Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Feast

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!


  1. Eeeh, there's nowt like a good cheese and tomato sandwich!!

  2. UK stores are FAR superior to the US....soooo....what time's lunch? :)

  3. Yum.

    I spent my summers in Europe and EVERYTHING tasted better. Our village was far away from any "fast food" and home cooked meals were THE best. Ever.

    Awesome photos Amy.

  4. Yumm! a French bakery, I am ready to chow down now!


  5. I'm thinking that we are on our way to becoming a 3rd world country. Here in CA we are closer to it than the other 49!

  6. Yes, you're right, the Brits do have tighter controls on what can be sold in their stores. Any wonder why American beef is banned? They also have those gorgeous farmers markets you can take advantage of at least twice a week.

    A Brit I follow on Twitter just said today that the kids food at Disney World tasted like cardboard. I don't think that is much of an exaggeration frankly and it's just not a Disney. We have a lot to answer for here in America about the quality of our food.

  7. You couldn't sound happier.


  8. We have such a bumper crop of tomatoes that I have been slow roasting them for 6 hours in the oven. They are like candy. Next week a couple of friends and I are getting together to make spicy pear chutney, I'll send you the recipe. I love fall, it's the only time I really feel like cooking.

  9. Every thing tastes better when you are happy !! XXp

  10. Perhaps I should have read this before my pancake dinner.


    Pear crisp? Wife makes apple all the time. I'll have to tell her about this.

  11. Good Morning - over from "Always Home and Uncool" blog.

    I couldn't agree more with you about the Tomato, Cheese and Mayo sandwhich! Luv them.

  12. Must agree. When I went to the US last time, I was surprised by how much sugar there was in the bread, the cereals and even the pizza bases.

    Ah, how I long for some Red Leicester.

  13. I totally know what you mean! The first breakfast we had here, Sascha and I took a bite of the fresh bread and croissants with butter and jam and simultaneously went: Yuuuumm!! Then we stuffed our faces. And in the middle of it all, we stopped, looked at each other and then at the food, then at each other again... and I said: is it me, or everything is just SO much tastier here?
    Sascha: I know!!! It's amazing, really. And we even shopped in Whole Foods, which had really good stuff. But this is better!

    Translation: haven't lost weight since moving here. Food just tastes too damn good ;-)

  14. Wait. No pictures of the pig joint or bacon thingy or whatever it's called?


  15. All that looks so good.

    Years from now, you'll look back and wonder how y'all made it through this move, etc.

    And you'll be glad that you did make it through, and have a million memories to carry you.

  16. In THAT kitchen? I'd actually WANT to cook and I think I'd gain 20 pounds.

  17. And now I'm curious ... what do you do with the sundried tomatoes? Pasta?

  18. I like the little comment at the end... "thank goodness for all the walking"... my thoughts exactly! But watch out, my dear. You're not on vacation. You live there remember? Just warning as I saw the kilos in my family start to pile on after about 3 months of indulging in the amazing food we find in Italy.

    ;) So glad you are having fun!

  19. I'm glad to see you made it over safely!! I am so very jealous!!

    programming note: some people have told me that they aren't getting the feed for my blog in their readers since I switched names. You may need to resubscribe (or unfollow and then follow me again.) Sorry for the mixup everyone!!

  20. Great post - lovely blog too! I also LOVE tomato, mayo and cheese sandwiches! Yum.

    Holli in Ghana

  21. "thank goodness for all the walking"... my thoughts exactly! But watch out, my dear. You're not on vacation. You live there remember? Just warning as I saw the kilos in my family start to pile on after about 3 months of indulging in the amazing food we find in Italy.
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Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.