It’s a very English thing to like things ‘just so’ a school friend once called my house ‘just so’ and I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about, in fact I was offended and very defensive about the comment, I considered it rude and disrespectful to my mother – but I think I understand it now and since her house was like a bomb site, I certainly shouldn’t have taken offence. I often think about it when I’m placing something ‘just so’ in my house, or shuffling some papers together on my desk or simply liking the fact that my house is clean and tidy – ‘just so’
We Brits like everything in its place, we like things done properly, we like rules and regulations and we like order. Maybe we are a nation of compulsive disorders with a speckle of Autism, I mean that in no disrespectful way – My dad says we all have a touch of something, but thinking about it – only the British do. As a nation we are held back and reserved.
A lot of those things other nations do is just not right – anarchy – we don’t do trouble, we simply know if we consider order then things will run ‘just so’ and besides we don’t want the fuss of rioting, blockading roads, smashing up our neighbour’s businesses and exhibiting ourselves in a criminal manner – it’s just not British.
What’s this got to do with food – I can hear you asking, after all this is a food blog and I only write about food – – – I’m English and food is all I know, I couldn’t possibly pretend otherwise!
The point is ‘How things should be done and why we are like we are, ‘why’ because we are British and British things should be done properly.
We don’t bugger around with Fish n Chips, battering Salmon or dicing potatoes, that would be crazy. We might pretend we are creating fish and chips in a restaurant by saying Posh Fish and Chips but actually giving pan fried hake with a fondant potato and a pea foam is really called ‘Hake with fondant and a pea foam. Fish and Chips has to be deep fried, the fish battered & the chips – chipped. If this doesn’t happen an English person could go crazy.
For me it’s the same with Afternoon Tea – what could be more English. But if the tea isn’t loose, I do loose it a bit, I’ll accept a few good quality bags if there’s a good selection but I won’t stand for no clotted cream or butter and it’s not right if the crusts aren’t cut of the bread – – you see, that’s why the English are so controlled, we do things right, because if we don’t we would fall apart – we wouldn’t be able to cope!
It’s like a roast dinner without roast potatoes or an
English Fry up without sausages or a
Cheese board without biscuits or a
Soup without bread or being stopped the right to
Dunk our biscuits in our tea – – –
Which got me thinking – maybe the reason we are so British is the one thing that other nations criticise us about
THE FOOD – – – and our unwillingness to change but at the same time embracing everything, the power of food tradition and our right to call all nations food OURS.
It all started way back when we feasted for pleasure – indulged and stuffed ourselves to death.
For Christmas, we eat the biggest bird in the farmyard, one potato dish isn’t enough we have 2, 2 vegetables aren’t enough we have 6, 1 sauce isn’t enough we have sauce made with fruit, sauce made with bread and sauce made with the juices. We then indulge in the biggest heaviest pudding known to man and soak it in alcohol, set it alight and cover it with more creamy sauce. We then sleep, fart considerably and then eat all the left overs with pickles, sauces, left over fridge salad and more besides. And while our bodies lay traumatised on the sofa we reach for the after eights –
At Easter, we decide that giving eggs was boring so we created an egg made out of chocolate, we made it much larger and made sure everyone got several of these enormous chocolate egg shaped monstrosity’s and started eating them from morning to night – but in the middle, we stopped for a ridiculously large lamb based roast dinner finished with dessert because the endless supply of chocolate wasn’t enough.
For our birthday’s we decide we need fattening up, so we treat ourselves to a splendid meal or four followed by dessert, copious amounts of alcohol and several boxes of chocolates because we don’t want them left over – or we would be tempted to eat them.
When we go on holiday we think we haven’t eaten for years so we should treat ourselves. We spend the week eating our way through 7 bars, 10 restaurants, 5 buffets, 12 cafes, 3 ice-cream parlours, 5 coffee shops, 6 takeaways, 21 top up supermarket visits and a last minute airport ‘use up your change’ on foreign sweets to stuff for the last time – apart from the plane where your tempted by the crisp and tea option and you’ve also realised you still have some snacky bits in your bag you might as well use up, your luggage will be a lot lighter then!
Then there are Weddings – – – Christmas Parties, Dinner parties, special occasions and the rest where a 3-course meal is just your starter for the night ahead.
Is there any celebration where we don’t eat????
– – – and that’s why we are British, we are too full to complain, to tired to riot, to windy to move, to content to bother and to excited about what we are going to eat next – –
We are just adult dogs, excited, tails wagging, faithful to our surroundings and just glad we are never far away from a nice cuppa tea.