Friday, January 22, 2010

I'd Like to Thank the Brits . . .

Being of complete British stock, I know a thing or two about our friendly cousins across the ocean. 

Here are some things they have given us that I truly appreciate:

1.  Tea

My grandfather taught me how to brew a perfect cup of tea when I was quite small.  Boil cold water (I don’t really know why), warm up teapot with hot water prior to putting tea bag/leaves into pot, pour water into pot. 

I mean it’s not rocket science is it?  And yet, how come some cups of tea taste better than others?  It’s part tea itself, part brewing time and part pot. I’m not kidding.  If you have a crap pot you will have crap tea.  Survey says? The traditional old Brown Betty is still the best pot for brewing tea. 

I’ve grown up drinking tea first thing in the morning.  My mum doesn’t really talk to me before she has her tea.  We drink tea when we come in from an outing, be it groceries or the Oscars.  We drink tea in the tub.  We drink tea when we are sick.  When we are sad.  When we are happy.  I would venture to guess I drink about four pots a day.  That’s over 10 cups of tea. 

In England, I noticed my tea consumption went up when visiting my relatives.  ‘Fancy a brew?’ is the code for a cup of tea.  But I guess that isn’t really a code, it's pretty straightforward.

I am also a firm believer in tea cozies (or as my little friend Sophia says, ‘tea hats’).  Like warming your pot before filling it with tea, a cozy keeps your pot warm so you can have countless cups of warm tea.  I use a pink and white one my grandmother knitted.  She died when I was fairly young so I like to think she’s there with me at every cup, having her own tasty brew.

Our flat in London is not equipped with a kettle.  The Engineer suggested I warm up water in a microwave.  I don’t even know how to tell him all the wrong that is that sentence. 

2.  Fascinators

Do you know what these are?  Probably not.  It hasn’t exactly caught on over here.  They’ve tried to come here, and some brave girls venture out with this atop their curls (read: me) but for most Canucks, we are not a headpiece-wearing nation.

Too bad.

Look at how cute they are. 


We had a stagette for my friend last year at the racetrack.  Her maid-of-honour created these little masterpieces for all to wear.  They were gorgeous and totally made our outfits!

At my wedding I fully intend to wear one in lieu of a veil, have my bridesmaids wear them and encourage my guests to get in the British frenzy.

3.  Food

Yes, you heard me right:  food.  And not just Jamie, Gordon or Nigella.  I mean British food.

I know the reputation but I feel strongly that British food offers some of the best comfort around.  I don’t know anything that tastes much better than my mum’s roast beef and hot Yorkshire pudding.  Or my auntie’s potato pie with mushy peas.  My cousin makes a killer chicken stew with dumplings.  Sausages?  With mashed potatoes and gravy?  Cornish pasties?  Chicken and leek pies?  Eton mess?  Clotted cream, jam and scones? Hula Hoops? 

Need I go on? 

Nothing warms a soul like British comfort.

4.  Nicknames

Not that these have been imported but I am trying to start a trend.  British people call each other cute pet names like chicken, pigeon, sausage, chook (which is a cute form of chicken), hen, dove, love, and pet.  Am I missing anything?

A man called me chicken and I swooned.  He was 80.

5. Pimm's.  See previous entry.

6.  Jane Austen, her books, the movies starring Colin Firth.

Nothing here to add except did you know there is a Jane Austen festival in Bath and you can rent Georgian dress and prance around Bath like Elizabeth Bennet??  AAAAAAAAAH!

7.  Men with accents

Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Prince William and Harry, Clive Owen, Jude Law, and the list goes on. 

8.  Chick Lit

Thank you thank you thank you Helen Fielding and our favorite girl with a diary, Bridget!  Since then, British writers have filled shelves with books that belong on Easter Sunday (due to their bright, pastel colours).  Mostly all the same, but the best beach reads ever!!

9.  Cadbury

Ummmm.  Yes.  Dairy Milk forever.  Swiss chocolate my ass, it’s all about English chocolate.  And speaking of ass . . . . mine is getting big.

10. Harry Potter

I am still waiting for my invite to Hogwarts.

And last, but not least, my favourite Sunday morning activity:  watching Corrie.  I don't care what you think, I love Coronation Street.

And I love England

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