We Americans love our potatoes and my experience in England shows so do they. Likely more so.
A few years ago our church pastor was a British expatriate who said this about daily English cookery, “When preparing dinner, first you start preparing the potatoes and then decide what’s for dinner.”
This gets laughs in the States. I wasn’t brave enough to say that in England.
There are one or two important language differences to note regarding potatoes. Most Americans know that English chips are about the same as American fries, but did you know that a chippy is Fish and Chip shop? In the states we have baked potatoes while our English friends are enjoying a nice jacket potato.
That is a potato with its jacket still on. I find the term a bit amusing as I was taught that potatoes have skins and a jacket was something you wear when it’s cold outside. Turns out on cold days your average English person will put on a coat while a jacket is something you wear to dinner. I didn’t mention this while I was over there, but at one restaurant I saw this menu item:
At the time I thought I should explain to my brother-in-law why an American would find that an amusing menu item, but he seemed to be having trouble with his new hearing aid so I settled for drinking me tea and enjoying me sausage roll.
Thinking back, I am not sure I recall a dinner without some form of potato. First night it was cottage pie with its mashed potato topping. I’ve been served shepherd’s pie here in the States and learned that cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are not the same. Both have a meat filling topped with mashed potatoes. The key difference I was told is that shepherd’s pie uses lamb for the meat while cottage pie has beef. Never did learn what it would be called if it was made with chicken.
Then there was the fish pie with mashed potato topping and just in case the potato wasn’t rich enough they added some cream while mashing it. I did think the name was a little boring, “fish pie.” You think they could has spiced up the name a bit – say something like, “Sailor Pie,” or “Quay Pie.”
Sunday dinner consisted of potatoes, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, leeks, and parsnips all drowned in gravy. I don’t want you to think that it was just a few potatoes. Plate came with four large nicely roasted potato sections (no skins, er, jackets) which was about twice as much as I would normally eat. Then, just in case that wasn’t enough, they put a bowl of roasted potatoes on the table – right next to the extra gravy.
I am not complaining, but I do think I felt my arteries hardening and now don’t need to eat until November.
Till next week,