England yea or nea on Beans-N-Toast for breakfast

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While on vacation in England it was near impossible to get breakfast with out beans. Breakfast was one fried egg, pork&beans, this 1/2 ham 1/2 bacon meat thing, 1 nasty sausage, sauteed mushrooms, and baked tomatoes with NO SUBSTITUTIONS. It made the long drives pretty interesting. Is this anyone's favorite? Is this something Jen should try before giving England the Ax? What interesting immage can Cory come up with for us? Is anybody from England reading this? If so please email me.

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2002


Oh, I've had the traditional fry-up plenty of times--I lived in England in 1985. Never again! I mean, it's nice to visit and all, but I could never live there.

-- Anonymous, January 21, 2002

Huh. I am looking into moving to England for awhile. Besides food woes, what else is a problem for resident Americans that I might not have taken into account? I have visited England, and am no gourmet so actually had no problem with the food.

-- Anonymous, January 22, 2002

I've been visiting England regularly since 1990, lived there in 1995-96, and am currently earning my Ph.D. in Scotland (journal located at www.spies.com/~dorothyr/), so I'll claim 'veteran' status on this thread.

Getting hold of American food products is easier now than it used to be. Cheerios exist, though they seem to be sugar-coated. Rice Krispies and Doritos finally jumped the ocean, as did Kraft Mac & Cheese (though it's titled differently). If you love Miracle Whip, as I do, prepare to hand-import the stuff, and I have yet to find tasty croutons.

I can't afford to eat at restaurants, so I can't comment on those, but the cheap take-aways (carry-outs) are often Indian. Post-colonialism at work? For some reason, the phrase 'going for a curry' is used. Kebabs are popular. Fish and chip places still exist. In Scotland you can get a deep-fried Mars Bar, if for any reason you want one. But God alone knows why you would.

Baked beans *are* quite popular here; put them over toast and voila, a meal fit for a student. Tesco's, one of the grocery store chains, sells cans of baked beans, generic label, for 9 pence each. That's about 15 cents. Cheap and mildly nutritious.

I'm assuming the 'nasty' sausage mentioned above was blood pudding?

-- Anonymous, January 23, 2002

I have the great fortune to be one of the sons of Brittania. The 'Full English' breakfast as mentioned above is what gave us stomachs and hearts stout enought to build an empire. It is no coincidence that our decline and fall can be traced back to the early twentieth century, at around about the time that a certain Mr Kellogg introduced us to the notion of 'Breakfast Cereal'. Only through ingestion of vast amounts of fat and protein first thing in the morning, accompanied by lashings of hot sweet tea, did we Britons find the reserves of energy, vim, pluck, and, yes I'll say it, good old fashioned spunk, to turn a quarter of the globe red (the B.E. was traditionally bright scarlet in schools' atlases). Milky slops was what did for us. But all this nonsense aside, most Greasy Spoons will be happy to omit the beans from your daily dose of cholesterol. Singing rule britannia while the walls close in, Mr Jones

-- Anonymous, January 28, 2002

I am English & am confused by your posting. If you have such an aversion to baked beans (very nutricious and full of fibre)why didn't you just say "hold the beans"? Cooked breakfast are very easily avoided. Sadly the UK has been invaded by Starbucks so you need never be far from weak coffee and stodgy muffins.

-- Anonymous, January 30, 2002

I don't understand the breakfast problem. Yes, I have seen the full English breakfast being served and consumed but usually things like scrambled eggs and toast, etc. are available (although I did get a very funny look from a cafeteria lady in the company cafeteria at IBM Basingstoke when I asked for an "English muffin" -- uh, yeah, they just call them muffins) -- and in any urban area there are endless numbers of McD's, etc. (well, it is a place where you could get pancakes, etc.) -- although I must confess that when in London I usually grab some kind of pastry (what we would call a "Danish" in the U.S., I dunno what Brits call 'em; I just say "one of those please")

I find that lunch is more of a problem since English sandwiches tend to be two slices of bread with a single slice of meat and a single leaf of lettuce.

Dinner is when being in England is hazardous to my waistline... You can go to an authentic pub for fish and chips (and beer)... you can go to an Indian restaurant (and there are approximately seventeen million Indian restaurants in England)... you can go to a Chinese restaurant (and there must be several thousand Chinese restaurants near the Trafalgar Square neighborhood)

-- Anonymous, January 31, 2002

I think the point to make is that the breakfast an English person might eat at home (toast & cereal) is not so easily available when you're out and about.

-- Anonymous, February 01, 2002

When I was in the Air Force I was stationed in England from 1985 through 1988, it was a great tour. There's a lot to like about England, but after 3 years I was ready to come back to the states.

I really liked the public footpaths.

The food is indeed tiresome, but it's not that hard to get to France or Belgium for a decent meal.

Many parts of it are sure pretty.


-- Anonymous, February 14, 2002

Please don't dismiss British food completely. There really are some fantastic restaurants and hotels both in London and outside. We have many Michelin starred restaurants and the choice of restaurants and types of cuisine is certainly one of the most if not the most diverse in Europe. If anyone would like any recommendations please email me.

Also perhaps you should take a look at your own country's eating habits before you launch into a criticsm of ours - GMOs, artifical this and that, high fat content, obesity, spreading poor eating habits to the rest of the world. Your record ain't that great.

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2002

Oh, no! Not GMOs!

-- Anonymous, February 20, 2002

British Food is quite good if you take the time to look for it and keep open eyes as well as a open mind. I have been to England many times since 1994 and always enjoy the food there, from the morning fry up before a 12 - 18 hour day of walking, pubbing, museums hanging with friends, etc. to solid pub fare for lunch and curries for dinner. The very best Indian food anywhere can be found in London. Hell, the very best food anywhere can be found in London. You just have to LOOK. I have had blindingly good sushi there, wonderful italian meals, succulent veggie meals, mexican, african, bengaleese, dutch, french and not least British food... the full range of the worlds tastes. London also has briliant fresh markets where you can get fresh seafood, veg and whatnot to make your own meal. Stay off the tourist route and do some far trodden exploring is my reccomendation 'cos you can get bad food no matter were you go in the world.

-- Anonymous, August 28, 2002

Having visited the USA and Canada frequently, I have to say that I've often been 'caught out' by my own ignorance of local customs. I try to avoid blaming everybody else for it.

The Brits of our empire-building past were justifiably accused of communicating with 'the locals' simply by shouting their English commands more loudly. Their role in the world seems to have been taken over by (some) Americans abroad, who expect everything not simply to be 'as good', but exactly 'the same' as at home. Well, sorry, but other nations like to do things their own way, and won't accept blindly that 'the American way' is always the best (although it sometimes is, of course).

My advice to Brits who want beer and fish & chips is to stay at home. The same goes for Americans who live on Hershey bars. On the other hand, if you are friendly, have an open mind and want to see something different (which might not always be what you like), then travel the world and have fun with the millions of good people out there.

Oh and by the way, the worst hamburger I ever ate, by a long, long way, was on Liberty Island, New York, NY ... :-)

-- Anonymous, September 14, 2002

Anything who likes to hang onto the hoary old chestnut that "English cooking is terrible" is in for... well, a terrible surprise. One of their cosier myths about the world is no longer true. There was a time when it was terrible. I base my statement on two things. My Mum's family came over to Canada from East-End London just after the 2nd World War. Tea in bags was a luxury; my grandmother still had the habit of cooking with paraffin wax instead of fat or oil; my grandfather had had "pan gravy" (gravy made with flour toasted in a frying pan instead of meat juices) so much he had actually prefered it; the camp coffee syrup in a jar tasted normal to them; throwing out bacon fat was a terrible waste. These habits are all excusable: the Brits had just soldiered through two world wars on their own with just the Commonwealth, until the Americans decided to drop by each time half-way through. The boiling of vegetables to death can't be excused by any war excuse, the only thing that can be said is that we did it, too, over here in North America.

The second reason I can say that is that I was in England in the 80s as a student. There was no longer the deprivation or make-do cooking, but they hadn't by any means caught up to us in North America. But Britain remained relatively poor up until the 80s, when something seemed to change that (don't want to get into politics here).

Now.... I travel to Britain about 6 times a year, for two to three weeks at a time. Spent half of last year (2001) with relatives in a little village in Essex. My gawd, I have never eaten so well, and with such selection. While we smugly assure ourselves in North America that our cooking is better than that of our British cousins, they have leapt way ahead of us.

Their supermarkets are temples. The selection is to do for.

See for yourself and visit the English food scene right now -- via the Internet. Start with these sites:



Check out as well the sites for Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, and visit www.bbc.co.uk/food

Our smug myths in North America, and I say that as a North American who once held them, while sad to give up, are no longer true: in fact, we are falling behind. I can't walk into my local supermarket in Toronto and ask for half-fat creme fraiche -- they would look at me like I just stepped off the moon.

The restaurants - the food is superb, but I still criticize them on one basis. They still price each meal like they are planning to retire off of your bill at the end of the evening. They just haven't cottoned onto the North American concept yet: price it so that everyone can't be bothered to cook, and you'll get way more customers. Outside of London, though, in the countryside, superb meals can be had at prices that beat Toronto. Remember when looking at English restaurant prices, that the prices include sales tax, and in most pubs you don't tip. We often forget to mark up our North American prices by about 30% for taxes and tips when making the comparison on price - our meals are not as cheap as we think!

-- Anonymous, October 20, 2002

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