PRESTON: Fish and chips and other food

So, in honor of Fat Tuesday, let’s talk about food…

Yes, fish and chips are a thing. A massive thing. Fish and chips in every pub, fish and chips food stands, fish and chips specialties depending on the region… all the fish and chips you could ask for and more. Luckily, they taste pretty good so long as you don’t mind the occasional bone.

Unfortunately, mushy peas are also a thing. And they are EVERYWHERE. Often times overtaking the other, more edible foods on your plate. It’s like they took peas and made the texture even more unbearable. But seriously, if you enjoy eating Gerber baby food, this is the choice for you.

Peanut butter is not such a thing over here. You can find it at certain grocery stores, but people don’t use it nearly as frequently as we do in the States. Good thing I anticipated this and brought a Costco-sized container of JIF with me.

Ranch dressing is almost impossible to find.

If you ask for a side of ranch at a restaurant, they’ll either look at you like you have three heads or they’ll happily bring you back a side of mayonnaise. Not the same thing.

There’s always more than enough pastries to choose from, and the same goes for tea selection. The British love their tea. The stereotype is true in that sense. But they do also drink coffee quite regularly. This was exciting news for an addict such as me. However, most university students simply prepare instant coffee or even worse, just mix coffee grinds into boiling water.

It makes me cringe.

Also, it’s true, the chocolate here is better. I hate to hate on Hershey’s, but Cadbury really knows what it’s doing. Before I left America, I had a Brit inform me that American chocolate tastes like cheese. I definitely wouldn’t go so far as to agree with that, but the British stuff is more enjoyable. I cannot wait for Easter.

Now, I’m about to drop a bombshell on all you carnivores, so I need you to sit down if you’re not already doing so… The “bacon” here is not bacon. At least, not in the way that we imagine it. I know, I know, it’s tragic. Apparently, according to the English, we eat what they refer to as “streaky” bacon. While you can find it at the grocery store, you should not expect it if you order it at a restaurant or a pub. Many American exchange students have been disappointed by making that rookie mistake.

One of the first weeks I was here, the student union was having “American Week” and serving uniquely American food. Translation: larger portions with more cholesterol. Instead of a regular hamburger, you could get a triple burger with extra bacon and onion rings on it.

They were also serving breakfast foods, which are a lot harder to find here as well. Don’t get me wrong, the full English breakfast has a lot to offer, but it’s still not the same as pancakes at Magnolia’s Cafe on South Congress.

Truthfully though, most things are the same and my eating habits haven’t changed all that drastically other than finally jumping on-board the tea train. (British tea is a million times better than American tea- don’t ask me how or why- it just is.) And best of all, even in Preston, everyone and their mother had piles and piles of pancakes yesterday.