Re: Homeland

1

Gas is still $3.45 here, if that makes you feel better.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 7:38 AM
horizontal rule
2

It would be nice to know what countries the people commenting are from. Like the ones who talk about the poor and homeless everywhere.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
3

My impression of Canada, which I believe is typical of people who have mostly just visited Montreal, is that there are poor and homeless everywhere. So, who knows.


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
4

The only one I found baffling was in #30: "Pancakes for breakfast was weird too"

When the hell else would you eat pancakes?


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
5

Also, it seems weird that people have such strong opinions about bread. I would have thought there are enough bread options around that they could get whatever they want. The only place I've ever been really surprised by bread was Florence, where every restaurant will serve bread made without salt, and it's incredibly bland. (The story I was told, which might or might not be true, is that this had something to do with a salt tax that existed several hundred years ago and people never got over.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
6

I kind of sympathize with the sandwich one because the sandwich guy in the cafeteria where I sometimes eat lunch always seems to disapprove if I just get, like, ham and lettuce and tomato and mayo and not something significantly more complex. Once I ordered whatever the sandwich special of the day was and he was all smiles and kept up a running commentary about how this is a sandwich as he made it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
7

4: Like "flapjacks", maybe the word "pancakes" also means granola bars.


Posted by: Cryptic bned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
8

The bread complaint is true, though, at least if you're eating bread in chains joints or buying it in supermarkets. We've been baking our own for about ten years now, since the kid is allergic to corn syrup, and whenever I eat the bread at Olive Garden or wherever, it's horrible: sweet as cake.

Or if I buy hamburger buns, because I'm just not up to it and the kid doesn't eat her hamburgers on buns anyway, same thing.

Lately it's been possible to find bread without corn syrup if you look hard. It's still full of sugar though, and still tastes pretty awful.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
9

And what is "fried sushi"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
10

SILLY AMERICA

FRYING SUSHI AND CALLING IT "TEMPURA"

WHAT A BASTARDIZATION OF TRADITION

WHAT'S NEXT, THE TEMPURAPEDIC SUSHI SLEEP SYSTEM?


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
11

My mother (Israeli) always goes on and on about how the bread is so ridiculously sweet.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
12

What about challah?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
13

The bread does taste pretty odd - I hadn't worked out it was corn syrup. It's happening over here too. Brioche buns for hamburgers, etc, just taste weird to me.

It would be nice to know what countries the people commenting are from. Like the ones who talk about the poor and homeless everywhere.

I wouldn't say that NY has significantly more homeless people than London, but they seem to be a lot more nuts, on average. The average London beggar appears more or less sane to the casual observer. Not so the average NY beggar.

Grandma's wrong about tempura; tempura is deep fried fish or vegetables, but not sushi.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
14

Do people actually batter and fry a standard sushi piece? Because that sounds a) like it might be really good and b) like something somebody in Scotland did well before any American.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
15

14: apparently they do, at least so google says. American people. I don't think Scots would because sushi is still regarded as suspiciously healthy.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
16

I ran across actual deep fried sushi (salmon roll, I believe) at a Korean-run Japanese buffet in Bethesda once. Very odd.

That one is right overall, I think, about self-deprecating humor, but fortunately that's changing. (Some of these are ascribable to homestay-hosting, nuclear family, well off suburbia.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
17

There ought to be a Rule 34 of fried foods: if it is edible, someone somewhere has tried deep-frying it. (At a state fair, if nowhere else.)


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
18

15: I thought that's what they did with healthy food. Shoved it in the fryer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
19

Number 9 would be me. Over here "Oh really?" can mean, "Do you want to take this outside, pal?" much more often than, "Interesting! Go on..."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
20

18. Hate to break this to you Moby, but Mars Bars are not intrinsically healthy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
21

17: whole lotta stoned people with access to deep fryers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
22

Who started deep-frying sticks butter? I think that was an American.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
23

Mars Bars also mostly don't exist in the US.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
24

I think a Mars Bar is just what we call a Snickers Bar. Or maybe a Milky Way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
25

Two of my biggest annoyances with traveling in parts of Europe: hotels where the bathtub has shower heads attached at waist-height to little wiggly cords, such that if you want the water to fall on your head you have to actually hold it above your head; and absence of anything resembling what I think of as a convenience store. Both of those are somewhat geographically localized and I've have to think a bit to figure out where which thing applied, but I think I've encountered the two simultaneously in Germany.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
26

24: Closer to a Milky Way, but I think they weren't quite the same.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
27

24: a Snickers bar is called a Snickers bar in the UK. A Mars bar is pretty much a Snickers bar without the nuts.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
28

I have lived entirely in parts of the US that have very few Asian people, and I go to just about every sushi restaurant I see, which is a lot despite the lack of Asian people, and I have never seen fried sushi. This sounds like the sort of thing one person sees in one place and it becomes an urban legend.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
29

Pittsburgh has a growing Asian population. Maybe somebody should start to market sushi with fries on top?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
30

A Mars Bar used to be a delicious candy bar with almonds and nougat. I never see them anymore and I suspect that they are out of production due to their simplicity. I had never had almonds until I had a Mars Bar - not because my parents are culinary barbarians, but because we were very broke when I was a kid and almonds were a fancy food that we just didn't buy.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
31

30: discontinued in 2002, back in production as of 2010, according to wiki. The British Mars Bar is very different from the US one.

"The British Mars is very similar to the United States Milky Way bar, which Mars, Inc. produced (not to be confused with the European version of Milky Way, which is similar to the United States' 3 Musketeers)."

This is unnecessarily perverse.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
32

30: the US Mars Bar was not the same as the UK Mars Bar.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
33

Cf. moose, elk, wapiti, mouse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
34

Two countries, separated by a common candy counter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
35

OT: we cannot let the ticking bomb come in the form of a mushroom cloud. The clucking bomb, on the other hand...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
36

I've had sushi rolled in some kind of fried panko coating; the roll itself wasn't fried, but there was a fried substance on it. Maybe that was the referent?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
37

29: Chaya (as far as I know the only Japanese-run sushi place hereabouts) has a bunch of Pittsburgh/Squirrel Hill themed rolls, which mostly means putting creme cheese in them. Surprised that there's no fries yet, and pierogies would obviously be hard to fit.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:18 AM
horizontal rule
38

s/creme/cream/


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
39

There is definitely fried sushi at the grocery store sushi stand. Or tempura-ish-sushi. Fried before being sliced into discs, so it's not as coated with batter as it might be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
40

Most sushi places around here, in addition to hastening the desertification of the oceans, have fried rolls. They're pretty good.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
41

But it's not, like, fried like Americans fry things. It's the tempura style.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
42

There's a difference? It's a tempura batter, usually on individual slices.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
43

The majority seems to agree that bread is too sweet and in general too much sugar in your food.
Thats why you have so many fat people I guess.


Posted by: wb | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
44

Having just come back from the US, in terms of things that were immediately obvious:

1. Cars are huge. I mean, stupidly pointlessly huge. I'm-really-worried-about-my-penis huge.

Even trucks [i.e. lorries], which seem dysfunctionally proportioned. Huge engine bay, surprisingly small load carrying space.*

2. There are places to eat every 2 metres. The UK is quite fast-food centric, and there's a lot of coffee shops, but the average UK town is like a food-free desert by comparison.

re: the food itself. A mix of the nice and the truly horrible.

French fries (chips): horrible stale tasting reheated things that taste of old fat and grease.
Burgers: considering the US is the home of the burger: consistently not very good.
Coffee: almost universally crap. I expect there are loads of good places in every town, and I was going to the wrong ones, but most of the coffee I had was kind of watery and flavourless.

On the nice side: I had some really nice sandwiches, and a pretty decent steak.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
45

Sushi rolls fried in a batter are on every sushi restaurant menu in Sacramento. It is a standard thing. Then, they put a mayonnaise dressing over it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
46

The missing footnote was supposed to be a comment I heard in some WWII documentary re: British bomber crews view of the B29/B17 -- that it was very nice and all, but where did you put all the bombs?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
47

OH yeah, and US bread is very sweet. So is the bread in UK branches of Subway. Really horribly sugary.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
48

Cars are huge. I mean, stupidly pointlessly huge. I'm-really-worried-about-my-penis huge.

Being run over by a small car represents no threat to the nattarGcM undercarriage.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
49

Heh. What was that Viz character? Buster Gonad?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
50

45: Yes, most Fresno and bay area sushi restaurants I've visited have a few deep fried rolls on their menu. Like H-G noted, they are fried as a roll then sliced, which does cut down the fried surface area. As long as they're clearly identified in the menu, I'm happy with having them as an option.

(Maybe they were introduced because customers bring non-sushi lovers with them, and that allows everyone to have tasty fish at once?)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
51

What happens to the fish inside? Does it stay fairly raw, or is the roll made with cooked fish?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
52

I really don't get the sweet bread thing. I mean, there is sweet bread, like Hawaiian rolls, or that weird brown bread from a can they have back east, but regular bread doesn't taste even a little sweet to me. Is this for all bread or just bland, white Wonder Bread-style bread? Does the rye taste too sweet as well?

I dunno if these are available nationwide, but there is now Snickers-with-almonds, which is very similar to the old Mars bars. I had not realized Mars bars had gone away.

Also confused about the chocolate thing overall. I mean, yes, a lot of crappy, cheap chocolate doesn't taste that great, but we get Green & Black, Ghiradelli, Lindt, plus specialty stuff like Godiva or whatever. If you buy a Hershey bar for 79 cents and it's not the amazing flavor explosion you were expecting, I don't think you have Americans to blame.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
53

4: in England, a "pancake" is a granola bar.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
54

re: 52

Ordinary UK chocolate, e.g. Snickers, tastes quite different from the US variety of the same bar. The chocolate tastes like real chocolate, rather than some sort of chalky chemical confection.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
55

It appears that they only do it with the pre-cooked rolls, like the fake crab stuff.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
56

I mean, pre-cooked fish.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
57

I did have some quite nice beer* in the US, too, although as it happens I find US style IPAs both repugnant and silly.

* a couple of nice dark beers, and a pale ale [not IPA] that was nicer than most similar ales I've had in the UK.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
58

US beer is still in flux -- new craft breweries opening every day, and several of the bigger, older regional ones gearing up to go national. I'm not a big fan of current IPAs -- it doesn't make it taste better to just load more hops on, guys (same deal as with the pick-up trucks, I think). Still, as a digestif, something like Bell's Two-Hearted can be very nice if your stomach is not all it should be.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
59

The one I had in Maryland was a roll, individually fried - it was in the same areas as the tempura, and from the shape I assumed it was sweet potato or zucchini or something, until I bit into it. (It also had cream cheese, I believe.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
60

I do get the impression, traveling, that bottom-end American food is lousier than bottom-end European or UK food, on average. Once you're being selective about anything, there's plenty of good food everywhere in the US, but the cheapest possible alternative is nastier here than elsewhere.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
61

A McDouble isn't half bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
62

60 would be correct, except for $1 sambusas.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
63

I dunno, my memories of bottom end UK food, which is mostly 30 years old now I guess, was that it was just unthinkably awful. I think there was a chain called Wimpy Burgers? The bottom end of French food, which I've had more recently, is also pretty horrible, though the mid range is generally better than the US midrange with less variety.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
64

30: Frowner! They rebranded that the Snickers with almonds. They still exist. I was very upset myself until I figured this out. (Thus the exclamation mark.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
65

Yeah, I noticed too how many comments about U.S. food seem to involve absolute garbage, like McDonald's or Snickers bars or the sandwich ritual at Subway (which I almost never patronize because I find the interaction too stressful to tolerate, much more stressful than the resulting sandwich is palatable). But the chocolate comment is suspicious: there's no good chocolate besides M&Ms? Hmmmmm. Hershey does taste like bile, and maybe that's the problem-- but all mass-produced U.S. candy is bad, I've definitely had shit chocolate from other countries, and I find most European chocolate overly sweet.

The loud, expressive thing is pretty accurate. I guess it's all the sugar. I enjoyed living in Berlin in part because everyone there seemed to be as reserved as I was, and also seemed to treat the people around them as completely uninteresting features of the landscape that you nevertheless expect to accommodate (e.g. on the train), whereas people in the U.S. seem to have a large and actively maintained personal boundary and, in airports and elsewhere, often seem visibly discomfited at having to get within 6 feet of any other person. I think this is even true of city-to-city comparison groups, with New York providing the maximum tolerance of crowds. Encountering people from the U.S. abroad, I felt like they generally looked baffled to be spending prolonged periods of time out of both house and car, the American exoskeletons. I'm sure I gave that impression too. (My odd German accent led another young woman to mistake me for French, though.)

We drink Lagunitas IPA all the time, by the case, and I don't think I can contort myself enough even to imagine disliking it.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
66

A thing that I loathe: putting *sugar* into a tomato sauce. Shit restaurants in the UK do it, also in the US. Blecch.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
67

I once had a job that involved delivering food to restaurants. This included Subways. I remember getting to recognise a distinct, odd, sweetish, plasticky smell from them. Never wanted to eat there.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
68

I should stress, on my recent US trip, I wasn't really eating in absolute bottom end places. These were ordinary mid-priced restaurants or pubs. I had one fast-food burger, which was OK -- better than a UK McDonalds or BK, not as good as the higher priced 'boutique' chains -- and everything else was from a proper place.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
69

I do get the impression, traveling, that bottom-end American food is lousier than bottom-end European or UK food, on average.

For the UK, I would strongly disagree. Low end food here, at least in London, is a) terrible and b) shockingly expensive. I challenge you to find anything as bad and yet as omnipresent and overpriced as Angus Steakhouses in the US. Whereas while I'm no great fan of the various fast food chains in the US, they at least have the virtue of being cheap, and low-end non-chain restaurants tend to be vastly better than their UK counterparts on average. I suppose it helps that I really like what might be considered low-end foods in the US - fried chicken, hot dogs, that sort of thing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
70

Natilo: I can find mass-produced Jewish rye bread sold in groceries which is pretty good. But it usually has little or no sugar in it (sometimes molasses) and no corn syrup at all. Also, it tends to be the more expensive brands. Peppridge Farms, I think?


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
71

I've only been to the US twice, so I'm hardly in a position to do a general comparison. I'd say that the stuff I've had has, on the whole, not been as good as good British pub/restaurant food at a similar sort of price point. But has certainly been better -- leaving aside the fries, which were horrible everywhere -- than what I'd think of as a crappy pub or restaurant in London of the type Ginger Y is referring to. Then again, London has crappy food in general, I think, if you aren't spending quite a bit of money.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
72

68: What fast food restaurant did you go to, ttaM?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
73

Now I'm wondering where Ttam ate. I'm pretty sure that the bar food at Finn O'Drunky's ersatz Boston pub would be both bad and bad in a way particularly noticeable to a UK resident. But I'd agree in general that there's certainly a lot of crappy HS food in general and probably our bread is even more evil than bread in general.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
74

Then again, London has crappy food in general, I think, if you aren't spending quite a bit of money.

Depending on how you define "quite a bit of money", I don't think that's true. There are plenty of good, cheap restaurants, but the trick is you have to know where to look. If you just rock up somewhere without doing any research, chances are it will be crappy for the money. It's one of the many ways London rips off tourists and other infrequent visitors.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
75

US, though there's also a lot of bad food in high schools.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
76

I've only been to the US twice, so I'm hardly in a position to do a general comparison. I'd say that the stuff I've had has, on the whole, not been as good as good British pub/restaurant food at a similar sort of price point.

On this particular point it also depends on what exactly you're eating. As we discussed in your absence at the recent meetup, seafood in general is enormously cheaper in the (coastal) US than here.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
77

A thing that I loathe: putting *sugar* into a tomato sauce. Shit restaurants in the UK do it, also in the US.

That's because red sauce has been taken over by the Protestants.


Posted by: Opinionated Det. Crosetti | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
78

Apologies for the thread monopolisation, but one more thought: I'm surprised that the link in the OP only has one, indirect mention of cheese. Specifically the prevalence thereof on all sorts of foods and its inversely proportional quality.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
79

I have not yet read everything in either the link or the thread, but let me just say, Americans may have gaps under their toilet stall doors, but at least the stalls are wide enough that you're not hitting the sides of the stalls with your elbows when you move. God, that annoys me.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
80

74: I had a great reasonably affordable meal by asking the owner of the B and B I was staying at. It was kind of yuppy (that is people who might have gone to a wine bar.) with 20 somethings in it. I think that this was in the late 90's, a couple of years after Labour came in to power. They did have some sort of flat cover fee which surprised me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
81

Scatalogically oriented today. This is so not true of the UK: When I came to US, I learned that they just have different toilets with small hole that gets clogged. European toilets never do that. (Cue discussion of whether or not the UK counts as 'Europe.')


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
82

I think there was a chain called Wimpy Burgers?

I had believed that they had been driven out of business 25 years ago by MacD and had occasionally cited this as a rare example of capitalism actually responding to consumer demand, but the pedia thing tells me there are still a few around, mainly in places where people with no money and no prospect of ever having any are warehoused by the state. They're apparently owned by a South African company these days.

Yes, everybody in Britain agrees that they encapsulated everything wrong with bad fast food.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
83

Having a Mr & Mrs Popular that get formally appointed "prom king" and "prom queen" and everyone is supposed to clap for them is just ridiculously elitist.

Yes, and having titles like "Head Boy" is utterly democratic.

For a 1st world country, the produce is worse than 2nd and 3rd world countries.

I suspect someone needs to visit California. Or is just lying.

Ok, I'm done now. On to read the thread.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
84

I have not yet read everything in either the link or the thread, but let me just say, Americans may have gaps under their toilet stall doors

I don't think that comment was just talking about gaps under the doors, which are seen elsewhere, but rather gaps between the door and the door jamb, which are much more common in the US in my experience (see eg this discussion at SBACL). UK cubicle doors tend to rest against the jamb so there's no gap to see through


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
85

at least the stalls are wide enough that you're not hitting the sides of the stalls with your elbows when you move

You're not supposed to be moving around in there. Just go in, sit down, execute the mission, stand up and leave. There's no reason to be in there giving a jump to the left, then a jump to the right, putting your hands on your hips, bringing your knees in tight etc. It's a toilet cubicle, it's not Radio City.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
86

75: re: school food. There was a great episode of the Food Programme on the BBC about a school which was a sort of charter school (called a community academy) in a poor area of Leeds which put food front and center in their school. The Head was actually treating the people who made the food as the equal of the teachers.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
87

86 was I.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
88

Yes, and having titles like "Head Boy" is utterly democratic.

Slightly different- he's supposed to maintain discipline, he's not supposed to be liked. No one at a British school would assume that being Head Boy meant you were the most awesome boy in the school. It's not an elected position, either. (And the vast majority of schools don't have one.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
89

83: As a Californian, I've been disappointed by supermarket produce more and more the last 10 years or so--particularly in apples. They also seem to be overpriced [especially at SaveMart and Vons chain stores]; I wonder if that's a factor of charging the same amount at stores nationwide?

Fortunately, abundant farmers markets/stands and independent grocery stores have still tasty produce.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
90

I don't think that comment was just talking about gaps under the doors, which are seen elsewhere,

No, I think it was gaps under (and above) the door. UK toilets tend to have a clearance of about 6 inches under the door and then the door goes all the way up. US toilets have doors you could limbo under or vault over.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
91

I know I'm re-telling the story, but:

There's a sad, under-achieving high school in Austin with a bathroom whose stall doors are about chest-high. Like, you can't see when you're sitting down, but if you are standing, you can see people's faces who are sitting down.

This sad high school had (at one time) a big banner out front that said "WHERE'S GREATNESS?" Just those two words, in isolation. They're really rubbing it in, with that one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
92

85: One does have to wipe. I have broad shoulders for a woman, but I'm not exactly gigantic.

88: Oh, I know. And I do think that there's a problem with all the popularity contests that comprise high school in the US, it's just that I think those problems are pretty inherent in schools here in the UK too, they just don't manifest in the same way.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
93

89. last: I must admit that I was utterly spoiled by living in a produce paradise and largely getting all of it from small, local sources. Perhaps Australian produce really is overly amazing. Lots of sunshine, after all.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
94

Also, it definitely catches my attention in other countries when stalls are like little rooms. So much privacy when you're not expecting it. "Here, be secretive and plot some mischief or have some sex."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
95

89 -- apples for eating were never really a traditional California crop; other than being a little closer to Washington State, there's not much reason to expect great apples in your supermarket. But for non-apples, my local Ralph's in the ghetto has way better produce than what I saw in Paris or Geneva.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
96

One thing I really miss about the US, or my bit of it, at any rate, is the abundance of cheapish, good options. Food that maybe isn't as great as from the local gastropub here, but is considerably cheaper and consistently decent. I think my town is just particularly bad, though.

Ok, I'm done being loud, garrulous and over exuberant.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
97

So much privacy when you're not expecting it. "Here, be secretive and plot some mischief or have some sex."

Nothing is more American than to assume that all foreigners are, at all times except when being carefully watched by an American, either plotting mischief or having sex.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
98

I was struck by how awful grocery-store produce on the East Coast was, but then, I've gotten all my produce at a farmers' market since the mid-90's, so I couldn't say how grocery store produce is here.

That said, I live deep in the bread basket. It'd be a damn shame if the produce weren't good.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
99

Prove me wrong, foreigners. Prove me wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:46 AM
horizontal rule
100

I didn't say it was an erroneous assumption.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
101

Have some sex unless you're unlucky enough to be the UK version of Larry Craig, sadly tapping your foot at an unyielding wall for eternity.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
102

98: IIRC produce at CA grocery stores was pretty much indistinguishable from what you get (at better places) here.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
103

Prove me wrong, foreigners. Prove me wrong.

About what?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
104

I understood the produce guy to be complaining about the products of industrialized agriculture. It's a valid complaint, but we're the ones eating first world style.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:02 PM
horizontal rule
105

I'll take the feigned ignorance in 103 as an admission that you're plotting mischief. (Or, I suppose, having sex, but plotting mischief probably combines better with blog-commenting.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
106

None of them mentioned how we smile all the time for no reason.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
107

I was surprised that one of the commenters was an Isis agent:

thats how you get ants.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
108

So what do we mean exactly with all of this "mid-priced"/"mid-range" stuff as applied to restaurants. The burgers & sandwiches that you get at my two local punk bars are pretty decent, large portions, fresh-ish vegetables, etc. They're about $8-$12, including fries of course, and usually a pickle. I wouldn't spend more than about $15 on a burger + fries, even at a really nice place, as I would figure there's a point of diminishing returns you reach pretty quickly with hamburgers. Of course, with fast food, a lot depends on the location. Downtown, I figure to pay about a 20% premium over what I'd pay at a neighborhood location of the same franchise operation. Mall of America is maybe 10% more. Leaving aside the dollar menu, most fast food sandwiches (McD's, BK, Wendy's, Arby's, etc.) tend to hover around $5 or $6 these days, depending on size. If you want the really gigantor option, it's $7 or $8. So basically, it's about 100% more expensive to eat at a decent, but by no means fancy, place than at a crappy franchise, with the range in terms of minimum wage hours per meal between 1.5 and 2.5, after taxes.

UK translation:
Fast food sandwich £3.75 to £4.50
Decent bar sandwich £5.00 to £7.50
and your minimum wage is about 38% higher than ours.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
109

I wish I could know exactly what fries team tried. I certainly agree that most fries sold in the states are crummy, but I've certainly had (what I consider to be) excellent ones, and I wonder if they pass muster. I've not been in the UK in 35 years, so I don't know what the standard is there, but I've had countless frites in Paris, Holland, and Germany. Are those likely to have been up to ttaM's standard?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
110

Hey, at least we don't drown 'em in mayonnaise.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
111

To 108, I'd note that burgers vary incredibly widely in the States, and it's really hard to predict who will serve good ones. Because basically every non-ethnic joint that sells beer is expected to serve burgers, you can't know whether they make them out of a sense of obligation or out of a desire to sell a decent burger. Therefore you'll have basically equivalent places in terms of overall quality/price/atmosphere with completely disparate burgers (probably sold for the same amount).

Oh, and because stupid Americans are gluttons, far too many places believe (correctly) that, as long as they're offering stupid big portions (Try the 10 oz Gutbuster!), they'll sell plenty, quality be damned.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
112

In Spain the milk was too sweet!

Subway's Honey Oat option doesn't taste that sweet to me and the possibility that it's extremely sugary and I've gotten used to it is horrifying but unsurprising. I really wish people didn't feel the need to sweeten everything.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
113

Yeah, that's true enough. Also, the quality of cheese curds you get around here varies so widely that you might as well be talking about different categories of food. It's not the same ballpark, it's not even the same fucking game.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
114

I dislike the Subway process too, but at least with the newer bread options, the restaurants have ceased to smell like bleach. That was so gross.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
115

108: For me, I'm thinking of a bunch of different restaurants all in Meganville and adjacent. For example: a nice schwarma wrap for $5, fantastic Vietnamese food for less than $7, a speciality sandwich (not necessarily crazy toppings, but good ingredients thoughtfully paired) for $5, decent pizza slices ($5 for 2), burritos or tacos for $5-10, a helping of good but not great sushi for $10, good burgers for $5-7, big salads of varied ingredients for $5-10, and also "Mediterranean" food of various stripe for around the same. It's the choice that I miss, and also having really good healthier options. (Or at least ones that involved vegetables not deep fried or served with masses of cheese.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
116

And of course 111.1 also applies to fries. It's always surprising, hearing which restaurants have good fries and which don't. The ones that have good fries often don't advertise that they do. They just happen to put some effort into making the fries. And then seemingly identical menus will have frozen soggy fries.

It's always a good sign if they offer different types of fries. e.g. you can have them with gravy, or with Gruyere, or with braised beef on top. Again, sometimes this comes up at inexpensive restaurants.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
117

Do they have all-you-can-eat Indian buffets in England? If not, I don't want to go there.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
118

I honestly think that LA is one of the better places to eat like a king for under $10, at least if you're armed with a car and don't mind eating from rotating wheels of meat on street corners. Certainly in terms of variety. I mean, I guess you should value that at PPP not exchange rate, probably there are countries where you can literally eat a king for $10.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
119

Of course they do! You should come.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
120

116.1 is a great point. Inexplicably (to me), Wholey's, which probably sells (literally) 5000 orders of fish & chips every Friday during Lent, has some of the worst fries in the city. The color is right, but they're woefully undercooked. But good fries in the exact same style are widely available for cheap. It's just bizarre.

I also meant to say that I found all the comments about sweet bread to be weird, because I don't like sweet breads, and in fact almost never eat whole wheat bread because it's always sugary, and yet I must be eating lots of sweet bread, based on how these people talk about it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
121

probably there are countries where you can literally eat a king for $10

Hot roasted Elvis, only $9.99! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
122

I also meant to say that I found all the comments about sweet bread to be weird, because I don't like sweet breads, and in fact almost never eat whole wheat bread because it's always sugary, and yet I must be eating lots of sweet bread, based on how these people talk about it.

It's actually a bit frightening. I understand most of the complaints about US food, but not that one, unless you'r talking about Wonder Bread and potato rolls. Apparently literally all our bread is full of corn syrup and we have gotten used to it.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
123

full of corn syrup FOR NO REASON


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 12:59 PM
horizontal rule
124

I buy my bread at Whole Foods. Maybe I'm safe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
125

I don't eat much commercial bread, i don't think. But even there, the choices are so much better than the mid70s and before that all these foreigners should just stay off my lawn.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
126

The bread at our WF is all unpleasant. Ugh. I really should get in the habit of baking bread again. I wish I could reliably slice it in the style of machine slicing, since that is what Jane wants for her little-kid sandwich needs.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
127

Hahaha losers!!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
128

UK translation:
Fast food sandwich £3.75 to £4.50
Decent bar sandwich £5.00 to £7.50
and your minimum wage is about 38% higher than ours.

Sandwich in this context includes burgers, right? Because otherwise I don't really know what a fast food sandwich would be. It's all fast food.

Anyway, in London:

McDonalds and Burger King meals about £4 to £5 depending on burger and size. Not terrible value all things considered, though the burgers are of course shit. We don't really have the dollar menu concept here, so I suspect there are more cheaper individual items on US fast food menus than here, even if the meals work out roughly the same.

Slightly more up-market burgers (eg Meat Market, Hamburger Union when it existed, Byron, GBK) - £8 to £10 for just the burger (and toppings obvs.). Fries will be another £2 or so (pretty good quality at most of these joints, to be fair).

"Posh" hamburgers (eg Hache, Black and Blue, Burger and Lobster, any posh restaurant doing a burger) - £15 to £20.

If you're talking the more limited British sense of sandwich, outside of stupid places like hotels, they top out around the £6 mark for a really nice carvery job from Fuzzy's Grub, or an overpriced one from Paul. Ordinary sandwich shop sandwiches with traditional fillings are around the £3 mark.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
129

I'd suggest farmers markets for bread, and McDonalds for fries.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
130

I usually eat Health Nut bread made by Brownberry. It advertises that it has no HFCS.

But it has sugar! It doesn't really taste sweet to me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
131

/machine slices Halford, eats sandwich.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
132

126: That's kind of shocking, although much of what they carry is actually by a really superb local bakery. But I believe the Jewish rye is WF-made, and it's certainly in the top... 25%? of ryes I've had*. And I've been a big rye fan since I was a little kid in NY.

*the rye at A//egro Hearth (owned by a friend) is probably the best I've ever had


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
133

Yeah, I think our missing link is definitely the "superb local bakery" element. Also I am not shopping for Jewish rye at the moment.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
134

133: Anti-semite!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
135

Now I want a baguette and some butter that isn't deep fried.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
136

Fuzzy's Grub

What a great name. And I see that they have leg of lamb in the sandwich options. Mmmmm. (I'm taking notes for an upcoming visit to London. Looks like they could make me a Thanksgiving dinner sandwich: turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, and stuffing are all on the menu.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
137

The local WF does not offer any form of acceptable sandwich bread*, but happily the Giant Eagle does. I don't buy it much, but it's nice that it's there when I crave it.

*by which I basically mean bread baked in a loaf pan, whether white or whole wheat, or challah. Obviously most bread is suitable for sandwiches.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
138

Really strange discovery that you can get delicious Mexican (!) sandwiches at the farmers' market in Ely on Saturdays. But to eat what I think of as "battery American" cuisine - say the restaurant in a cheap chain hotel - is really dispiriting. And (forgive me CharleyCarp) I ate horribly in Bozeman, Montana, where I had thought everything should be lovely. The rule of thumb in both countries is surely to avoid any cheapish food supplier that advertises heavily, or is a chain.

But the overall quality of pub food in the UK has improved immeasurably over the last twenty years.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
139

you can get delicious Mexican (!) sandwiches at the farmers' market in Ely on Saturdays

But not terribly authentic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
140

From what I've seen of Montana cuisine, it's pretty awful.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
141

I'm still not allowed to donate blood because twenty years ago I was in the U.K. and the food was apparently so bad as to constitute a disease risk factor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
142

From what I've seen of Montana cuisine, I'd prefer Listerine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
143

I ate horribly in Bozeman, Montana, where I had thought everything should be lovely.

Good heavens, why would you have thought that?

I mean, it's a college town, but not exactly cosmopolitan.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
144

Here: make this bread. You'll never eat that store-bought crap again.

http://delagarcooks.blogspot.com/2009/06/good-bread.html


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
145

It's surrounded by trout. Admittedly, that's often a recipe for dreadful food - see Northern Finland. And how could Mexican food, made by a man in Haverhill, not be auhtentic. Next thing you'll be telling me about Irish pubs! And, in fact, it turns out there is a chili farm near Huntingdon.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
146

126: I wish I could reliably slice it in the style of machine slicing, since that is what Jane wants for her little-kid sandwich needs.

I cannot recommend highly enough the Mountain Woods bread knife. Sounds silly, right? Like you need a special knife to slice bread, but seriously, this thing provides a guide against which brace the end of the loaf in order to slice down uniform slices, and it works a wonder.

'tis really great. Also available more cheaply on amazon and elsewhere, I see from google results. Makes a great gift! (I was given one by my ex-before-last's mom, and boy did she get it right.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
147

I have made wonderful bread many times and yet, here I am today, eating that store-bought crap all the time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
148

145: Surrounded by Trout should be the title of your next book. It could be a food memoir or a gentle thriller or the next step after dino porn!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
149

141: thanks to the great work of the CJD Surveillance Unit, I am now free to give of my sticky, tainted juices. But yes, it was pretty weird being Officially Contaminated, with Thatcher In The Blood.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
150

By the way, if you want a superbly Americans Abroad thing, that would be "whining about food in Britain because you went to Fake McDonalds".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
151

I actually bought one of the dino porn books. Do any of the women here really find attractive the thought of being penetrated with a green scaly tail? Or giving a blowjob to a reptile? Is this another difference between president's wives and European aristocracy?

Now, of course, the damn thing shows up on my Kindle


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
152

Can't you delete it? Boy, if everything ghastly I ever read were ineradicably tattooed on something I was carrying around with me, I'd... be unhappy, I guess.

And no on the dino porn. Although, as I discovered the last time it was linked, on some level I find quadrupedal dinosaurs more offputting than bipeds, and the fact that I have any opinions about this at all worries me a little.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
153

128: Non-burger sandwiches: Roast beef at Arby's, chicken filet at anywhere, submarines at Subway, Jimmy John's, Quizno's, regional chains (here we have Milio's, Cousin's and Erbert & Gerbert's -- all owned by members of the same extended family, i.e. the whole operation, not just the franchises). The subs vary a lot in quality, style, size and presentation. Quizno's is on the higher end for quality & size, and they're all heated, so they're usually closer to the $8 range, I think, whereas Subway has very, very cheap options, down to around $2.50 for a regular sized, basic sub.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
154

152: Where do you stand on scales versus feathers?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
155

Looks like they could make me a Thanksgiving dinner sandwich: turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, and stuffing are all on the menu.)

They could and do. You can just get a straight-up turkey meal if you like, with mash potatoes and roast veg and everything (though not normally sweet potatoes - maybe for Thanksgiving).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
156

Also, if you go to most Vietnamese places, they've got banh mi in the lower-end range of pricing, and lots of Mexican places have tortas for more the mid-range. Generally, any of those is going to be much better quality than fast food, obviously.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
157

Yes - would a cladist maintain that Leda and the Swan was canonical Dinosaur porn? WB Yeats: MERCHANT OF FILTH

LB - I can delete it from the apparatus. But it shows up as something I own (this is with the Android kindle program. It may be different with a real one)


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
158

Where do you stand on scales

Both feet squarely on the weighing plate, usually. Where else?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
159

And no on the dino porn.

Coming from someone who calls herself "LizardBreath", I find this denial somewhat less than convincing.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
160

: Non-burger sandwiches: Roast beef at Arby's, chicken filet at anywhere, submarines at Subway, Jimmy John's, Quizno's, regional chains (here we have Milio's, Cousin's and Erbert & Gerbert's -- all owned by members of the same extended family, i.e. the whole operation, not just the franchises).

Ah, OK. Subs aren't really a thing here, outside of Subway (which itself wasn't a thing here until very recently and is still vastly outnumbered by traditional sandwich shops). You can get a sandwich in a (short) baguette, but generally that doesn't involve stuffing as much filling as you can phsyically fit between the two halves as it seems to in the US or Subway, so price comparisons aren't going to be particularly direct. Here's a somewhat representative photo of a British baguette

Your archetypal sandwich here is two slices of bread from a loaf (or these days increasingly ciabatta) with, say, mayo, lettuce and meat inside to a thickness of approximately the slice . Or alternatively a bap (or roll or barmcake or whatever the local name for it is) cut in half. Much less food overall than a sub, with the exception of places like Fuzzy's.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
161

Here's a somewhat representative photo of a British baguette

New mouseover?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
162

The one meal I had in Montana was pretty good!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
163

||
I need help finding something from the hivemind, my googling is failing probably because the words I remember were part of an image. There was a Venn diagram going around a couple weeks ago describing different types of future innovation. Categories were something like ability to make, desirability, and a third category. Easy to make but not desirable was garbage. Other examples in other quadrants, with the point that only things you can make, that people want, etc. would ever be valuable. Anyone know where I can find the picture?
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
164

Yeah, subs are pretty gross.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
165

163: here you go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
166

Thanks!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
167

No one comes for the food.

There's places you can go, though, that beat Listerine, in any of the larger towns or resort spots.

Bozeman should be better than it is -- I lived on borscht at the Baxter as an undergrad, and there are some newer places that aren't half bad. But it's socio-economically quite different from Msla (you can see it just looking at the cars driving on the arterials) and caters to out-of-town zillionaires and celebrities (my son has been working on Justin Timber/ake's house this fall) as well as a better class of tourist than we get over here.

(We just spent the weekend in Bozeman -- but pizza out one night, and shrimp curry cooked at home the other do not effective restaurant criticism make.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
168

160.2 seems to be similar to the banh mi we have around here, except with different filling.

160.3 is more like what I would expect of a pre-made deli sandwich that you get at the grocery store. Usually around $5, although more expensive at Whole Foods and the co-ops.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
169

Subs in NJ are a sort of specifically Italian thing -- with Italian meats and cheeses and oil and vinegar, no mayo, etc. on good bread. My fave near my mom's house is garlic sauteed rapini with roasted red peppers and mozzarella; second fave is sauteed escarole with imported provolone.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
170

Yeah, subs are pretty gross.

That's what all the SWOs say.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
171

160: Okay, look here, I actually went and looked up "barm cake" in the hopes that it would be some delightful regional thing like sad cake or chorley cake or something, and it turns out that...that...that...a barm cake is basically a giant dinner roll and people put french fries or pasties or pies inside them. I'm not sure why people who eat french fry sandwiches on white bread have any standing to complain about US food.

Lest you disbelieve, and I quote: A pasty barmcake 'ready to be eaten'.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
172

You monsters put a pie on a roll?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
173

It seems like the consensus is that the US has an extra-low level of extra-cheap, extra-bad fast food that is beyond anything in the UK. But price for price, quality is about the same.

I did love the fast food in Birmingham, just in the train station and near the mall and places like that. Have never been to a place in the US whose theme is "We put just about anything you want on a really good fresh baguette".

The Cornish pasties are good too. Clear step up from a hot dog. They are similar to a fast-food item that we would get at "Middle eastern" food carts, not "Cornish" food carts.


Posted by: Crypitc ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
174

..a barm cake is basically a giant dinner roll and people northerners put french fries or pasties or pies inside them

FTFY.

Have never been to a place in the US whose theme is "We put just about anything you want on a really good fresh baguette".

Maybe not, and I definitely prefer that sort of place to US sandwich chains, but the baguettes aren't fresh.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
175

174 was me.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
176

re: 72

It took a bit of Google maps zooming about, but I had a burger at UBurger. Also, I had a burger in the Phoenix Landing [I was there to watch the Champions' League match]. Last time I was in Cambridge, I had one at Mr Bartley's, too.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
177

They fooled me, anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
178

Local knowledge is always key, too, when it comes to lower priced food. I've had more crappy things to eat in Paris, than almost anywhere except London, for example. But I'd bet there's a ton of good cheap places.

On the other hand, I've eaten really well almost everywhere when I've been in Spain and Italy. And pretty well in the Czech Republic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
179

There is a MOSQUITO in my OFFICE in NOVEMBER. What an affront. I got bit twice before killing the bastard just now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
180

Did you smear its blood on the wall? As a message to the other mosquitoes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
181

My building has been mysteriously mosquito-infested all October. Nothing through the summer, but consistent mosquitoes at night for the last three weeks or so. I don't understand it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
182

My plan is working. Good. Fly, my pretties.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
183

These had better not be mini bloodsucking quadcopters.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
184

Wait, why not?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
185

4.2: When the hell else would you eat pancakes?

We often had them for dinner. My impression was that it was a common Depression-era rural Midwestern thing (and from before that, as well). And associated somewhat with a class stigma.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
186

184: Because I keep smushing them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
187

||
By my calculations going off-topic in this thread to link Star Wars themes added to Thomas Kinkade pictures has the best rat-orgasmics. I like the first one best.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
188

180: You know mosquitoes don't have red blood, right?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 6:03 PM
horizontal rule
189

Like the ones who talk about the poor and homeless everywhere.

I walk across the short side of Boston Common on my way to work, along the Freedom Trail, and I overhear German tourists all the time. Not seldom they are talking about the homeless people sleeping on the Common. I kind of want to throttle some of them. Look you fuckers, I've seen plenty of homeless people sleeping in doorways in Germany.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 6:10 PM
horizontal rule
190

It seems like the consensus is that the US has an extra-low level of extra-cheap, extra-bad fast food that is beyond anything in the UK

I dunno, the burger I got from one of the carts after one of the soccer games I went to was hilariously bad, probably worse than the dollar menu at McDonald's. Cost a bit more though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
191

Gas was $2.85 tonight at the station by my sad little university. But it was raining so I didn't stop to buy any.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
192

169 makes me so, so hungry.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 6:53 PM
horizontal rule
193

I paid $3.07/gallon for gas today, but I probably could have gotten it cheaper at Kroger. (That's right, Britons. Sometimes the grocery store also sells gas, and you can get a gas discount by buying a certain amount of groceries. It's the Circle of Lazy.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
194

re: 193.last

Same here. Only it's obviously a lot more expensive overall [approx 9 USD a US gallon, I think].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
195

||
Given the many innovative additions and usages of IP law in this country recently, shouldn't there be some way for African-Americans to sue the South for ownership of the stars-and-bars and all related properties? Or at least to harass the neo-Confederates with DMCA takedown notices?
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
196

||

I just clicked one of Facebook's "translate this" links and learned that "Jorgito" should be rendered into English as "Huey".

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
197

196: Just yesterday the FB/Bing translator told me that "Faludi" in Swedish should be "Farber" in English.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
198

Right. Jorgito, Juanito y Jaimito.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
199

My Polish acquaintance, new to the U.S., thought it was funny that everywhere you turned (in Cambridge, mainly) was a hamburger place. As of our last conversation, he hadn't eaten in any of them...

181: you might have standing water in the building's basement or something like that?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
200

I dunno, the burger I got from one of the carts after one of the soccer games I went to was hilariously bad, probably worse than the dollar menu at McDonald's. Cost a bit more though.

Oh dear god, you ate from one of those? Schoolboy error.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 10:32 PM
horizontal rule
201

200: nah, it was exactly what I was expecting. All part of the experience.

I cracked up when a couple of Dortmund fans asked me where they could find a McDonald's or Burger King while I was eating, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:03 PM
horizontal rule
202

Dear God, the Star Wars/ Kincaid mashup is wonderful! and then the comments, from people who genuinely love both ... These are what should be on the sides of the carts from which Josh bought his hamburger.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:40 PM
horizontal rule
203

It seems like most of the comments were from Brits and Australians. The US has more regional and class variation and is a gazillion times the size of your average European country, so experiences really vary depending on where you are and who you're hanging out with.* My instinct was to feel like most of the comments were wrong, but then I realized they were right if you eat at US chain restaurants or shop at chain supermarkets. American fast food is cheap and gross, but we also have a bunch of mid-range chains where the food is overpriced and gross, like Applebee's, or Chili's, or The Cheesecake Factory (disclaimer: I've never actually eaten at the first two, but I'm assuming.) Also, US supermarket bread is pretty gross. For non sugary bread you either buy it from a bakery or a supermarket which sells the 1-2 non gross sandwich bread varieties. I've found that European bread is also kind of uneven though. My ongoing argument with my boyfriend is over Italian bread, which I think is not all that. I actually prefer German bread, but it is basically a relationship ender to tell an Italian that German food on any level is better. Same with fruits and veggies. Normal supermarket stuff tastes like plastic, but farmer's markets and smaller stores have much better fruit, and if you're in an agricultural area, they're really cheap. Though, from what I've heard English food is pretty gross too?** Or have you entirely replaced it with cuisine from your former colonies? I found Australia a weird mix of delicious Mediterranean and Asian food from really fresh ingredients and traditional British food. There was very little in between delicious and kind of gross. Like, people*** would drink well-made espresso and lattes at cafes, but then instant coffee at home. Or they would go out for the best pizza outside Italy, but at home eat charred, unseasoned lamb served with unseasoned mashed potatoes. I know that many Australians and Brits probably have better diets, but if we're going with a 'lowest common denominator' average, then I don't think these are unrepresentative examples. Anyways, you can have good, inexpensive and healthy food in the US, at least in large cities, but it's harder to ferret it out than it is in Australia or continental Europe, at least in my experience.

*I met a German girl who had done a HS exchange in the US, and lived in a trailer park in Indiana during her year. She was actually very positive and upbeat about her time there, but her experience of American had zero overlap with my experience of America.

**I had a roommate from Manchester once, and almost every day he would make mashed potatoes with canned meat. He would stir the meat into the potatoes so they turned this sickly pinkish color, and then eat it with a spoon. He also complained that the peas in the US were too green. Apparently there is a variety of brown canned peas in the UK? Any time he cooked anything, he would do it in an inch of oil, so it was deep fried eggs and bacon for breakfast. He would also make chip sandwiches, which were french fries on white bread with mayo, and sometimes with peas. Besides the peas, I don't remember him eating any vegetables, nor would he eat fruit on a regular basis.

***Middle aged Anglo-Australians


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 11- 4-13 11:45 PM
horizontal rule
204

Why, for the love of God, has there not been a Scooby-Doo episode featuring Green Day? It could be sponsored by Ben & Jerrie's and the really good local pizza delivery place. I'm thinking an air date in the second half of April would make the most sense.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
205

They're still making new episodes of Scooby-Doo?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:12 AM
horizontal rule
206

Also, a Star Wars/Jamaica Kincaid mashup would be teh awesome.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:15 AM
horizontal rule
207

The last word on xenoeroticism
http://rozk.livejournal.com/481632.html


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:16 AM
horizontal rule
208

205: No, which is a big part of the problem right there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scooby-Doo!_Mystery_Incorporated


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:24 AM
horizontal rule
209

Though, from what I've heard English food is pretty gross too?

Another high school heard from.

You know mosquitoes don't have red blood, right?

They do after they've just sucked it out of your veins.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 3:06 AM
horizontal rule
210

203: It's a fact that German bread is better than Italian bread, and possibly the best in the world. Other than that, yeah, there are people who eat gross food everywhere.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 3:29 AM
horizontal rule
211

Look you fuckers, I've seen plenty of homeless people sleeping in doorways in Germany.

This is a difference that I find very striking between the UK and CA. In California, I expected to see homeless or nearly-there people at most freeway off-ramps, in most shopping centres, and wouldn't be surprised to see them at a major intersection, pan-handling. Here, I think I've seen about three people who are visibly homeless over two years, and only one man sleeping rough in town. (The difference of course dissipates when you hit the big city, but in the town case I'm comparing like with like.)


*I had a roommate from Manchester once, and almost every day he would make mashed potatoes with canned meat. He would stir the meat into the potatoes so they turned this sickly pinkish color, and then eat it with a spoon. He also complained that the peas in the US were too green. Apparently there is a variety of brown canned peas in the UK? Any time he cooked anything, he would do it in an inch of oil, so it was deep fried eggs and bacon for breakfast. He would also make chip sandwiches, which were french fries on white bread with mayo, and sometimes with peas. Besides the peas, I don't remember him eating any vegetables, nor would he eat fruit on a regular basis.

I should let a real Brit comment on this, but I think this is a particular brand of Northern, class-based eating. As for the peas, I've found that there isn't a great deal of distinction here in speech between fresh green peas and dried peas, which do vary in colour.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:21 AM
horizontal rule
212

Hey, at least we don't drown 'em in mayonnaise.

That's your first mistake.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:27 AM
horizontal rule
213

211.1: the US, overall, has a higher number of people sleeping rough; about 10,000 in the UK, and about 200,000 in the US, out of a population five times the size. So the US rough-sleeping rate is about three times that of the UK.

Overall homelessness is really difficult to compare because everyone measures it differently, but a rough sleeper is a rough sleeper.

And I would expect the US rough-sleeping population to be concentrated in places like California, for obvious climatic reasons.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:29 AM
horizontal rule
214

I think there was a chain called Wimpy Burgers?

Ten years ago, when we were moving my girlfriend from Plymouth to Amsterdam we actually stopped at a motorway services with a Wimpies and ate there. I'd heard the stories but didn't think it would be that bad, but oh god was it awful and worse, slow. The English are the only people who could make fast food s-l-o-w...


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:29 AM
horizontal rule
215

re: 211.last

There's what are called 'processed peas' which are dried marrowfat pea which have been rehydrated and go through some sort of treatment and processing. They have a sort of greyish greeny brown colour and a slightly mushy texture. They come in tins or can be bought dried and are often used for pea and ham soup or as an alternative to fresh or frozen peas, or to make 'mushy peas' and are particularly found in a certain style of Northern or working class eating.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:49 AM
horizontal rule
216

213: Oh, definitely. The broader area where I grew up is pretty notorious for it, because the weather never really gets too hot or too cold, and if you have a tent there are plenty of places you can set up relatively undisturbed. The problem with anecdotal evidence!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:49 AM
horizontal rule
217

215: Yeah, I thought they were mushy peas as well, but then realised all the mushy peas I've had are weirdly, unearthly green so I was confused. Do they dye the ones they serve at chip shops?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:51 AM
horizontal rule
218

Mushy peas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushy_peas


[They are nice, btw. Not really my thing, but not terrible.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:53 AM
horizontal rule
219

Mushy peas are a dish, though, not an ingredient. I wonder if he was expecting less artifical dye?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:54 AM
horizontal rule
220

Oh, hey, they do dye them! I did wonder. I like them, to an extent, but I like pretty much anything starchy and legume-y.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:55 AM
horizontal rule
221

re: 217

Yes, although not everywhere dyes them [and according to wiki the dyeing is being phased out], and if you make them at home, they won't be bright green.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:55 AM
horizontal rule
222

I wonder if he was expecting less artifical dye?

As far as I know, Americans don't dye their peas, or at least not so obviously.* But we tend to only sell dried peas in the unprocessed form, not rehydrated and canned (with exceptions for split pea soup, which of course you can get ready made).

*Giant caveat being that I don't really eat super-super-processed things in cans, so I may be missing out on something. For instance, I had no idea you could get canned potatoes until relatively late in life.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
223

Off topic, but I feel the Unfogged debate would benefit: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/insurance-companies-misleading-letters-obamacare


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:57 AM
horizontal rule
224

Canned potatoes! I've occasionally seen them in supermarkets, but never worked out *why*.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 4:58 AM
horizontal rule
225

*Giant caveat being that I don't really eat super-super-processed things in cans, so I may be missing out on something. For instance, I had no idea you could get canned potatoes until relatively late in life.

See also canned pies and hamburgers. Why?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:00 AM
horizontal rule
226

I at least understand the potatoes. (And having had them once, they're not actually horrible. Strange, but a decent ingredient if you didn't have fresh available to you.) But agh, hamburgers????


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:04 AM
horizontal rule
227

While we're on the obscure and fascinating customs of my homeland and its childlike native tribes, I can report that putting talc on a dancefloor does in fact have perceptible effects.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:04 AM
horizontal rule
228

I should let a real Brit comment on this, but I think this is a particular brand of Northern, class-based eating

I'm surprised to find the mashed potato and pink meat thing in Manchester, but in parts of Scotland you can buy it in pubs. It has a name in Scots, but I've blanked it out - ttaM or ajay might know it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:05 AM
horizontal rule
229

225: I think the answer is a bit like "why everything has a facebook page". When they started, canning was this amazing new technology and they'd invested a hell of a lot in the supply chain, so why not can pies? A while ago I remember seeing photos of the now-derelict Fray Bentos plant in Argentina - enormous, deeply steampunk, and a visual reminder of the factoid about belle epoque Argentina having a higher GDP per capita than France.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:08 AM
horizontal rule
230

Come to think of it, this stuff is the steampunk diet - driven by Edwardian globalisation, canning, early bulk refrigeration, and just what you want if you want to turn down one-third of all army recruits as unfit due to the effects of terrible food.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:10 AM
horizontal rule
231

It was even more exciting when the can opener got invented.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:13 AM
horizontal rule
232

North of the Trent, fish and chips are often served with mushy peas, but these are not brown. They're a lurid artificial green that is otherwise unheard of in any foodstuff except cheap hard candy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:15 AM
horizontal rule
233

I've used the tinned potatoes a few times. Handy in a pinch as you can slice them and fry them to put in, say, a tortilla (omelette, I mean). Not as nice as fresh, but they'll do if the only shop near you doesn't sell fresh veg.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:21 AM
horizontal rule
234

It was even more exciting when the can opener got invented.

IIRC, the can opener was indeed invented several decades later than the can.

228: the mashed potato and pink meat thing might be a sort of hash. We used to get it at school. If it has a specific name I don't know it.

230: I am now reading "Imperial Military Geography" and am seeing where Edgerton gets his ideas from.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:45 AM
horizontal rule
235

The crust on a Fray Bentos tinned steak and kidney pudding is an amazing gorgeous amalgam of gloopy and crisp.

GY at 69 appears to be claiming that he has eaten at an Ang/us Steak/house. I have never achieved this* and somewhat doubt his claim. They are omnipresent but quite empty fronts for some other unspecified business.

*Once long ago I hatched a silly plan with a pal to eat out through the alphabet, and we started with an Angus. After we had sat, unserved, in an otherwise completely empty place, for 25 minutes -- while "waiters" moved around ignoring us and "bar-staff" spoke in low urgent voices on the phone -- we got the message and moved on to B.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:50 AM
horizontal rule
236

re: 228

You are thinking of 'stovies', I think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stovies
http://www.rampantscotland.com/recipes/blrecipe_stovies.htm
http://www.stovies.com/

Which can be found in versions that are closer to or further away from 'proper' food.

Clicking around the scottish food section on wiki reveals some things that clearly originated when people were really astonishingly poor:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sowans


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:50 AM
horizontal rule
237

234.1: nearly a hundred years later.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:51 AM
horizontal rule
238

re: 235

I've eaten at an Angus, when I was in London for work nearly 20 years ago. I was fresh out of Uni, and it was the nearest place to the (shitty) hotel they were putting me up in. I remember and overcooked steak and cold flabby veg, but it doesn't really stick in my mind as uniquely awful.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:52 AM
horizontal rule
239

I remember the pink meat and mash thing from school also. I don't recall calling it anything but the food at this particular school was nothing if not Lovecraftian: nameless and squamous. Teachers -- who were required to check the kids ate their portions up properly, and thus to set and example -- could be spotted spooning WHATEVER IT WAS THAT DAY into their pockets rather than try and bolt it down.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:55 AM
horizontal rule
240

237 cont'd: which makes the whole thing make more sense. Because if you just spent like a solid hour hacking at a can with a knife, running it over with your carriage and shooting at it with your Enfield rifle, there'd better be at least a whole fucking pie in there when you get it open.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:55 AM
horizontal rule
241

"Oh great, I nearly severed my finger for... mushy peas?! Damn you all!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:56 AM
horizontal rule
242

I was thinking the pink meat and potato thing you were talking about was corned beef hash, which rules, but no, it is a thing that does not rule.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
243

I have a friend whose party piece used to be opening cans with his bare hands. Once he showed me how, it's easier than you might think. I've certainly done it in a pinch when stuck without a can opener. I've no idea if it would work on older Edwardian style cans [I doubt it].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
244

Also I like being the only non-UK commenter in this thread right now. I feel like I should be awkwardly holding a burrito.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:57 AM
horizontal rule
245

GY at 69 appears to be claiming that he has eaten at an Ang/us Steak/house. I have never achieved this* and somewhat doubt his claim.

Once, in my teens. Never again.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
246

It has a name in Scots, but I've blanked it out - ttaM or ajay might know it. Stovies, yes. I used to know a musician (well, a guy who played in the pub) in Biggar, who went by the stage name of "Jed Stovie". His real catchprase, though, when driving us back to his house after a gig was "chillum, hen!" directed at his wife, who had vertebrae that made her look like a stegosaurus.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
247

Also I like being the only non-UK commenter in this thread right now. I feel like I should be awkwardly holding a burrito.

Strangely enough I was actually holding a burrito 20 seconds ago.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
248

re: 244

Oh yeah, when I was at Harvard the other week, they brought in burritos for lunch one day. I was hoping for something radically different from the burritos I've had here, but they were pretty much exactly the same, sadly. Perfectly nice, just nothing special.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 5:59 AM
horizontal rule
249

248: you were not in high burrito country. There are some pretty good places, actually, but... you really want the bay area for people who take great pride in their burritos.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:01 AM
horizontal rule
250

247: you bastard. I must away to Waitrose to get the makings of a tuna melt.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:02 AM
horizontal rule
251

Ah the old "Angus Steakhouse back in the day" story: you are clearly all freemasons.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:03 AM
horizontal rule
252

Is there an IPA representation of the Estuary English "L" sound, which is actually something more like a "W"? When I worked in Canary Wharf there was a sandwich bar where I would ask for a "Tuna melt" and the woman would repeat the order as "chew me:uw" more or less.
The "T" had dropped off altogether.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:07 AM
horizontal rule
253

I remember and overcooked steak and cold flabby veg, but it doesn't really stick in my mind as uniquely awful.

The food itself isn't uniquely awful, though it is awful. It's that everything is awful. The decor, the service, the eerie emptiness, the quality of the food, the pricing - which is more expensive than a much better brasserie would be. I just checked and they charge £7.50 for a fucking prawn cocktail starter. It also doesn't help for me that there are few things I enjoy less than steak cooked badly. It's much worse than a bad burger or bad roast chicken or even bad (but not dodgy) seafood.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:08 AM
horizontal rule
254

vertebrae that made her look like a stegosaurus

I guess once it can't be scrubbed from your Kindle you might as well be upfront about it.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:08 AM
horizontal rule
255

252: Looks like there isn't an agreed one.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:11 AM
horizontal rule
256

Ah: wikipedia knows:
More extensive L-vocalization is a notable feature of certain dialects of English, including Cockney, Estuary English, New York English, New Zealand English, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia English, in which an /l/ sound occurring at the end of a word or before a consonant is pronounced as some sort of close back vocoid, e.g., [w], [o] or [ʊ].

"Some sort of closed back vocoid" will do nicely.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:12 AM
horizontal rule
257

235 After we had sat, unserved, in an otherwise completely empty place, for 25 minutes

This is better than one place I went in Boston, where they immediately took our order, and after an hour and forty-five minutes of waiting we realized they were never going to bring us any food and left.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:18 AM
horizontal rule
258

254: despite, or because of the chillums, she was one of the most completely sexless creatures I have known. From this vast distance I think the combination of depression, drink and hashish had ironed out all the sparkle she might ever have had.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:19 AM
horizontal rule
259

There's a particular London/Estuary pronunciation of certain words that turns what are monophthongs in my accent, and diphthongs in many English accents into 'triphthongs' or even 'tetraphthongs'. I'm thinking of words like 'No', which are pronounced sort of like 'Naouwoo' /naʊ̯uə/. I don't know if there's a standard name for it, but I'd just like register that it makes me want to punch people.*

* not unconnected to the fact that we have a neighbour who spends all day screaming at her kids who talks this way.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:19 AM
horizontal rule
260

Is 'Ł' close enough?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:20 AM
horizontal rule
261

Surely a tetrapthong is what a sexy dinosaur wears?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:21 AM
horizontal rule
262

260 > 256


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
263

I just checked and they charge £7.50 for a fucking prawn cocktail starter.

When I was there, they had a prawn cocktail starter in a small bag for like 20p. It was called Skips or something. Those were great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
264

I thought all British people pronounced "tuna" as "chewna".


Posted by: cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:23 AM
horizontal rule
265

"Your search - stegaphthong - did not match any documents."


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:23 AM
horizontal rule
266

Because if you just spent like a solid hour hacking at a can with a knife, running it over with your carriage and shooting at it with your Enfield rifle, there'd better be at least a whole fucking pie in there when you get it open.

Perhaps. For pineapple, all that work certainly made no sense.


Posted by: Montmorency | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:23 AM
horizontal rule
267

Skips are lovely. They are made of a kind of slightly acidic veined cardboard which melts on your tongue.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:25 AM
horizontal rule
268

"Pthong" sounds like a an onomatopoeic rendition of the sound it makes when the elastic snaps.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:25 AM
horizontal rule
269

Several years ago I was in London with my parents, who wanted to eat the quintessential British meal, so we went in a fish & chip place near the British Museum that presumably caters only to tourists. The waitress was a young French woman who got very flustered when my mom asked her to explain what mushy peas are.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:26 AM
horizontal rule
270

don't know if there's a standard name for it,

The leave-it "ow".

I thought all British people pronounced "tuna" as "chewna".
"tyuna", which is closer to "chewna" than the usual American "Toona", but nevertheless distinct.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:26 AM
horizontal rule
271

Skips are lovely. They are made of a kind of slightly acidic veined cardboard which melts on your tongue.

Very true. I ate ridiculous quantities of Skips when I was younger. Though they were particularly egregious examples of the crisp (OK, starch based snack) maker's art of only using about a 1/3 of the bag's space for food.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
272

"tyuna", yes.

265: That is because they were concealed using stegapthonography in a jpeg of Tie fighters landing on a lake of mushy peas.

(Is it really obvious that I am meant to be doing my accounts, while comforting two friends whose wife and father respectively are in hospital with terminal cancers?)


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
273

to explain what mushy peas are

"A kind of very thick pea soup, flavoured with additional food colouring."

There are plenty of non-tourist places around the BM. Believe it or not, people live and work in Bloomsbury.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
274

I guess you don't know this till you know this but mushy peas really is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
275

It was surprisingly amusing hearing about the government of Chewnizzia being overthrown.


Posted by: cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:31 AM
horizontal rule
276

213.3: I always distrust homelessness statistics, as there are so many reasons for everyone involved to lie, but you'd be surprised just how many people sleep rough in the northern cities, even all winter. Here we used to have sort of last-ditch shelters in lobbies of government buildings where the most desperate people could go on the coldest nights, and not even really sleep, but just huddle in the relative warmth while a few cops watched to prevent fights. I don't know if they still do that or what. But some of the homeless people around here at least do take a great deal of pride in being able to say that they've slept outside all winter. And then I found five peas.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:32 AM
horizontal rule
277

273: Come to think, part of the cross-cultural argument about how bad the food is everywhere else is that when you're away from home, you don't have the local background to know what to avoid. The last time I was in London, a couple of years ago, we had terrible, overpriced food in restaurants, and I did have the distinct sense that no one with any local knowledge would have eaten in the specific places we were eating in. That just didn't help me find anything better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
278

Did you look for Skips?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:34 AM
horizontal rule
279

There are plenty of non-tourist places around the BM.

I don't think it was the location that gave me the impression that it catered to tourists so much as the atmosphere and decor. The food wasn't bad, though, although the color of the mushy peas was a little startling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:36 AM
horizontal rule
280

The last time I was in London, a couple of years ago, we had terrible, overpriced food in restaurants, and I did have the distinct sense that no one with any local knowledge would have eaten in the specific places we were eating in. Hang on - what about the rather lovely gastropub on York Way?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:37 AM
horizontal rule
281

I definitely say "tchoona" rather than "tyoona". And the "oo" element is all but subsumed in the air expelled when you pronounce "tch". I like that wing of Estuary English which gets you to the end of words quicker (or establishes the end before all those stupid unnecessary letters that good writing requires). The vowel melisma I don't do: too lazy and shy. More schwa than not.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:38 AM
horizontal rule
282

Stovies! Of course!

got very flustered when my mom asked her to explain what mushy peas are.

Even now she tells that story. "These Americans! I mean, 'mushy peas'? They are peas, which are mushy. They possess the property of mushiness. They are cooked in such a way that they become mushy. This does not require the brain of a Descartes to understand. Do they also need an explanation of the 'fried egg'? The 'boiled potato'?"

Angus Steakhouses always scare me. There are so many of them, on prime locations in central London, and you never see anyone eating there. Are they all money-laundering fronts? Or something much, much worse?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:47 AM
horizontal rule
283

you don't have the local background to know what to avoid

There's always Yelp. Although I guess it's not as heavily used in some parts of the world. Still, Googling goes a long way.

I think this is the best place I ate in London; it was selected by a friend who spent many hours poring over online reviews to decide where to eat before traveling.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:47 AM
horizontal rule
284

Really, a huge clue about eating in London (or touristy bits of the UK generally) is DON'T EAT FISH AND CHIPS IN A PUB. It will be horrible and twice the price it should be.

Fish and chips in a pub is what a zoologist would call an indicator species, or ajay would call a combat indicator - its presence is evidence that the pub is a tourist trap, like rat-tailed maggots indicate serious river pollution or scarred road surfaces indicate tanks in the area.

Go to a chippy instead. The food will be unrecognisably better and much cheaper. Also, the chippy itself is usually worth it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:48 AM
horizontal rule
285

277: I was in Florence a few years ago with two coworkers, one of whom was Italian. We couldn't figure out why she'd pass three places to eat and choose the fourth. Eventually, she tutored us as to how she was picking, and it made total sense. Rule 1 was never get food at a bar, only a restaurant (which looked basically identical except the wording of the sign). Rule 2 was to select a place with house-made pasta on the menu (and to order only dishes that included it).

Reading about our lousy American food makes me think of all the exchange students or other guests my extended family has entertained. Hope they enjoyed their well done pork chops, dry rice, and overcooked vegetables. And going out to chain restaurants. The only visitors truly excited about the food seemed to be Russian.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:51 AM
horizontal rule
286

Angus Steak Houses are deeply strange. I've never eaten in one, not for any easily expressed reason but just because they seem to exude a general sense of clipjointness. I wonder if this is deliberate - they're trying to attract people who know they're suckers and have subconsciously come to enjoy it.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
287

On the Angus Steakhouses, this article suggests that they are slowly dying, and a good thing too I would say.

http://sabotagetimes.com/life/save-aberdeen-angus-steakhouses-a-london-design-classic/

And also what Alex says. Just think about the sort of person who the restaurant you're looking at is trying to attract. Is it aimed to attract drunk kebab-seekers at 3 am? Is it aimed to lure in neon-befuddled out of towners in the West End? Probably best avoided then.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
288

I believe I've recounted before my experience in SF in 2001, when we went to what looked like it was going to be a great little neighborhood Chinese place -- in Chinatown -- where all the locals ate. Pretty much the worst Chinese food I've ever had outside of the place we went on our debate excursion to Moorhead, MN in the early '90s. I'm not even sure what places I would disrecommend around here based solely on food quality. There is the little white-owned Mexican joint where I always get food poisoning, but other than that, throwing a dart would probably get you something fairly palatable. There are some restaurants I've never been into that look hella sketch. I suppose I should make a special trip just to see what I've been missing.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:55 AM
horizontal rule
289

There is the little white-owned Mexican joint where I always get food poisoning

This is one of those sentences where the word "always" seems to imply a grave lapse in judgment.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
290


261: Surely a tetrapthong is what a sexy dinosaur wears.

Not to mention what the fox says.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
291

To refine 284 a bit, a lot of perfectly acceptable pubs will have fish and chips on the menu just because there is a chance an occasional tourist will demand it. The indicator is the presence of people *eating* fish and chips. Don't give up on the pub just because it might be able to give you fish and chips.

But don't eat fish and chips in a pub. Like "don't talk to the police."


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
292

I'm so lonely.


Posted by: Opinionated Stewart Copeland | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:07 AM
horizontal rule
293

289: agreed. Unless he likes getting food poisoning and that's the most reliable place to go.

290: the fox wears tetraphthongs, and the hedgehog wears one big phthong.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
294

I know this is heresy, but in my backwater there is a lovely gastropub that really does have amazing fish and chips. It's part that they have a great fish supplier, and part that they make the most amazing chips. For price, however, I much prefer my neighbourhood chippie, which is also great.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
295

To refine 284 still more, I would say that you can certainly have a pub that produces perfectly nice food of other varieties, but producing good fish and chips is a skill that is orthogonal to producing good anything else, and seems to be almost diametrically opposed to running a good pub.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:26 AM
horizontal rule
296

I've had fish and chips in a gastropub that specialises in fish and seafood. It was bloody nice, but about 6 times the price of the equivalent chippy product for a very slight improvement in quality.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
297

If you put the fryer orthogonal to the grill, stuff will fall off the grill or the oil will spill on the floor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:27 AM
horizontal rule
298

296: exactly. Posh fish and chips, like pub fish and chips, is a scam.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
299

I totally agree on the whole, but there are exceptions to all rules. The example I'm thinking of is only twice the cost, and I'd pay that for the chips alone.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:35 AM
horizontal rule
300

I've also had fish and chips here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anstruther_Fish_Bar

which, I have to say, weren't at all bad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:37 AM
horizontal rule
301

There are plenty of exceptions, but it's a good rule of thumb. Pubs that do good f&c are usually as much restaurant as pub. If you're focused on just selling as much beer as people can neck, you might be able to serve edible bangers and mash or run a basic carvery, but the odds are your fat will be stale and your chips will be flabby, cos you need to watch that stuff.

(Sheffield used to boast a combined chip shop and health club, which struck me as an inspired way of separating people from their money. The f&c were crap.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
302

Yep, me too. Years ago, though. It was a popular outing from St. Andrews.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
303

301: Oh yeah, I was really thinking about the restaurant pubs, not the pub pubs. I still get hung up on distinctions like that. I use them incorrectly all the time. (I also have the American habit of using town and city interchangeably, and don't have a village category at all, so when I first arrived I'd call the village a town and the town a city, and so on. You'd think it wouldn't matter, and yet I used to confuse people regularly about where I was going.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
304

Mr Blumenthal's plan involves fish and chips arriving at the table accompanied by a small bottle labelled "the smell of the chippy". Customers will then be encouraged to spray the "perfume" under their nostrils as they eat. The resulting aroma, intended to enhance the flavour, is redolent of pickled onions.

In June 2013, Little Chef announced that it dropped Heston Blumenthal's creations from all its menus. Little Chef spokesman Richard Hillgrove is quoted as saying that 'Heston originally approached us to do his Channel 4 show about how he was going to save Little Chef. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But he took everything away from its core.'


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
305

To be honest, DON'T EAT AT THE LITTLE CHEF was pretty good advice too. Which explains why it needed saving.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:51 AM
horizontal rule
306

Of course the branding for Little Chef's sometime rival Happy Eater depicted such an eater cheerfully sticking his finger down his own throat.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
307

To sound like an idiot here, I know the word "chippie", but there's a fair shot I'd walk past one on the street without spotting it, if you see what I mean, and other than obvious things like whether it was grossly clean or smelled bad, I wouldn't be able to tell a good one from a bad one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
308

In one of those Martha Grimes novels there's a recurring theme where whenever the detective and his pals travel from town to town, they talk about how great the Little Chef is despite how horrible its food is, because it reminds them of their provincial childhoods when they knew nothing better. They sound like the original hipsters. Anyway, that's the only other time I've heard the name "Little Chef".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
309

If it doesn't sell a saveloy in batter it's a posh fake.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
310

, and other than obvious things like whether it was grossly clean or smelled bad, I wouldn't be able to tell a good one from a bad one.

Foodies love the word "good". Every article about how simple it is to save money and time and make a great meal tells you to use "good bread", "good butter", "good pasta", "good salami", etc. Of course what's also inherent in the food advice genre is that the reader can't instinctively tell the good from the bad, because the reader isn't an expert, so the whole piece is a waste of pixels.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
311

Martha Grimes pissed me off because she ended a book with the detective guy on the ground bleeding from a gunshot and I thought that was just too much of a "buy my next book" thing. Or maybe that was somebody else I got to irked at her for some other reasons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
312

I liked the first two or three of those, and then got ineradicably bored. Too much keeping track of the detectives' personal lives, not enough attention to the individual mystery plot. And I love series detective stories where the detectives have evolving personal lives, but you have to dole that out sparingly, or it's no fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
313

To sound like an idiot here, I know the word "chippie", but there's a fair shot I'd walk past one on the street without spotting it,

The fish and chips and as noted saveloys on the counter are usually a giveaway.

As a general rule, if it's also doing kebabs and fried chicken, it's probably not good fish and chips, though there are some exceptions.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
314

I'm not sure how far back one encounters hipsters. I think the characters in Dead Poet's Society would have a run for the title, except that no actual hipster would stand on a desk like that and display such touching emotion.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
315

Well, they usually have a sign saying FISH & CHIPS or FISHERIES or FISH BAR or something like that...usually a counter so you can walk out with your fish...interesting how complicated it is to describe a chippy.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
316

289: It's a S. mpls institution, so I was always getting dragged there against my better judgment, and thinking something like "I'll just have some nachos, that won't make me sick" and then getting sick. I finally quit going about 10 years ago.

We have a hipster fish-and-chips restaurant here (like, you can sit down, there's table service, it's basically a nice place) and they have pasties on the menu. The pasty was like the inverse of those barmy cakes, or maybe a weird version of the KFC double-down: It was regular pasty filling, except stickier, with mashed instead of chopped potatoes, that had been dipped in batter and deep fried. So you couldn't really eat it with your fingers unless you wanted to get really messy. Strangest damn thing I've ever seen. Do they have that kind of pasty anywhere else?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
317

I suppose I put the apostrophe in the wrong place there.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
318

313: Yeah, see, I knew people were going to make fun of me. But I bet you can spot a place that's obviously a chippie from three blocks away without actually reading the sign, because they all look similar -- I can do the equivalent here. For me in London to find fish and chips, I'd need to actually look inside the building.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
319

Isn't the paradigm for a chippy old what'sherface from Brighton Rock? Except for her generous qualities which don't really fit.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
320

I guess the US equivalent of a chippie would be those chicken-and-fish restaurants where you get a whole bunch of wings, fried to within an inch of reincarnation, or fried catfish, plus white bread and maybe home fries. They don't serve them in newspaper or anything though, just regular takeout containers.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
321

Pease pudding and saveloys!
I had no idea what saveloys were. As a kid I decided to assume any odd-to-me British food name I across while reading was "some kind of weird fish."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
322

They haven't served fish and chips here in newspaper for 40 years. Health and safety. Some posh gaffs wrap the cardboard or plastic box in newsprint for a retro joke, but mostly it's plain white paper off a roll.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
323

321: Relatedly, for a long time I wasn't sure which was supposed to be which out of abalone and baloney. I never encountered either frequently enough for it to stick in my memory.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
324

I still only know that a saveloy is some kind of sausage, but not what kind. I assume cheap and bready, but I'm guessing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
325

I have only ever encountered Pease Pudding in nursery rhymes (hot, cold, nine days old etc).

The sign very often features a stylised picture of a fish (but rarely of chips). The decor tends towards white tiling and bright overhead lights, metal counters with a heated shelf containing various items already cooked on show behind glass (the chips will almost always be done to order but the fish is being kept warm).


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
326

Some posh gaffs wrap the cardboard or plastic box in newsprint for a retro joke, but mostly it's plain white paper off a roll.

Some really posh gaffs use wax paper which has fake newsprint on the outside.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
327

Oh I forgot chippie has an "i.e." at the end. The United States version would be an overripe tart of some sort with limited horizons, cooked easily, smeared with grease. If there were a restaurant which served only toaster strudel I suppose it would fit.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
328

I read somewhere, possibly Language Log, that 'pease' is a mass noun meaning legume-mush, and the count noun 'pea' is a later backformation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
329

The sign very often features a stylised picture of a fish

LB probably thought they were some kind of church.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
330

Saveloy is foreign for brains. These days it's made of the bits they fear to put in a sausage.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
331

"i.e."

oh fml autocorrect, oh fml.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
332

I'd need to actually look inside the building.

You'd be able to smell it. I live a half mile from one and when the wind shifts just right I can occasionally smell fish and chips on the air. (And it's a good one; it's not like it stinks.)

I've made pease pudding. It's basically English dal. So good.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
333

Pease pudding surely ought to be mushy peas. But apparently it isn't.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
334

333: Split yellow peas, tied up in cheesecloth with aromatics, cooked in broth of some sort (I make it when I'm cooking a gammon, just alongside it), and then mashed with a little broth and mustard in the variation I make.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
335

There used to be a great one at the end of my road, run (pleasingly enough) by two Finns.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
336

There's an Irish bar near our house that has damned excellent fish and chips that they serve in newspaper. I don't really know why they serve it in newspaper, but I'm assuming it's not ironic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
337

Fisheries, chipperies,
British comestibles
Appeal to chris y,
Ajay, Alex and natter

Don't go to the ones
That offer kebobs
Only patronize those
With saveloys fried in batter


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
338

I'd always thought saveloys were known in the USA, because I read a story where Louis Armstrong made his first visit to Britain after the two Musicians' Unions did some kind of deal to allow it, and the British trumpeter Mick Mulligan assembled a band to greet him at the airport.

Louis was delighted, and borrowed Mulligan's instrument to blow a chorus with them. Handing it back, he remarked, "Y'oughta get the saveloys outta your horn, man."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
339

321: I thought it was a fish too!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
340

322: Yes, some of the places here also get the fake newsprint wax paper, which seems like over-egging it a bit to me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
341

People, we've given away the saveloy thing. Now they'll tell all their charming labrador-like friends that it's actually a big smoked sausage, not a special Dickensian fish.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
342

Any other British food questions? Does anyone here know anyone who's ever eaten a pickled egg?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
343

I used to get sausage at the chippie when I didn't have much money. They didn't call it saveloy, just sausage. It was cheaper than the fish by quite a bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
344

A pickled egg is actually a kind of sea urchin, also known as a picklepocket.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
345

Does anyone here know anyone who's ever eaten a pickled egg?Does anyone here know anyone who's ever eaten a pickled egg?

That's a british thing? You can get them by the forty gallon tub at Wal-Mart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
346

The definitive and best chippie product [apart from fish] is haggis, of course. Even better served with either chip sauce [Edinburgh, not Glasgow] or curry sauce. The curry sauce being the bright yellow 'Chinese' version that tastes like Japanese curry.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
347

Is a British pickled egg different? I've not seem them here except in with beets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
348

Does anyone here know anyone who's ever eaten a pickled egg?

Of course! You open a bag of ready salted crisps (US=chips), mush the egg into them and eat it with the shards of crisp adhering to it. Essential with your third pint.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
349

Pickled eggs make me think of those big jugs of them sitting (forever uneaten???) next to the cash register in shitty liquor stores.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
350

Among my literarily-inspired destination food desires as a child (first on the list: getting to Kansas City AS SOON AS POSSIBLE for some Arthur Bryant's) was a really intense need to have real yorkshire pudding, ideally in Yorkshire. This was fairly baffling to my parents.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
351

277: Where were you? We ate spectacularly well in London, but a lot of that is probably down to, for the most part, not really doing a lot of the classically touristy things. (Well, and doing a fair bit of research beforehand and being able to pull up TimeOut or the Grauniad on our phones.)

And this entire subthread is making me even sadder that I never actually got fish and chips while I was over there. Goddammit.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
352

But you can have deep fried sushi whenever you like.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
353

I'm trying to remember. We actually did fine at dinners; eating largely with an old boss of Buck's who lived in London at the time and knew a lot of good places. It was wandering around doing touristy things and thinking "It's lunchtime, let's find a place," without a lot of preplanning that went bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
354

351: did you go to Hasan's?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
355

Pickled eggs make me think of those big jugs of them sitting (forever uneaten???) next to the cash register in shitty liquor stores at Moe's.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
356

Isn't there some legal technicality in some states that bars must also serve food, and so the jar of pickled eggs was the work-around? I remember hearing something like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
357

I've eaten pickled eggs. They used to have them in the Fulminating Fascist in Walden before it moved into the century of the fruitbat


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
358

356: PA used to have that rule. I've never seen pickled eggs in a bar here, but I don't want to go to a bar that is trying to avoid serving food.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
359

My in-laws make pickled eggs on most holidays. Just boil some eggs and then dump a jar of beets over them. Maybe there's some added vinegar or something. Anyway, not bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
360

Probably the beets are pickled beets, so the juice with the beets already has vinegar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:02 AM
horizontal rule
361

356: Around here, you have to make 60% of your income from food vs. liquor in order to be a "restaurant" and have an easier time getting a liquor license. If you just want to run a bar though, you can forgo food entirely as long as you're properly zoned & licensed. We used to also have a lot of 3.2 (% alcohol) bars, but I believe there are only 1 or 2 left now -- not sure what the food requirements were for them.

On the other hand, liquor stores cannot sell food of any kind -- about the closest they can get is fruit juices for mixers. And supermarkets can only sell 3.2 or non-alcoholic beverages.

Even if I hadn't held a liquor license, I would probably know all this. Especially in the old days, everybody in Minneapolis was an expert on our antiquated system of blue laws.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
362

It was wandering around doing touristy things and thinking "It's lunchtime, let's find a place," without a lot of preplanning that went bad.

Yeah, that'll get you every time. I've just come to accept that on vacation you're going to have a certain percentage of dire meals. Then I spend a ridiculous amount of time beforehand planning out all of the restaurants I want to go to.

354: No! I'm already planning my next trip back just so I can eat more of the things I didn't get to this time. I could spend an entire day just on Borough Market alone.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:04 AM
horizontal rule
363

Regular bars here that don't have an actual kitchen will often sell chips (crisps) and Heggie's brand pizza. They have a special little electric pizza oven that sits behind the bar.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
364

361.2 further: And convenience stores, which also can't sell anything stronger that 3.2, have to sell milk. Not sure if that was originally meant to be a prop to the dairy industry or something more along the lines of forcing people to eat healthier or what.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
365

The curry sauce being the bright yellow 'Chinese' version that tastes like Japanese curry.

I seriously love that stuff. I don't know why.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
366

I also love pickled beets and eggs. My grandma makes the best version, of course.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
367

US equivalent of a chippie would be those chicken-and-fish restaurants

This description fits Harold's, which has wonderful fried chicken and fried perch. I think that the key with fried food is having it made to order and eaten immediately, right at the counter next to the bulletproof glass. Going home or to the beach with it makes for a much worse culinary experience. Tacos are the same way-- seconds count.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
368

re: 365

Yeah, me too. I don't eat it at all often, but now and again, it's great. Edinburgh [east and east-central Scotland, in general, really] 'sauce' is also nice. It's basically brown sauce diluted with malt vinegar. It somehow just works with chips and fatty fried stuff to add the right amount of tang.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
369

361.2 further: And convenience stores, which also can't sell anything stronger that 3.2, have to sell milk

Why wouldn't a convenience store sell milk?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
370

Vegan refrigerators.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
371

The thing about "sauce" as in "salt and sauce" is that it implies that there is only one sauce.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
372

There are four fundamental sauces: Mayo, brown, queso, and melted butter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
373

re: 371

In an Edinburgh chippie, that'd generally be true. Or at least, there's a default sauce. All other sauces need to be specifically identified. Same with fish. Generally in a Scottish chippie, 'a fish supper' [i.e. fish and chips] will be haddock, unless you specify 'special fish' [cod] or some other variety of fish by name.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
374

That's interesting; in England, getDinner.fish_and_chips() defaults to cod unless you set the species=[haddock/rock salmon/plaice] kwarg.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
375

In America, it's best not to ask what type of fish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
376

the fish is dynamically typed and depending on context may be cod, haddock, or a horse-sized duck.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
377

So can places like this be any good, or better to stay away?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
378

Unless you're paying more than $10 for a fish dish, the server will not know what type of fish it is (exception: salmon). If you're paying more, the server will know how to answer but someone along the supply chain will have lied to somebody so that answer will probably be wrong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
379

There used to be a chippie in Falkirk that used to serve all kinds of exotic fish. I guess just whatever they spotted at the fish market that looked quirky or interesting. So you could get the usual cod, haddock, plaice, etc. But they'd also do conger eel, or ray or whatever ugly looking deep sea monster they had as a special. I have vague memories of alligator being on the menu once.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
380

377. Occasionally brilliant, occasionally unspeakable, usually OKish. You need to like that sort of thing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
381

After the USSR discovered the Antarctic fishery in the 1960s, they started sending fleets of factory trawlers there, with the result that all sorts of fish started appearing in fishmongers in Moscow and Kiev that was only identified by the Linnean name, because there just wasn't a common name for them yet.

The USSR was hella SF sometimes.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
382

A good 'caff' can be excellent. If you like fried breakfasts or the sorts of other food they do, that is. As chris says, some are horrible, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
383

367: The Fish Keg -- my very favorite sign in Chicago.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
384

There's a store near us with a big sign out front that says "Fish Furniture."

I think if you put more stress on the word "Fish" when you pronounce it, you make it more clear that "Fish" refers to the animals the furniture is intended for, which is clearly the best way to interpret the sign, rather than thinking it refers to the last name of the guy who owns the store.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
385

I bet they do a roaring trade in treasure chests and antique diver's helmets.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
386

Until today, I thought saveloys were a kind of cabbage - some kind of "aubergine is British for eggplant and courgette for zucchini" crossed with "savoy cabbage is some weird kind of cabbage we don't get around here". Only when it occurred to me that fish and chip shops simply couldn't have been serving cabbage in batter all these years without that fact turning up in some novel I'd read did I think to check on just what a saveloy actually is.

Also, it turns out that I have been making pease pudding all these years under the impression that I was just making a very thick yellow split pea soup.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
387

384: Not as bad as "White Family Dentistry" though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
388

People, we've given away the saveloy thing. Now they'll tell all their charming labrador-like friends that it's actually a big smoked sausage, not a special Dickensian fish.

But a "mangold-wurzel" is a fish, right?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
389

No, a redhead.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
390

"Saveloy" seems like a useful crossword word, but I'd never known it before now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
391

358: Chief's on North Craig. Iconic dive bar, one of the few places in Pittsburgh where college students and working class blacks mingle (or at least drink in close proximity to one another).

The new burger place on Western Ave (N. Side, probably the best burger in Pittsburgh, certainly among the best 2-3) actually serves a pickled egg as part of their mixed pickle app, and it's glorious.

Oh, and a Brit-themed* pub on the South Side has just opened - after a year or more of working on it - a chippie shop next door (pasties, too). Haven't been yet, but they've been very intent on getting it right, and they're not going for posh (it will surely cost more than its counterparts, but that's just due to mastering a foreign skill - can't hire a random local to run the fryer, because they'd screw it up).

*note tiresomely so; it's mostly a bar with its TVs always tuned to international football that has a beer and food menu that skews Brit; it's not one of these nauseating "Irish pubs".


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
392

391: Also true of the Squirrel Cage.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
393

Isn't the US equivalent of fish and chips one of those fried fish places where they serve it with one or more standard Southern sides? There's always been one or two around where I live. In other food news my formerly very ghetto local supermarket (an Associated which used to believe that produce should only be sold about a weak after it began to turn yellow) is now selling foie gras.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
394

Overgeneralizing in the manner of some of the people at the linked article, I've just concluded that Baltimore has the world's most disagreeable taxi dispatchers. I guess I'll find out tomorrow morning if my cab was actually scheduled or not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
395

one of those fried fish places where they serve it with one or more standard Southern sides?

I don't know if Moby Dick Seafood exists as a chain outside of Louisville, but now that you mention this I'm craving it. Fried fish & french fries & hushpuppies & cole slaw. I think they also offer kale as a side.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11- 5-13 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
396

The hushpuppies I had were a disappointment. I can only assume the puppies are more crestfallen than satisfied.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 11- 6-13 3:23 AM
horizontal rule
397

This thread seems to be over but I will nevertheless comment on 189, which is very true according to my experience. That is, Germans are really smug when it comes to deficencies in other nations welfare states especially the US. But you can encounter more than enough homeless people in Germany. In winter they often seek shelter in subways if available.


Posted by: Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq. | Link to this comment | 11- 7-13 10:21 AM
horizontal rule