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The Great British Food Myths


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Posted (edited)

6. π and Mash

 

Talking of mash leads me straight on to YouTube’s next top British food destination, to sample a “hugely popular dish” that the vast majority of British people have never eaten and which is becoming more and more rare. But first a bit of history.

 

Pies have been a British staple for centuries, probably introduced by the Romans who had learned the art of pie-making from the Greeks. One of the earliest known English language cookbooks “The Forme of Cury”, published around 1390, gives recipes for pies, including these “Crustardes of Flessh” meaning meat pies – in this case spiced pigeon, chicken and “small bird” pies. There are also recipes for pork pies and fish pies. Fruit pies didn’t appear for another 200 years, in the reign of Elizabeth I.

 

295377960_FormeofCury.thumb.jpg.b6b5becc652e35fe6def99d3a9e654a7.jpg

Note: “Cury” has nothing to do with the "Indian"  dish, curry. ‘’Cury" is a Middle English version of “cookery” and could also refer to “cooked dishes”.

 

The Forme of Cury can be read online or downloaded as a free e-book in all popular formats, here.

 

By the 16th century, pies were popular with everyone from the poor agricultural workers who could carry them to the fields for lunch, all the way up to royalty who enjoyed ever more outlandish creations.

Sing a song of six-pence, a pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.
Now wasn’t that a tasty dish to set before the king!

 

This is not some bizarre fantasy, but a record of a real dish. Epulario, or The Italian banquet, an Italian cookbook by Giovanne De Rosselli, from 1598, gives a recipe.

 

Epulario.thumb.jpg.0d79e8adbd9c55f6d7972668dabd748d.jpg

 

An English translation of Upularia can be read online here or is available in paperback form on Amazon here (eG-friendly Amazon.com link).

 

In the mid to late 18th century, itinerant pie men wandered the streets of London and other major cities selling their beef, mutton or eel pies. They also visited fairs and other outdoor events. Not all their customers were called Simon or were simple.

 

Simple Simon met a pie man

Going to the fair;

Says Simple Simon to the pie man,

Let me taste your ware.

The origins of this rhyme are obscure, but it is generally dated to the 17th century.

 

At the peak of this pie trade, there were estimated to be some 600 pie men in London alone; but by the mid 19th century only around 50 remained and their time was soon to be up.

 

Throughout the 18th and particularly 19th centuries, more and more successful pie men started opening small shops to sell their pies. With permanent premises came better hygiene and consistency of products. The shops selling pies to be taken away soon also offered seating. Most were quite simple places, still catering to the working classes, but some were more upmarket, such as the one below.

 

167701069_PieHouseapopulartavernandteagardeninHarringaynorthLondon.thumb.jpg.dc62eb772d9d8766d1dc61ad97e789d2.jpg

Pie House, a popular tavern and tea garden in Harringay, north London, 18th century. Public Domain image.

 

Many of these pie shops in London also began serving stewed eels. Or eel shops also started selling pies. The River Thames was, at that time, a major source of European eels, providing another cheap but nutritious protein to supplement the pies. The eels were generally stewed and served hot until it was noticed that, if left to cool down, the cooking liquid turned to jelly, eels being high in collagen. So, the shops started selling both stewed eels and jellied eels.

 

1024px-Eels_1385.thumb.JPG.5d0cd0c9edb66f5cc7e5dd5a5981aadf.JPG

Jellied eels. Image by JanesDaddy; licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

By the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, pollution had emptied the Thames of eels and they had to be imported, mainly from Holland. This, of course, raised the price out of reach of the poorer classes.

In the 1960s, the river was cleaned up and, although eels did return, not in the quantities seen in the past. Meanwhile, overfishing elsewhere had severely endangered supplies. Although jellied eels are still available, they are no longer cheap and many conservationists etc. advise against eating them. They are normally served with either chili-infused vinegar or plain.

 

The oldest surviving pie, mash and eel shop in London today is Manze’s from 1902. Michele Manze (1875-1932) was a three-year-old when his family emigrated from Italy hoping to improve their lives. They first made a living selling ice cream then went on to making ice cream to be sold by others. In 1902, wishing to expand business and be independent, Michele, now in his 20s, shortly after marrying, opened a shop selling pies, like so many before him. That shop survived as do two others he opened (out of a total of five - the other two were bombed out in WWII). Michele’s brothers also opened similar shops and by 1930 there were 14 Manze shops in London. Most have now gone, but Michele’s original remains, now run by his great-grand-daughter.

 

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Manze's Pie and Mash, 2008. I
mage by Kake ; licenced under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

Today, the number of pie and eels shops is a fraction of what it was in the past. Nearly all are in east and south London. Their menus are usually small. Pie and mash, stewed or Jellied eels and that’s it!

 

So let’s look and pie and mash. This consists of an individual meat pie containing minced beef. The pie is made with two types of pastry. A cold-water suet pastry forms the shell containing the filling and the lid can be either a shortcrust pastry or rough puff pastry. It is served with mashed potatoes.

 

2446404662_3964dddbe6_k.thumb.jpg.f935ec41c16c93143a01961ba6c8e1ae.jpg

Manze's Pie and Mash with Liquor.
Image by Kake; licenced under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

The pies are served with a thin parsley sauce, known as liquor. This does not mean it contains alcohol; “liquor” here is being used in one of its older meanings.

 

Quote

The water in which meat has been boiled; broth, sauce

 

OED

 

The traditional recipe for the sauce used the water in which the eels were cooked, but this is rare now. The liquor is coloured bright green by the parsley, giving it what many describe as an odd appearance.

 

So the YouTubeing half-wits roll up to sample this delight. Judging by their faces, few enjoy it but they nearly all declare it to be wonderful!. It isn’t wonderful. It was never designed to be wonderful! It was poverty food, a cheap and simple way to fill yourself with something reasonably nutritious. But not bland. I have eaten it – once. It was OK, but I never went back.

 

Jellied eels don’t do it for me – I’m not a jelly fan. But the hot stewed type were pleasant. It is very noticeable that almost none of the YouTube brigade ever try the eels and I strongly suspect that has nothing to do with ecological concerns.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Another nice piece @liuzhou

 

How naughty of you to talk of British sausages without referring to a lovely moment from Yes Minister in which Jim Hacker relates European (EEC) objections to the British sausage and displays his distaste for things European.

 

I hope I've linked to the right bit on YouTube: here: EuroSausage.

 

Speaking of meat content, I had an Northern Irish Catholic friend who was appalled that English sausages were, to his mind, full of fat and bread and ipso facto yet another way that he and his people were being misused. He might have wished for a sausage of 100% lean fillet but I couldn't think of anything worse.

 

Re Lorne sausage: new to me but you've inspired me to have cevapcici tonight.

 

Keep up the good work.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, FlashJack said:

How naughty of you to talk of British sausages without referring to a lovely moment from Yes Minister in which Jim Hacker relates European (EEC) objections to the British sausage and displays his distaste for things European.

 

I'd forgotten that clip. Thanks.

Of course, what he was saying wasn't exactly true even then.

 

Under current regulations sausages labelled pork sausage (or any other named meat) must contain an absolute minimum of 42% of that meatmeat. Most contain much more.

 

Sausages labelled "sausages" without mentioning any specific meat can go as low as 32% - avoid them.

 

In both cases, it must be actual flesh and not that list which Hacker recites, including all the detritus of butchery.

 

I haven't eaten ćevapi since the mid-1980s. That was in Vienna, Austria.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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3 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

what he was saying wasn't exactly true even then

Not accurate, of course, but it *sounded* true enough. And I'm sure the supermarkets here have some sausages of reclaimed meat product. What was it Jamie called it? Pink Goo.

 

You can buy/make good or bad of anything.

 

I'll eat ćevapi to your health.

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53 minutes ago, FlashJack said:

Another nice piece @liuzhou

 

How naughty of you to talk of British sausages without referring to a lovely moment from Yes Minister in which Jim Hacker relates European (EEC) objections to the British sausage and displays his distaste for things European.

 

I hope I've linked to the right bit on YouTube: here: EuroSausage.

 

Speaking of meat content, I had an Northern Irish Catholic friend who was appalled that English sausages were, to his mind, full of fat and bread and ipso facto yet another way that he and his people were being misused. He might have wished for a sausage of 100% lean fillet but I couldn't think of anything worse.

 

Re Lorne sausage: new to me but you've inspired me to have cevapcici tonight.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm

 

 

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Posted (edited)

May I gently point out that Ireland is now and never has been Britain?

 

It also has a great food culture, though! And it isn't the stuff everyone elsewhere eats to celebrate a green saint, who wasn't even Irish!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Talking of mash leads me straight on to YouTube’s next top British food destination, to sample a “hugely popular dish” that the vast majority of British people have never eaten and which is becoming more and more rare. But first a bit of history.

 

Uhhhh...

 

What British person has never eaten a pie?

 

They're on the menu of every pub that serves food (almost always with mash), available widely in supermarkets, butchers and service stations, and are a staple at Scottish football grounds. They are a popular dish to make at home, and you can often get them at late night kebab shops and chippies.

 

And that's only hot pies - Melton Mowbray pork pies enjoy their own protected geographical indication, and are widely available across the country.

 

This is a horrible slur on the excellent meat pie.

Edited by jmacnaughtan
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jmacnaughtan said:

 

Uhhhh...

 

What British person has never eaten a pie?

 

They're on the menu of every pub that serves food (almost always with mash), available widely in supermarkets, butchers and service stations, and are a staple at Scottish football grounds. They are a popular dish to make at home, and you can often get them at late night kebab shops and chippies.

 

And that's only hot pies - Melton Mowbray pork pies enjoy their own protected geographical indication, and are widely available across the country.

 

This is a horrible slur on the excellent meat pie.

 

 

I think you need to re-read what I actually wrote. At no stage did I say that British people don't eat pies. I said the opposite.

 

I did say that few people have eaten the traditional dish of pie and mash with parsley liquor, almost exclusively found in London, although most people there haven't eaten it either. I lived in London for 20 years and never ate it once, not did I know anyone who ever mentioned eating it.

 

My late wife was a Londoner, born and bred, and never once ate it, although she certainly ate and made pies. I've made steak and kidney pies here in China when I got nostalgic.

I only finally ate pie, mash and liquor on a visit to England in 2001 when a friend here in China asked what it was like, so I obliged her by going to find out.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

 

I think you need to re-read what I actually wrote. At no stage did I say that British people don't eat pies. I said the opposite.

 

If that's what you meant, then sure. But it didn't come across like that for me - more like meat pies were an obscure eccentricity.

 

Whenever I've heard "pie and mash", I've never understood it to be with eel and parsley sauce. Just gravy. And I've never heard any non-British person talk about eel shop pies, either.

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Just now, jmacnaughtan said:

 

If that's what you meant, then sure. But it didn't come across like that for me - more like meat pies were an obscure eccentricity.

 

Whenever I've heard "pie and mash", I've never understood it to be with eel and parsley sauce. Just gravy. And I've never heard any non-British person talk about eel shop pies, either.

 

Well that rather proves my point, doesn't it?

 

These YouTube pests lining up to film something few people have heard of!

 

That said, I think most London natives would know what "pie and mash" referred to, even if they have never actually eaten it. Same with 'eel shops".  I knew what pie, mash and eel shops were and even walked past some of the few that remain decades before I ever entered one. And most native Londoners would immediately associate "pie and mash" with just such an establishment.

 

As to pie consumption in general, I deliberately went out of my way to say that pies were a staple of British cuisine, so I'm baffled as to how that could be miscontrued as me claiming the British don't eat pies or that pies are "an obscure eccentricity". I was brought up eating pies regularly!

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Posted (edited)

7. Time for Tea, Your Grace

 

Having breakfasted on a full-English breakfast, had a lunch of bangers and mash or pie and mash, you’d think our intrepid YouTubers might slow down. Not a bit of it! There is another cliché yet to be explored. We’re off for “afternoon tea”, no less, as all right-thinking British people do every day. Except they don’t.

 

Afternoon tea originated among the highest echelons of the aristocracy in the 1840s. Anna, Duchess of Bedford (1783- 1857) was a close friend of Queen Victoria. In those days, lunch was a fairly light affair at noon and dinner not usually served until as late as 8pm. Her Grace, unsurprisingly, got a bit peckish around 4 pm and one day ordered her servants to bring her a cup of tea, some bread and butter and some cake.

 

Anna-Duchess-of-Bedford.thumb.jpg.2a0743a14eabc65959dece36c9565189.jpg

Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford

 

Tea had been drunk in England since the 1660s after being popularised by Charles II and his wife, but it was Anna who turned “tea” into a mini-meal. She then took to inviting her lady friends to join her for “tea” and the whole concept became a social event. This was copied by all the idle rich, aristocratic women of the time, becoming an institution among that class.

 

Gradually, by the 1880s the practice of taking afternoon tea had slipped down the social scale to the non-aristocratic upper class women, who would dress up in their best glad-rags, complete with long dresses, hats and gloves to gossip among themselves while elegantly downing petite sandwiches and cakes, along with a cup of tea, taking turns to host the events in the drawing rooms of England around 4-5 pm.

 

And there it largely stuck. The middle classes rarely indulged in inviting friends to “take tea” and the working classes never did – they were too busy trying to survive by working for those above them!

 

The habit of the afternoon tea in one’s drawing room pretty much died out after WW1 as the aristocracy went into decline and servants became fewer and fewer.

 

The middle classes continued to maybe have a light bite and a cuppa sometime in the afternoon, but not in any formal way. Today, with more women working than in former times, the practice is all but dead. It lasted in the traditional form for less than 100 years.

 

However, it continues in some restaurants, especially those in hotels. And this is where the YouTube army go. Few go to the great hotels such as the Ritz or the Savoy, both in London, where the privilege of sitting in their grand tearooms while nibbling daintily at a few cakes and sipping on a tea will set you back a minimum of a cool ₤55* I'mu($78 USD) in the Ritz per person or ₤65 ($92)in the Savoy. Plus service charges. You aren’t really paying for the mini-meal, but paying rent!

 

The Ritz Afternoon Tea Menu is here (PDF)

The Savoy Afternoon Tea menu is here.

 

Tea_at_the_Ritz_(64799004).thumb.jpg.f1a7cf7a881eaf953aba912d24aa1840.jpg

Tea at the Ritz

 

The famous luxury London department store, Harrods also serves afternoon tea (menu here), price-wise dropping in mid way between those two hotels, at ₤59 ($83.50)*. These prices, of course, don’t include the glass (or bottle) of champagne usually offered alongside. YouTubers making their latest Oscar winners would not be welcome in any of the above venues. Also, all the above have strict dress codes.

 

One of the cheaper options I’ve found in London is in this hotel near the British Museum (and near my London home) where the tea comes in at a mere ₤10.95 ($15.50) per person. This is not necessarily a recommendation – I’ve never eaten afternoon tea in my life and, although I know the hotel, I’ve never stepped inside. This website covers around 700 of the UK’s afternoon tea venues, searchable by location.

 

Although I have never taken part in an afternoon tea, I have eaten pretty much everything on their menus – there are few surprises. Of course the menu contents vary by price, although most include the almost obligatory cucumber sandwiches. Today many also include Devon or Cornwall scones with clotted cream and jam. This, however, is not traditional and is a recent trend. These are more correctly a separate experience known as Devon or Cornwall cream teas which I have eaten (see below).

 

So. it seems that afternoon teas are mainly eaten by visitors who may have seen too much Downton Abbey and the like. I have never heard of any of my social circle in London partaking in such a thing. Today people may have a 15 minute tea break in the afternoon, at work, but this will usually be a biscuit (cookie) and a mug of tea made by dunking a tea bag in the mug! No silver service or champagne.

 

* due to rise to ₤60 in October 2021

 

Image Credits

Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford - Public Domain

Tea at the Ritz - Herry Lawford; licenced under CC BY 2.0

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Posted (edited)

7a - A Question of Priorities - Cream  Teas

 

There are two types of “cream tea”; one from Devon(shire) and the other from Cornwall, adjacent counties in south-west England. There are crucially important differences between the two.

 

1166px-Devonshire_tea.thumb.jpg.69c2722e9c89d1b89091cc48b4e50faf.jpg

Cream Tea - Scones, Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam

 

Devon or Devonshire Cream Teas consist of scones which are sliced horizontally in half, then spread with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a cup of tea.

 

Cornish Cream Teas consist of scones which are sliced horizontally in half, then spread with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a cup of tea.

 

Clear?

No?

 

Well, the difference lies in which do you spread first, the cream or jam?

 

Devon favours first topping your scones with cream (no butter is used) then adding the jam on top of the cream.

 

1440px-Cornish_cream_tea_2.thumb.jpg.7b844afefc0ddf57b185d0c63a3ff75d.jpg

Cream Tea in the Devon Way

 

Cornwall favours first topping your scones with jam (no butter is used) then adding the cream on top of the cream.

 

Get this wrong and you will live forever in ignominy.

 

 

In fact, people in both counties use either method. I prefer the Devon way except for when I prefer the Cornish way. The image above of the Devon way was actually taken in Cornwall!

 

Although these teas are now served as part of “afternoon teas” as described above, they are more traditionally served on their own – scones, cream and strawberry jam; no sandwiches or other items. This is how they are served in the relevant counties to this day.

 

So, I hear you ask, “what is clotted cream?” Fans of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings should know – it’s one of the Hobbit’s staple foods.

 

Cow’s milk is heated indirectly by steam, then left to cool causing the cream content to float to the top in clots (or clouts). This is skimmed off and left to drain. It then forms a crust on top. Cornwall clotted cream has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status within the EU.

 

Clotted_cream_(cropped).thumb.JPG.891a02745cf9de50005cee1089541ed8.JPG

Clotted Cream

 

Clotted cream is made in other counties of south-west England and elsewhere and cream teas are served all over the UK, but Devon and Cornwall serve the cream of cream teas.

 

It is unclear which county came up with clotted cream (or cream teas) first, but whichever, it was certainly a long time ago that clotted cream arrived. The English poet, Edmund Spenser, a contemporary of Shakespeare mention it in his poem, The Shepheardes Calender, published in 1579, but written earlier.

 

Quote

Ne would she scorn the simple shepherd swain,
For she would call him often heam,
And give him curds and clouted cream.

 

Edmund Spencer


This dish I really do recommend.

 

Image Credits

 

Cream Tea - Scones, Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam - by Liyster; Licenced under CC BY 3.0

Cream Tea in the Devon Way - by Tuxraider; Licenced under CC BY 3.0

Clotted Cream - by Biggishben - Licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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5 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Afternoon tea

Speaking strictly for my own family in the Midlands, Afternoon Tea has become a birthday treat at some relatively posh place. 
One of my nieces had a birthday very recently and because of Covid Afternoon Tea became a take away!  

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19 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Speaking strictly for my own family in the Midlands, Afternoon Tea has become a birthday treat at some relatively posh place. 
One of my nieces had a birthday very recently and because of Covid Afternoon Tea became a take away!  

 

Yes, I can see that happening. A special occasion treat; certainly not everyday fare.

 

And yes, almost everything I've written about is for now (or was until last week) only available as take away or delivery - including pie and mash.

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Posted (edited)

 

21 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

a birthday treat

 

When my kids were kids we had a kind of family tradition. Whoever was the birthday girl or boy could choose any type of food for dinner that evening, unless it was a weekend, in which case it could be lunch instead. I'm glad to say McDonald's or the like never turned up. There were some odd choices, but neither 'afternoon tea' or 'pie and mash' ever made an appearance.

Perhaps the strangest was when my daughter decided on a vegetarian picnic, to be eaten in Londons gothic, Highgate Cemetery, now home to Karl Marx, Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), Michael Faraday, George Michael, Catherine Dickens (Charles's wife) and Christina Rosetti among many others.

She wan't even vegetarian!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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23 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

She wan't even vegetarian!

One might question her taste in food but certainly not in dining companions though they might’ve been more fun above ground. 

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1 minute ago, Anna N said:

One might question her taste in food but certainly not in dining companions though they might’ve been more fun above ground. 

 

Her taste in food is actually very broad; her vegetarian streak lasted about an hour. I'm not sure she knew who her "companions" were. George Michael was still above ground, but no one had heard of him, then. He was still Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.

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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

 

When my kids were kids we had a kind of family tradition. Whoever was the birthday girl or boy could choose any type of food for dinner that evening, unless it was a weekend, in which case it could be lunch instead. I'm glad to say McDonald's or the like never turned up. There were some odd choices, but neither 'afternoon tea' or 'pie and mash' ever made an appearance.

Perhaps the strangest was when my daughter decided on a vegetarian picnic, to be eaten in Londons gothic, Highgate Cemetery, now home to Karl Marx, Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot), Michael Faraday, George Michael, Catherine Dickens (Charles's wife) and Christina Rosetti among many others.

She wan't even vegetarian!

 

I lived up the hill from there. I hope your picnic was after they spruced it up a bit or at least sealed up the broken tombs. When I was there, the decay was pretty over the top, except around Karl, that they kept nice for the Chinese and Russians to lay wreaths or whatever.

 

I did often have tea with my well to do friends when the son my age (14) was back from school. The food was light but nice enough and conversation was suitably genteel, like discussing whether fornication had to be between two unmarried people, or just two people not married to each other. And if it was the former, was inability to fornicate grounds for divorce? Supper, if served when I was there was very spartan. So more like two small meals.

 

I'm trying to remember what my working class schoolmates did. I know I had tea the drink, but can't remember their meal schedules. Yes, a meal at 4:00 doesn't work well if you are holding down a job.

 

btw, Many Australians still call the evening meal "tea"

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

Today people may have a 15 minute tea break in the afternoon, at work, but this will usually be a biscuit (cookie) and a mug of tea made by dunking a tea bag in the mug! No silver service or champagne.

 

 

Heh, that's what I learned on my visit. About 4pm, we'd take a break for a cup and whatever biscuit my teammates had stashed away. Found out that England has better instant coffee than the US, too (and at least at one company, the team all seemed to be coffee drinkers, not tea drinkers)! And that they have a built-in hot water spigot vs the one on the water cooler that is typical in US office environments. 

We also had a lovely post-lunch discussion one day while I tried to figure out exactly what I had been eating for dinner the prior day. I mean, I recognized the veggies but couldn't match them to the names on the menu, so out came the Wikipedia English to American conversion page. :)  We're familiar with it because we run into the same thing on the technical side (Whose definite of a spanner are we using?!?). Hoping things open up again soon so we can make a visit. Been 3 years since I've been there. 

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14 hours ago, liuzhou said:

So. it seems that afternoon teas are mainly eaten by visitors who may have seen too much Downton Abbey and the like.

 

Or people who visit Victoria, BC. Though they may also have seen too much DA and the like. 😀

 

 It's pretty hard to avoid afternoon teas in Victoria, it seems you're always tripping over people heading to tea in one place or another. I have no idea how many teas and teahouses there are, but it's quite a big part of the city's marketing.

 

I lived in Victoria for almost 20 years (and still visit there) and never went for tea, though I walked to and from work near the downtown area and tourists would often stop me and ask where to go. It does depend on budget. The Empress Hotel had the best-known and most highly regarded afternoon tea for a long time, but it's a tad pricey. $89 Cdn (about $75 US) or $122 (about $100 US) and up for the Champagne Tea. 

 

Places like Butchart Gardens are a deal at $42.50 but they've likely already charged you $36 to walk through the gardens. 

 

To be fair, most people who did go for afternoon tea at various places really did seem to enjoy them. The food was usually rated very highly and it was considered a special occasion for many folks. 

 

The one place I might go to for tea would be the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden, because it has such a colourful history with an exiled Georgian prince, Nicholas Abkhazi, and his wife, the worldly Marjorie Pemberton-Carter, both of whom were in internment camps in WW II. The gardens form a unique little spot and I'm glad it was saved by The Land Conservancy. Then again, instead of afternoon tea, I might opt for the Georgian food on the lunch menu! (I'd invite @JoNorvelleWalker!)  🙂

 

Well heck, I'd invite any of you, hahahaha.   😄

 

 

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15 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

Or people who visit Victoria, BC.

Years ago I recall a fairly active Afternoon Tea scene in the GTA. From what little I could find it hardly rates the name anymore. All the grand hotels have gone. 

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On 5/27/2021 at 6:50 AM, liuzhou said:

Mention has been made of Indian and Pakistani influences on British food. Incidentally very few of the “Indian” restaurants in Britain are either Indian or Pakistani. They are mostly Bengali. And the curries they serve are nothing like what is served in the Indian sub-continent. The worst Indian food I ever ate was in India!

British food's adoption of Indian spices and making them their own belies any notion that British food is bland and spice-less.

 

Are you going to talk more about the British Empire and its influence on food in Britain? 

 

Since I mentioned The Empress Hotel in Victoria, I was reminded of The Bengal Lounge which was located at the side of that hotel and was one of my favourite spots at one time. It was cheesy, a terrible play on Queen Victoria, Empress of India. It had a crappy curry buffet, a tiger skin on the wall and huge punkah fans on the ceiling. And yet, it had some appeal. It was over the top, but in a humorous way. Some may have seen it as politically incorrect, with its play on colonialism. But it was a great place to take friends when you wanted to spread out a bit and be able to talk. Big comfortable furniture before it became slightly shabby around the edges. Now closed. 

 

image.jpg

 

https://www.tourismvictoria.com/blog/whats-next-fairmont-empress

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26 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

 

Or people who visit Victoria, BC. Though they may also have seen too much DA and the like. 😀

 

 It's pretty hard to avoid afternoon teas in Victoria, it seems you're always tripping over people heading to tea in one place or another. I have no idea how many teas and teahouses there are, but it's quite a big part of the city's marketing.

 

I lived in Victoria for almost 20 years (and still visit there) and never went for tea, though I walked to and from work near the downtown area and tourists would often stop me and ask where to go. It does depend on budget. The Empress Hotel had the best-known and most highly regarded afternoon tea for a long time, but it's a tad pricey. $89 Cdn (about $75 US) or $122 (about $100 US) and up for the Champagne Tea. 

 

Places like Butchart Gardens are a deal at $42.50 but they've likely already charged you $36 to walk through the gardens. 

 

To be fair, most people who did go for afternoon tea at various places really did seem to enjoy them. The food was usually rated very highly and it was considered a special occasion for many folks. 

 

The one place I might go to for tea would be the Teahouse at Abkhazi Garden, because it has such a colourful history with an exiled Georgian prince, Nicholas Abkhazi, and his wife, the worldly Marjorie Pemberton-Carter, both of whom were in internment camps in WW II. The gardens form a unique little spot and I'm glad it was saved by The Land Conservancy. Then again, instead of afternoon tea, I might opt for the Georgian food on the lunch menu! (I'd invite @JoNorvelleWalker!)  🙂

 

Well heck, I'd invite any of you, hahahaha.   😄

 

 

 

I once took tea in Victoria, fifty years ago.

 

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7 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I once took tea in Victoria, fifty years ago.

 

 

Was it good? 😺

 

I mentioned Abkhazi because I think you cook Georgian food, don't you? 

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