02 November, 2016

ACK!!! Americans and British food not a good combination

02 November 2016

R. Linda:

Britannia is ripped in the wind but Americans rip her too
Maybe you think me harsh, but truly I was beside meself on Halloween. We have (for the past few years) made Halloween an excuse to take the day off and go out to lunch. This year me Mam said she craved someone else making bangers and mash and could we go to that sweet little Brit place up in Temple? Well, they only be open at night so we couldn't do that. However, there be the British Beer Company located an hour away, so I suggested we go there. I had been to the one in Portsmouth and it was decent except for the cottage pie they masquerade as shepherds pie. But no trouble, the beer selection is excellent and well there was this other opened closer to us, so plans were made and off we went.

We got there and me Mam had never seen the place so she was pointing out the Brit and American flags and how the place looked not like a British pub but an American enterprise trying to masquerade as one. Well, yes it did indeed look that way but to the American eye, it looked British!

So in we went and me Mam said how the layout was so American but the pub area was very Brit looking if only the fireplace worked and there was a dog or two lounging in front of it. Ugh, I was like Mam you be in America, they aren't Brits so they don't know but this is as close as you will get, so lets just sit and enjoy the lunch.

I ordered a Fullers London Porter which was excellent by the way. We ordered pastry puff sausages with English mustard as a starter. I had said we shouldn't if we were all ordering bangers and mash we should forgo the sausage and try something else. But no, the ladies and the one young gent (me youngest) wanted the sausages.

Well, the sausages came. They were two large sausages in a pastry puff dough, and the mustard was not Colman's but what looked like IRISH whole grain mustard, but I was not sure it wasn't some American concoction made to look that way. It didn't have the bite I was expecting and that saddened me. But even worse the sausage tasted very off. The pastry was good, so I had another bite without the mustard and thought the sausage tasted familiar, but no, couldn't be.

I looked at me Mam who looked at me, her face squashed into a "what am I eating?" expression that wasn't a good one. She swallowed and said as Irish as she could be, "Dat wuz wot? It taste at first goud, den turns bad, den da offal."

"The good, the bad and the offal, yes indeed Mam." I shook me head at her.

"It's Kielbasa Mom," Tonya said with a smile.

"Kielbasa? The Polish sausage?" She asked stunned.

"Yes, that's what it tastes and looks like to me." Tonya answered taking another bite.

I bit me lip watching her and both me Mam and meself pushed the plate toward Tonya and at the same time told her it was all hers.

"Really, you don't want it?" She looked startled.

No, we really really did not want it. While she ate away Mam and I looked at the menu choosing chicken tenders with American fries for the wee one.

"Ooh wots dis?" Me Mam said pointing at the shepherds pie. "It says beef, wot shepherd do ye knoo that herds cows?"

"A rover herds cattle, not a shepherd." Tonya said feeding the polish sausage to the boyo who was enjoying it because he was hungry. Otherwise, I don't think he would have.

"We knoo dat Tonya," Mam said tsking at the menu. "ooh luckie here Gobriel, the bangers and mash cooms wit bubble and squeak."

That made me smile, ok then. I be a lover of bubble and squeak so when the waitress came I ignored the question about the kielbasa that was zooming around me brain and ordered up the bangers and mash with bubble and squeak.

I should have taken a picture of the bangers and mash, but I was horrified I was and didn't think to do that. But I can describe it for you.

A bowl (yes a large bowl) came and was placed before Tonya, Mam and meself. In it was three kielbasa sliced in half with a dab of mash and gravy underneath and all around the kielbasa being passed off as English sausage was fried onion rings (WHAT?), melon rolls of sweet potato (WHAT?),  and sliced carrots. Fried onion rings REALLY? HONEST? TRULY? WHAT -- WHAT WHAT???

Bangers and mash me arse, bubble and squeak me arse! What the hell was this? I took a tentative bite and was rewarded with the aftertaste of Polish sausage. I take exception when the sausage I expect, that be advertised as British, is Polish and foreign to the dish, and the bubble and squeak I protest should not look like a fall garden medley! Oi, oi, oi, oi, oi, oi.

 I couldn't eat it I be sorry to say, because I be not a fan of kielbasa. Mam was disappointed and when the waitress came by to ask how everything was, well, Mam spoke right up and told her. Tonya's eyes were big as me Mam told the woman in no uncertain terms that Kielbasa be not a British sausage and bubble and squeak does not EVER have fried onion rings on top. Further that the restaurant shouldn't advertise itself as British if they don't know the first thing about British food.

Okay fair enough British person. The waitress listened, no word was uttered and then when Mam huffed to silence she said, "American clientele think British food needs a little zip and that's what we've done. Being Americans are our biggest customers we cater to their tastes."

"BUT," me Mam said waving a finger in the air, "wot aboot da occasional authentic Brit who cooms in expecting a good, hardy British meal and be served dis?" She pushed the almost untouched dish towards the waitress.

"Dunno." The woman said. "I can get you something else?"

"Oh like da shepherds pie dat has no lamb in it. It's not beef dats a cottage pie." Mam quipped.

"Lamb is expensive and most Americans won't eat it." The woman countered nicely.

"Den call it wot it be, cottage or meat pie." Mam spoke up.

"IF there's nothing else?" The woman asked and seeing there was not, she left us to it.

Tonya smiled at Mam and said, "You ARE becoming very American. We are very vocal."

Me Mam looked at her like she was out of her of head.

So the end result be Mam and meself had hardly anything but a nibble of Polish food and that was that. Never again.

"I have to wonder," said Tonya, "if that Thai restaurant we like actually serves Thai food or like this one, what they think Americans will like."

Mam shrugged and I shook me head and looked down at the dish of Polish American fare when the waitress came back and asked if we wanted dessert.

"Wot kin dey do ta dessert?" Mam said to me so we ordered for the two of us since Tonya and the wee one weren't interested in anything more and why would they be, they ate their Polish lunch and were full.

"We'll have the Sticky Toffee Pudding." I said and off she went to bring us coffee and the dessert which arrived looking sort of like the real thing but there was a lot of it.

"Dats a healthy piece." Me Mam said in wonder.

She lifted her fork to the pudding which was a marble cake topped with caramel sauce and the biggest dollop of ice cream I've ever seen.

"Wots wit da ice cream?" Mam said to me. "We don't serve it dis way back home."

I sighed and took a piece and oh my goodness me, it was not near sticky toffee pudding (cake) well . . . no. Me Mam always puts dates in her pudding, and it is made in a bundt pan and she drizzles the caramel sauce with brandy mixed in over the top. No ice cream is ever on it but American food is heart attack food most of the time, so why not ice cream?

That was the icing on the top of the cake as they say, we were done with the place. I don't understand this Americanisation of ethnic food, I really do not. That's the joy of eating foreign food it doesn't taste like ordinary everyday fare, the joy be gone, the taste buds are not challenged. Mam be threatening to open her own bistro (God knows where) and preparing authentic dishes for the American palate. I think she'd be out of business in three days time she does that. I tried to tell her its all about the money. So sad.

One good thing, I got me shoes in me size (the big foot size) and I wore them to the ill fated luncheon, they are comfy and I thought to show you. Yeah baby, Star War shoes for yours truly.

Weasil has nothing on me new kicks
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  1. LMAO love the shoes! Hate kielbasa ! I don't know why restaurants advertise supposedly authentic food. Your mom wanted a taste of home and she'll have to make it herself for authentic.

    1. There's no living with her. All she talks about be that Kielbasa and that alone makes me tum flip flop. Yuck!

  2. nice shoes! don't you hate that? you expect food to be authentic and it is made to cater instead to a certain palate to make a buck. as you say sad.

  3. In general, bangers are usually a flavour packed pork sausage covered in creamy mash and topped with a lovely gravy. The dish HAS flavour. Bubble and Squeak, usually leftover veggies put together and topped with cheddar, YUM. I don't get the American palate considering most everyone in America has come from somewhere else -- what's the deal?

  4. At least the shoes are something to tout. I avoid places like the British Beer Company. Best places for home cooking OUR style are places you know are run by ex-pats.

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