Of course, that's never going to stop a chap like me from talking, nay writing, about delicious food combos. And so, perhaps to the disgust of my American counterparts, I bring you 5 British food combinations that Americans find odd.
1. Bangers and mash
Bangers and mash is something of a conundrum; it's not so much that Americans find it odd as it is they are not always so sure what, in fact, it means. Consisting of mashed potato and sausages, with added onions and gravy, bangers and mash is a dish often reserved for pub menus, both in Britain and in the United States. As for the word banger, it is derived from World War II slang; in the days after rationing, sausages were made with water and were, as such, more susceptible to the odd (sometimes very odd) explosion.
2. Beans on toast
What a combination! You can have it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, brinner, later-night supper and anything in between. And besides being incredibly tasty and moderately healthy, it's also insanely quick to make: pop the beans in the microwave for a minute-forty while the toaster heats up, and you've got a warm meal in less than two minutes. How Americans, many of whom are themselves quite partial to beans, toast and instant gratification, can hate this cuisine is simply beyond me.
3. Boiled egg and bread soldiers
This one really baffles Americans. "Wait," they'll say. "You boil an egg, cut off the top and then dip planks of bread into the yolk? And you consider that normal behavio(u)r?" If this were not enough, it virtually blows their minds that egg cups - the kind you see pictured (left) - are manufactured for this very practice. "So you even make ornaments for this appalling occasion? No wonder we left you for the New World."
4. Bubble and Squeak
With this combination, it is more the name than anything else that overwhelms the uninitiated American. Comprising shallow-fried left-overs from a roast dinner, bubble and squeak (the green thing in the picture (left) probably sounds to some like an unpleasant bout of flatulence. Once again, though, it was popular during World War II, when it was all but necessary to ration food with the utmost economy. As for the name, bubble and squeak was first referenced in - of all places - Thomas Bridges' A burlesque translation of Homer, 1770: "We therefore cooked him up a dish of lean bull-beef, with cabbage fry'd... Bubble, they call this dish, and squeak."
5. Chips and curry
In what is something of a continuation of the British obsession with curry - no doubt dating back to the days of the Empire - this combination really hits the spot after a night out on the town. Served in most chip shops - the like of which are incredibly hard to find in the US (outside of major cities) - chips and curry is exactly as it sounds: chips (or fries in the US) covered in a cup or two of yellow curry sauce. Mmm.
What other British food combinations are there? Are there any American combos you find odd? Let us know in the comments below.
Laurence is a British expat living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a contributor for BBC America and writes a weekly column for Anglotopia. Having graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Language and Creative Writing, Laurence runs this blog, Lost In The Pond, charting the endless cultural and linguistic differences between Britain and The United States.
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