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Category Archive for 'England'

In 1994, and after six playfully-humorous seasons of barbershop-based banter, fans of British-Caribbean sitcom “Desmond’s” were disappointed when the show was discontinued. This blow may have been softened when they learned that it was to be succeeded by spin-off show “Porkpie”, but, after two fairly insipid seasons, this too was consigned to the bin of […]

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For much of what we are accustomed to seeing around Christmas, the candles, trees, the mistletoe, the decorations, and many of the songs, we need to thank the Germans. Not specifically those residents of the modern nation state of Germany, but the historic Germanic-speaking peoples of central Europe, for whom the birth of our Lord […]

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If the path from high finance executive to cookbook author isn’t a well-beaten one, then the path from stock-broker to market stall-holder is even more poorly trod. But, for Oxford-educated former bankers turned Banh Mi vendors-cum-restaurateurs, Van Tran and Anh Vu, that was their peregrination. They certainly don’t say so in the book, but it’s […]

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A typical Sunday morning (or afternoon depending on what time they crawl out of bed) for a New Yorker involves brunch. And what, perhaps, characterizes brunch in New York more than anything else is bagels, cream cheese and lox. However, few, if any, New Yorkers, I would guess, think about lox very much, probably because […]

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In his rather witty book, French Lessons, Peter Mayle attends the annual Fete de Grenouilles (Festival of Frogs-Legs) in Vittel, France, and describes an episode at the festival banquet in which an attendee, elbow deep in amphibian thighs, tells him that if he thinks eating frogs is unusual, she had heard of an even more […]

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Most Brits associate mincemeat with Christmas – its intoxicating mix of fruit, spices, booze, nuts and mixed peel provide Pavlovian stimuli, stirring memories of cherubic choirs a-caroling, roasted poultry, and the Queen’s speech – whereas I associate it with Easter, because it was always around then that we finally ran out of mince pies. I […]

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I often think that living in a small scruffy New York City apartment is akin to a pioneer life in a log cabin somewhere remote. Sure, the commute is easier, but the myriad quotidien affronts and man traps of a city existence certainly resemble the perils of life on the range.

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“A journey is a fragment of hell.” – Prophet Mohammed Regular readers will most likely know a handful of factoids about us WANF-ers and our proclivities, among them: one of us is English, the other Italian-American; we enjoy making a wide variety of dishes, many of which we’ve sampled on our travels; and we have […]

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According to British and Irish tradition, black pudding has an esteemed place next to the bacon rashers, sausage links, fried eggs, mushrooms, fried tomato and fried slice in an old-fashioned greasy spoon breakfast, but its almost complete absence from the American breakfast table is confusing, especially given our known preference towards an injection of cholesterol […]

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One finds mulligatawny soup on an Indian restaurant menu the same way one always finds buffalo wings or nachos on a bar menu. It just has to be there – if it wasn’t on the menu you just know there’s something wrong with the place. But how many of you have ever ordered it over […]

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In the tiny Cheshire hamlet of Lower Peover (pronounced “peever”) is the delightfully rustic country pub “The Bells”, so-called because one has to literally walk around it to get to the parish church. In fact, so aligned are church and boozer that the two are separated by only fifty feet of graveyard, a low gate […]

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New Jersey, it’s like a cross-section of the entire United States stuffed into a very small area — fenced-in by heavy industry, ugly sub-divisions, peaceful tidal bays and relaxing shore towns — but with its own very distinct character. And, if you drive around it long enough, you’re bound to see some pretty interesting stuff. This goes […]

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Every stereotype, no matter how absurd the caricature, has, at its core, a grain of truth. Though I doubt anyone has ever seen him, the beret and black and white hooped sweater-sporting Frenchman with a cigarette hanging off his lower lip and a baguette under his arm, remains an abiding image of France; and in […]

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File this one under “utter fabrications told to you by older sibling and believed for too long”. I must have been very young when my sister (15 months my senior) informed me that I should be wary of eating my grandmother’s suet dumplings because suet was the gooey material supporting bovine eye-balls. Quite where she got this […]

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Even though mulled wine should remind me of being in the church choir as a cherub-faced youngster and singing Christmas carols with frosty breath overlooking a seasonally-decorated nave and a sea of pink-cheeked parishoners, it doesn’t. In spite of this being the way I was introduced to this most famous Yuletide beverage, my abiding memories […]

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Since Amy and I have been together I think we’ve only spent two Thanksgivings in America – not because we don’t enjoy turkey, but because it is often the cheapest time of the year to leave the country as many expat Americans are returning home. And true to form, this year, despite a sizable delay […]

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We recently invited you to tell us what your top five flavors of potato crisps/chips are, and we were, frankly, amazed that so many of you did. Not only that, we were surprised by the variety of flavors you selected. It seems that there is a wide world of taste out there and we are […]

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Those of you who have watched or read Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, will be familiar with the idea of top fives. In the movie, the main character (played by John Cusack) is a record shop owner, who spends most of the movie revisiting the demise of his past relationships, and in so doing, constantly re-imagines […]

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In celebration of the start of Euro 2008 – the European soccer/football championships – yesterday, and in light of the fact that England failed to qualify because they were awful, I am in need of a team to follow, so have decided to become an honorary Spanish soccer fan for the next month, or however […]

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Normally, when I think of prunes my first thought is the familiar TV commercial showing the side-by-side comparison of someone experiencing “bloating and discomfort” and someone enjoying the verve and gaiety brought on by just one bowlful of California prunes. However, since last Thursday, my first thought is now “when can I have some more?”. […]

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So, the headline above might be slightly hyperbolic, but the sentiment I’m trying to convey is very real and serious. Last night, UK TV cooking legend, Delia Smith’s new show Delia premiered on BBC2 and instead of garnering the rave reviews virtually every one of her previous series have, this one has been roundly panned, […]

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In the British calendar the final Tuesday before Lent is known as “Shrove Tuesday”, though it’s more often referred to as “pancake day” in modern times. The derivation of the word “shrove” is unclear but it is thought to be derived from “shriving” or asking forgiveness for sins, a typical Christian activity on this day. […]

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It’s freezing here in New York. Freezing! Yesterday, it didn’t get above 26F/-3C. Just the kind of weather when you need something to warm (as they say in London’s East End) the cockles of your heart. Years ago, on a freezing January day I took a walk with a friend around Alexandra Palace in north […]

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According to an exceedingly poorly written article on MSN UK today, the UK’s favorite food (as voted by 50,000 members of the public) is, guess what? No, not bangers, not mash, not fish, chips, or mushy peas. Neither is it roast beef or Yorkshire pudding, spotted dick or trifle, nor is it, to my great […]

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So, as the beautifully illustrated post by my wife (see below) attests, we were recently in the UK, and spent a good portion of that trip inside pubs enjoying traditional pub food and cask-conditioned, hand-pulled ales. I describe the beers in this way for a reason. You see, the old joke that Americans never seem […]

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We’re back from our quick, 5-day trip to Northern England to visit Jonny’s family and I may just go to bed at 9PM like I did last night! The problem with these quick trips home (I feel like it’s kind of my home these days) is that by the time you’re over the jet lag, […]

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Lunch is a tricky time for me and, I’m sure, many Americans, who enjoy good food, in a way that it isn’t for most Europeans, or at least, most southern Europeans. There is no place in American life for the leisurely two-hour, weekday lunch that many French, Italians and Spanish enjoy several times a week. […]

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