Wednesday, January 29, 2014

England: They Have Stuff Too

Here's another example of "little differences": Last night, StereoNinja and I went to dinner at a steak restaurant called Cattle Grid. It was the most American thing I've encountered since I've been here. Now, I have no evidence that its intention is to come off as American, but it absolutely fucking does. It has a very American decor to it, authentically, not "this is what we imagine America looks like" decor, a menu that list its beef and pork dished under the headings "COW' and "PIG", enormous American sized portions of things including a massive rack of barbecue ribs the likes of which I have never seen here, onion strings which I have also never seen here before and which caused me to actually audibly gasp when they were offered to me and a highly American looking desert menu meaning we didn't order any because StereoNinja couldn't get a cheese plate (also that whole thing about the giant portions). There were only two things that gave it away. One was a completely disinterested server - not a bad server, just a man who was clearly not working for tips. The other is a thing that keeps happening to me every time we eat somewhere which is StereoNinja has to remind me to properly arrange my cutlery. Because unlike America, where they are watching you and waiting for you to slow down, or coming by to refill your drink since it's free refills ALL THE TIME in Fatassland, and they ask you while they're there "Can I take your plate?", the only way to have your plate cleared here is to align your fork and knife right next to each other across your plate. If you leave your utensils either on the table or strewn about your plate all willy-nilly in the wrong configuration, you will be sitting there waiting for the check (cheque) for hours. It's like the Bat signal for "I have finished my meal." And I ALWAYS forget.

Right so, anyway, not my point. What I actually meant to do right now was write about some of the things I love about being here, because I feel like all I've done is complain so far, and it's really not that I don't like it here, it's just that it's not home yet. So here's a few things that I think are fantastic that you have thus far dropped the ball on, America:

Roast dinner. Yeah, ok, we have roast dinners in the U.S., but there are certain designated days for them which are Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest of the year you just are like "Oh won't it be great when it's Thanksgiving and we'll have roast turkey again?" Yeah, um, yer doin it wrong. Because it is Roast Day here EVERY SUNDAY. You can make a roast at home or you can go to a carvery or you can go round someone else's house - whatever. Oh and another thing: Yorkshire puddings. Get in on that, Murica, you are missing out.

QI. There is not a show being produced right now on American television that I am aware of that is nearly as awesome as QI. A show that is funny AND has Stephen Fry AND you get to learn cool stuff? It's like an arrow of joy aimed straight at my little nerd girl heart. I am particularly overjoyed when there's an episode that has either Bill Bailey or Jeremy Clarkson who say they funniest things and know some of the weirdest shit. And I lose my fucking mind every time I actually know the answer and shout things at the television like "NO! It's because it has a three foot long tongue!" or "Oh my god, I know this one! IT'S A THING FOR EXTRACTING BOOGERS FROM A CORPSE!"

Road signs. I find the road signs here to be generally more helpful than the ones in America. Like, coming up to a roundabout or a slip road (this is an on or off ramp), there will be a sign with a picture of the exact roundabout or shape of slip road you are about to encounter. But that's not even what I like about them. The best thing about the signs is how ambiguous they are if you don't already know what they mean. Before I started driving, I started making up my own meanings for some of the ones I thought were funny.
Windsocks are dangerous

WARNING: Killer duck

Sad wiener

No perspective

I didn't make up a meaning for this, I just want to vandalize it and make it into a centaur.

Beware of men with giant umbrellas
Caution: Bra in the road


See, so some stuff is great, but it's not gonna get me a slice of Pequod's or an episode of Tosh.0.


Andy Farrell said...


I am not alone in the Umbrella Theory!

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

But how much do you really need Tosh.0? ;-)

amberance said...

I perversely love Tosh.0. He's just...such an asshole about it. I love it.

amberance said...

For real, how is that NOT an umbrella?

Webbo said...

The best places serve a roast dinner on a daily basis.

I am so glad that the Yorkshire pudding is appreciated. It deserves it. Also, toad in the hole. Do you know what I'd do for a good toad in the hole right now? I'd go to war for toad in the hole. I'd go to war without a gun for toad in the hole.

Hannah said...

Mmmmmm, toad in the hole.
And Marmite, we also have Marmite. It most probably disgusts you (I think you had to grow up with it to like it) but it's something I miss so much when I'm away that I generally take a jar with me.

S said...

I enjoy your perspective on our grey and rainy land!