Monday, May 14, 2012

odds and bobs, part 4

While we were in Cardiff, Keith and I were able to see a performance of Henry V put on by the Royal Shakespeare Company. We left the boys in the care of a woman who is a mother, a grandmother, a physician, and a Baroness.  Nothing but the best for our boys!  The play was really well done, and funnier than many versions (like the Branagh film version).  They really played up the fact that Henry V was Welsh and made much of Flewellen, a comic Welsh character, both of which, not surprisingly, played well in Wales.  We got to bed at nearly 11 pm---probably the latest we've stayed up in ages.  "If you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek!"

The yolks in the eggs here are a much darker orange and are tastier.  Is that because of the chickens' diet? Are British chickens somehow different (superior)?

I am enjoying some of the British expressions.  I bump into some guy on the street (happens to the best of us; happens to me more than to most) and he says 'oh, sorry luv.'  Now, it wasn't his fault, but what a wonderful response!  I mean, he doesn't love me or even know me but I feel so much better after that encounter than after someone saying "Watch where you're going!"  Even the completely polite, "Excuse me," doesn't have that warmth AND can be said in a lot of tones and various inflections, some of which are quite nasty.  In general, the British are more casual than Americans about throwing around terms like 'luv,' 'dear,' 'darling,' and others.  I'm sure some of these words can be used in snotty tones, but so far I've not experienced it.

It's interesting to see how products we are used to seeing in the U.S. are renamed here.  I'm sure it's because of trademark and export/import laws or somesuch.  Frosted Mini Wheats are called 'Mini Max' and there is a character on the commercial so likeable that Owen actually took a marker to his cereal trying to recreate him.  Goldfish crackers, the old favorite that Grandma always had on hand, are called Finz here.  Conveniently, there is the exact same packaging so the boys can easily pick them out in the grocery store.  It's interesting also to see which products have 'jumped the pond' and which haven't.  No Cheezits.  Dang it.

The other day I passed a restaurant called 'The Proper Hamburger.'  Didn't get a chance to sample, but I am curious just what the Brits would consider PROPER.  I'm guessing there is little relation to the American-introduced Whopper or Big Mac.

I've been thinking about the book I read  and the movie I saw about Julia Child.  Because her husband was in the foreign service, she had to close up house and begin again over and over again.  My moves in the recent years have not been as dramatic, and I'm not a culinary equal by any stretch, but I have had the experience more often than I want of transferring kitchens.  When one is moving across town, things are a lot more simple.  You can take food in a cooler if need be.  When you are moving across the country and your stuff will spend a week on a truck, you have to get rid of everything that can spoil.  When you are moving to another country for 4 months, you have to get rid of almost everything but canned goods.  The experience of trying to gracefully run out of almost everything while still feeding your family is an adventure of which I have had enough.  The experience of building up a new kitchen is much more fun but remembering that it will be closed up again soon puts a damper on the excitement.  I'm happy to say confidently that I will go through most of the things I've bought for this kitchen.  And there will be a few things I'll try to take on the plane...

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