very different from the previous.
I’ll tell you the secret to a good savoury pie – a simple short pastry on the base which is crisp yet does not disintegrate upon contact. A light, flakey, scrumptious pastry top. And what goes in the pies, I hear you ask? A wonderful, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth stew like delicious number. Meat, gravy, occasionally veg, layer of cheese sauce. NOM! Not hard, is it? I’ve made many pies myself, gorgeous things they were! So I’ve tried a few here… Chef Steph not impressed. (Disclaimer: this author is in fact not chef, just an avid – and very hungry – cook. No need to shout, was just a handy dandy rhyme to fill in the thyme. Ba dum tsh!)
Pastry has ranged from brick to cardboard consistency. Though there has been the occasional pie that had lovely pastry!
The fillings? Right. Well. Some have not been cooked long enough, resulting in a pie with tough meat, water replacing the gravy, and the veg…. Bleh. To the other extreme, a pie with no gravy (say what?!) with the meat and veg mashed into a dry mess. Why?
So, my search for amazing, affordable food continues. I have discovered many international food trucks/stalls that have yet to conform to the grey standards established by long held traditions of bleh-ness. So, not all is as bad as I’m whinging about. There have been fiery fusion chicken wraps. Devilishly decadent churros. Magnificent marinated olives. Tasty traditional German hot dogs, with sauerkraut of course! Chicken vindaloo that could fuel a bonfire. There have been some real gems, and many food comas…
Good thing as an au pair, I have to run around after two kids everyday, burn off those calories!!
“Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.” Aye, let us cheers to that!