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It was only when editing Snowbound that I came to realise exactly how much food was in the damn thing. I can honestly say that the novel was not sponsored by Delicious Treats of England, but you can be forgiven for suspecting as much! I was all set to compile a list of Britishisms but I think most people are aware by now that we have mobile phones over here as opposed to cell phones and you know what they say about typing while you’re hungry...

So here’s a brief rundown of some nice local cuisine.**

Bacon butty – or “sandwich” as it may well be known down South. 

Recipe: Toast 2 X slices of Warburtons toastie white bread and smother them in butter. Add fried bacon rashers. Eat with ketchup, HP sauce, or as it comes. Always accompany with a piping hot cup of tea.

Egg Custard
Delicious combination of buttery pastry case and egg custard (eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.) Local bakery Greenhalgh’s make a particularly fine one and as you can see from this link, it’s absolutely full of nutrition... 

Egg and chips
Recipe: Fry an egg or two. Eat with chips (where chips are chips of fish & chips fame and not Dorito-type potato chips – because just to confuse the issue, we’d call those crisps!) 

Haribo sweets 
Addictive little buggers in foamy/jelly form that invariably taste weird and feel weird in your mouth but for some reason are impossible to stop eating once you’ve opened a packet. A favourite in the ambulance cab on nightshifts. A bag of Starmix (which are hands down the very best type) generally lasts an hour at the most. The sugar rush OTOH, may well see you into the following week.

Rice pudding
A notorious item on hospital menus (where it is traditionally a weird shade of grey and texturally akin to wallpaper paste), English rice pud can be absolutely lovely on a cold winter’s day. Simple to make (2oz of pudding rice with 1oz sugar and 1pt of milk, spot of butter on top and nutmeg/cinnamon if you want to be really fancy!) and fabulous hot or cold. Some people eat it with jam but that’s more of a semolina thing IMHO.

Cadbury chocolate
The doyen of British chocolate. More milk than actual chocolate and a milder taste than Hershey’s. You simply cannot go wrong with a nice bar of Dairy Milk.

Chocolate pudding and custard
School dinners over here are usually recalled with a mixture of horror/affection by my generation (born 1975!) but one thing they did get absolutely right was puddings. Chocolate sponge pud and custard (often pink custard) is still remembered fondly by myself and my partner although at her school the custard tended to be chocolate flavoured.

Full English breakfast, AKA “a fry up” 
 The Sunday tradition growing up in my house was a fry up for breakfast.                                                                                           Combinations can vary but choose from: bacon, eggs, sausage, baked beans, black pudding, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, fried bread, toast and of course a cup of tea, which brings us on to...

A cup of tea (AKA “a brew”)
 None of your herbal, minty, fruity teas here please. I’m talking traditional builder’s tea, the type you add milk and sugar to, drink from a mug, and have an obligation to say “ahhh” with an expression of pleasure on your face every time you take a sip. For proof of tea’s amazing restorative, zombie-fighting powers, see the movie Shaun of the Dead.

** Given what I put my characters through in Snowbound, the food therein is mostly comfort food and possibly best eaten in moderation. Always remember your five a day ;-)
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August 2012


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