Tag Archives: food

all painted blue, all painted white

If you’re viewing this in post form, the right sidebar may be seriously out of whack, what with the floating post info bit over the top (at least, that’s how it looks in Firefox for me). I think it’s a problem with the newest version of this theme, but at the moment I don’t have the energy to go hunt through CSS for a fix. Please bear with me.

In my defense regarding posting here more often, I’ve spent the last couple weeks negotiating the ins and outs of applying for indefinite leave to remain, which is currently occupying my mind. It’s complex (though one would expect that, for such a permanent statement), so my anxiety has gone up a little bit.

Anyway, in the interests of being entertaining instead, some other thoughts. Maybe not about the BBC Four Exquisite Cuisine season, which has also kept me entertained over the last couple of weeks. They’ve been the sort of thing that makes Matt wince and decamp to the other room but that I love–food/cookery programme and BBC Four history programme. My only complaint is that they disappeared way too fast off iPlayer. I’ll leave the amazing programmes I would totally pitch had I the invested ear of a Beeb commissioner to one side unless requested, and I’ll also only comment that I’ve also had shows playing on 4oD to the extent that ‘Buffalo Stance’ is stuck in my head permanently. (Thx Fresh One!)

We had our first snow overnight last night here in Glasgow. Not much, and sure as hell not enough to make for any pretty photographs. Instead, it was just enough to leave some slippery pavement (about which I’ve ranted at length previously, if you search my archives from winter 2009-10…I’m too lazy).

I feel more than a little nostalgic about the first snow of the year. One of the traditions at my Smith College house (TYLER: BEST OF GREEN) was to have a First Snow Party early in the morning after a snow…or in the afternoon, should it fall that way. There was hot chocolate and snacks and a wee fire in the fireplace going, and we all made paper snowflakes and had banter and it was amazing times.

To most readers this is going to sound like something out of, I don’t know, Chalet School or something. But it’s real, and it was lovely, and I don’t give a damn how twee it might sound, in a post looking back on it. (For those who might not be acquainted with me, I’m pretty anti-twee.) It was home, and I doubt any of my friends and housemates would disagree.

My thoughts, I confess, verge on dirty.

Sorry about the delay in posting. Yours truly finished up her work placement a while back, then promptly settled into dissertation work (should reeeeeally make a webpage to centre all that information, come to think of it) and didn’t get around to much blogging. Tweeting, yes. If you actually want to know what’s going on in my life, Twitter is vital.

And here I am in mid-May, about to ship myself back to the US, provided that Eyjafjallajokull doesn’t change its mind and blow a bunch more ash this way over the next 24 hours. While I’ll miss my loved one and friends, I eagerly await a three month period of (amidst wedding and dissertation chaos) decent Tex-Mex, warm weather, brewed coffee at low prices, World Cup news only when I feel like it, and substantially lower levels of jeggings.

Which reminds me of a little tidbit that I’d meant to share. Britain does a lot of things well, some things better than America (coughhealthcareandpublictransitcough). But a few things, they just Don’t Get. I read Nigel Slater’s Eating for England recently, and in one of the vignettes, he indicated that Americans were as hooked on instant coffee as Britons. This, quite frankly, is BS, mostly because I don’t know anyone in the US who drinks or has drank instant since probably 1988. Admittedly, that’s anecdotal evidence, but considering the reaction to Starbucks’ VIA last year, I wouldn’t say it’s too far off the mark. Whereas, in the UK, if you go to someone’s house or to an office or a university function, and they offer coffee, it will almost definitely be instant. Seeing as for tea, all you need is hot water and a bag, I suppose instant has a reason for being de rigeur.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.

So I started thinking about coffee out there in the world, and decided that you could really just relate the taste of an average cup of coffee in a country to songs from said nation. Perhaps the metaphor’s a little stretched, but I think it’s still valid.

In Italy, it’s short and deep, like an aria. France, well-brewed and nuanced, like an Edith Piaf track. America…well, either you have the enamel-melting Starbucks sweetness of a pop song, or the strong grittiness of a Springsteen song; not to everyone’s taste, but vibrant. Your average cup of coffee in Britain, to my experience, is made from freeze-dried instant. In terms of taste, it’s about on the level of a drunk careening down the street at 3am bawling out ‘Come On Eileen’.

Now, it’s not that that doesn’t have its appeal, or that that can’t be borne. It’s just…I swear that daily I thank god my fiancĂ© was raised in a family that brews and drinks coffee, or we would have some serious problems. And no, sadly, for those of us raised on coffee, tea–even builders’–simply, simply can’t cut it in the mornings. Nor can a can of Coke. I need black coffee, and I will even settle for instant, Nigel.

Then again, there’s a whole blog post in the works…well, okay, in my head…about how I’m a food philistine in some cases (I dislike Brie rinds, for example). We’ll see if it gets written.

By the way, you can follow my culture shock, and possibly reverse culture shock in the coming months, on Twitter. I’ve been using #rhiisforeign to particularly highlight certain issues, including the latest general election, but since you can’t search back too far, it may be a moot point. Oh well. Follow me anyhow, if you like.