Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Chris Gardner
Spring Commencement to Feature Inspiring Speaker
Sarah Davis, News Editor • April 23, 2024
View All
Griffin Miller tallied four strikeouts in four innings.
Ragin' Cajuns Ravage the Herd
Ben Cower, Student Repoter • April 24, 2024
View All
Walk For Hope Flyer

Courtesy of Phi Alpha
Walk for Hope to Shine Light on Suicide Prevention
Baylee Parsons, Copy Editor • April 19, 2024
View All
The Parthenon on Twitter

Bex Abroad: Food, Glorious Food!

Bex+Abroad%3A+Food%2C+Glorious+Food%21

One thing about me is that I love to eat. I was worried coming to England that I would be forced to eat beans on toast every meal of every day. So, if you want to come to England, here is what to expect to eat.

I expected the food to be very bad here, but I was only partially right. Everything here tastes just slightly different. The peanut butter isn’t as sweet, the chips are a little saltier and American fast food chains are just different enough to not taste right. The adjustment to British food has absolutely been one of my hardest challenges. 

One of my go-to meals is teriyaki chicken and rice, but they don’t sell teriyaki sauce in grocery stores. They also simply don’t have bagel spots, so I bought some from the grocery store, which is fine, but they call cream cheese “soft cheese,” so it took me two weeks to be able to have a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. They don’t believe in putting sugar in coffee, so I haven’t had a large iced coffee with mocha and oat milk since I left Huntington. 

All of these things are relatively small differences–American “sour cream” versus British “soured cream – ” but all of these small things are disorienting in a way that I felt like a basic comfort was gone. I didn’t realize how much I rely on being able to have a good cup of coffee to set my day on a positive path or how snacking on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while studying made me feel comfortable and at home. 

Story continues below advertisement

So, some of my basic comforts are gone, which is rough, but there are some things about food that British people have gotten extremely right. 

Let’s talk about crepes! I have had crepes before, but the Brits go wild for a crepe in a way that Americans don’t. Cambridge isn’t a big city, but there are at least five crepe stores in the main part of town. It’s almost like ice cream stores in America; at Pullman Square you can get ice cream at Cold Stone, but you can also get it at most of the restaurants at Pullman. In England, crepes are as common as ice cream.

I really do enjoy a lot of British food, although it is rather bland. Fish and chips, meat pies and bangers and mash (sausage and mashed potatoes) are all really good and hearty meals. I personally usually buy extra sauces and spices to add to the dishes. I don’t like spicy food, but even I think this food lacks flavor and spice. 

In our orientation, one of the Anglia Ruskin international liaisons pointed out on the map where we could go to find spices and sauces and literally said, “Our food is bland, but you will eventually get used to it.” 

I really haven’t, though. It is so weird to me to have to salt and pepper everything since they don’t add it prior to serving it. 

Breakfast here is so strange. I consider myself a connoisseur of breakfast, so I was excited to see what England had to offer. There is something called the “full English breakfast,” which consists of bacon, sausage, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, bread and baked beans. A full breakfast is served with tea, coffee and various juices as well. 

I will admit to you I have not tried the baked beans on toast, but I have gotten very into the tomatoes and mushrooms for breakfast, which I would have never expected to enjoy. I promise you all I will try the baked beans next time I have a full English and report back.

They also have something called a Sunday roast, which I am a fan of. I would compare a Sunday roast to a mini-Thanksgiving. Every Sunday, restaurants serve up roasted meat, potatoes, stuffing, gravy and various pies that are sometimes sweet and sometimes savory. It really does feel like a small American Thanksgiving feast, so it is kind of fun that they do this every Sunday. It makes the beginning of the week feel like a special occasion, gathering with friends and family to bond over a mutual love of potatoes and gravy. It basically doesn’t get better than that. 

Sauces here are definitely weird. British people mix mayonnaise and ketchup and use it as a dip for nearly everything–fish, chips, chicken, sausage, anything. There are also several minty dips, sometimes in the form of mushed up peas literally called “mushy peas” or something literally called mint sauce, which is spearmint and vinegar. I really hate it. Mint doesn’t go with dinner; at least in my opinion, mint comes after dinner and is usually mixed with chocolate. 

I had suspicions that the “standard sauces” were different here. By standard sauces, I mean ketchup, ranch, barbeque sauce and honey mustard, which are sauces you can get at basically any restaurant. In England, McDonald’s offers barbeque, sweet and sour, sweet curry, sweet chili, sour cream and chive and smoky barbeque dips. Curries and chili dips are so popular here, they sell them in squeeze bottles like ketchup. 

There is almost no ranch dressing in the entire country, not even in pre-made sandwiches. Instead of having something like a chicken, bacon and ranch sandwich (my favorite at Subway), they sell chicken, bacon and caesar dressing sandwiches. Some pizza places offer ranch dipping sauce on the side, but it doesn’t taste the same at all. It has way more mayonnaise in it and basically no spice, which is on brand. 

I have had so many amazing meals here. In Reading, there is a place called Sweeney Todd’s that sells the most delicious meat pies. In London, there is a ramen place called Yokocho where I get pork buns that are to die for. In Cambridge, my favorite thing to do is go to a pub called The Anchor, where I get the most beautiful cheese board I have ever seen, sip on a Pimm’s and ginger beer and watch the punting boats flit and float along the river while I read. It is not only delicious, but it makes me feel deeply British. 

Just like every other country, there is food that is incredible, and there is food that is disgusting. It has been so fun finding new foods that I will inevitably miss when I come home. If you find yourself in England, grab a fish and chips and think of me and save room for a crepe!

See you in 47 days, Marshall!

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Parthenon
$85
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will help continue the work of independent student journalism at Marshall University. If you benefit from The Parthenon's free content, please consider making a donation.

More to Discover
Donate to The Parthenon
$85
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Parthenon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *