Since landing in the UK five weeks ago, my family has been eating high on the hog.... Partly because I have been forced, by geographical location, to cook almost every night, but also because I have been spending an inordinate amount of money of really great food. With the stores being new and different and so many new products to try out, I've been testing and trying out all kinds of fabulous things.
And, to be perfectly honest, the food here is just plain better (in many ways) than it is the US. The government keeps a much tighter leash on growers and producers here, so many additives that are found in our food in America are outlawed in the UK. I haven't been bothered enough to go seek out all the info I probably should on the topic, but you can definitely taste a difference (most evident in breakfast cereals, where they don't taste as sweet). The photos of the Animal are him enjoying the Ramen noodles.... which are fantastic here. I think they have about 1/3 of the salt and don't actually seem like they are bad for you. :)
I also feel a little bit like I've landed in the Garden of Eden here because we have plum, apple, and pear trees in the garden. :) The plums are now long gone, but the pears just ripened and I picked a bunch two days ago. The apples should be ripe in the next two weeks, I'm guessing. Yesterday, I made a Pear Crisp with the garden's bounty and I am proud as a peacock about it. I get an inordinate amount of satisfaction from using any ingredients from my garden, but this one was particularly pleasurable, for some reason. Usually I only gather herbs from my little patch at our house in Madison, so maybe it is because this was a matter of picking several pounds worth of pear-y goodness?
I also have been loving going to the local market in Romsey, which has been a market town since about 1300 a.d. My favorite things are the French baker that set up shop with her sinfully delicious 'coupe suisse' pastries and the olive man, who has amazing olives and even more amazing sundried tomatoes. These particular tomatoes are a revelation! They are sundried only to a certain point and while gaining the intensity of flavor from the drying process, they still, magically, retain the juicy sweetness of a perfectly ripe grape tomato.... Oh, lordy, they are good!
My other food fad that I am luxuriating in, is my daily Red Leiceister cheese, plum tomato, and mayonnaise on French bread.... Something about cheddar, tomato, and mayo put together equals a palatial alchemy that I have been in love with since I was 21. And being a person who never really loved raw tomotoes, it was an extraordinary thing for me to fall in love with!
Thank goodness for all the walking!