Saturday, June 23, 2012

Naughts and Zeds: Is That Really English?

Naughts and Zeds is an ongoing series of posts on the differences between language, culture, and everyday items in America and in Britain. For a list of previous posts, go here.

There are plenty of products in America that have the "English" moniker stuck on them. Thomas's English Muffins are a popular breakfast treat with many knock-off brands sold as plain old "English muffins." English toffee is a popular dessert treat or topping. English Breakfast Tea is available just about everywhere in America, even in coffee shops. But are all these "English" things found in England? Do they call them "English?"

First, let's look at the mouth-watering muffins that I treasured in my youth and still treasure today. The other day I was in the grocery store and found these:

Yes, these are definitely what in America are called "English muffins" and here are just called "muffins."

We did try making our own muffins following a recipe from the Stainsby Mill. It was a bit of work and we didn't quite have the knack for cooking them properly. The heat level is pretty vague in the recipe ("Warm a griddle gently and grease lightly with lard or oil then place the muffins [i.e. uncooked dough] carefully on the griddle and cook for 8 to 10 minutes on a moderate heat until golden brown underneath"). They turned out not quite so well. We may stick with the store-bought brands.

As for English toffee, we have found plenty of toffee here in England. It is definitely more popular than in America. But nowhere is it called "English toffee." Sure, there's sticky toffee pudding (which is the greatest dessert ever) and I've had a drink called hot toffee that is basically hot chocolate but with toffee instead. These cookies are pretty awesome:

Yes, these are just like Doctor Who's favorites without the jammie

As for English Breakfast Tea, that is indeed found here and is also called by the same name. Presumably to distinguish it from Irish and Scottish breakfast tea (why is there no Welsh breakfast tea?). All the larger tea makers make a version of this tea.

Local popular drinks

It is just as delicious here as it is in the States. Though I haven't found Irish breakfast tea like I have back home. Maybe when we go to the Emerald Isle we won't find English breakfast tea!

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome that English Muffins are just called muffins in England