TV Chef Gordon Ramsay has been furiously bellowing in the faces of incompetent and near bankrupt management of roach infested pizza parlours the length and breadth of the American continent for nearly a decade now and yet the belief still persists that we Brits donít know about food. Lies. The truth is we feast like kings at a banquet. So grab a napkin, pour yourself a large measure of Blue Nun or Mateus Rose and make yourself at home as I guide you through the spectacular cuisine of this sceptered isle. Letís tuck in shall we.
Scampi ĎN Lemon Nik Naks
Letís cut right to the chase. Often youíll hear someone say something disagreeable they have just ingested tastes like shit although in reality the food item in question doesnít actually taste of shit. This is not the case here. When I say to you dear reader, that Scampi Ní Lemon Nik Naks are a corn based snack that both smells and tastes like the contents of a used sanitary towel bin in an airport khazi or a homeless bag ladies knickers, I really do mean that Scampi NíLemon Nik Naks are a corn based snack that whiff like a severe case of bacterial vaginosis. They reek and so will your fingers if you touch them.
Amazing Fact: Despite the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal that rocked this country to its very core, itís still legal to sell a packet of Scampi Ní Lemon Nik Naks to minors. Other less controversial flavours are also available.
On its own this concoction of honey, salt, butter, sugar, jumbo oats and some other unidentifiable cereals is bit on the dry side. However dunk one of these in your mug of tea and all of a sudden the humble McVities Hobnob becomes a contender for the greatest biscuit of all time. Before I developed an intolerance to lactose that would lead me to spraying hot, yellow bile out of my arsehole 15 times a day, I would dunk mine in milk, suck the milk out the Hobnob then redunk. Happy days. A Hobnob can take up to three and on one memorable occasion, four dunkings before crumbling into the beverage.
Amazing Fact: Thereís a chocolate covered version out there if you are feeling particularly rakish although itís not for me. Iím a traditionalist in these matters.
Rich Tea Digestive
From the bestest biscuit to the very worst. These forlorn and cheerless slabs of sawdust are still selling like hot cakes even though hot cakes are infinitely nicer and readily available. Originally invented as an aid to the burdens of constipation, the only other tangible pleasure to be derived from Rich Tea Digestives is the look of sheer dismay on a young childs face when you put a couple of these in their Trick or Treat bag on Halloween.
Amazing Fact: The prospect of Rich Tea Digestives are one of the reasons that Hitlers attempt to invade these islands was only a half hearted affair while the Wehrmacht couldnít get to the patisseries of the 3rd arrondissiment fast enough.
Marmite is a thick, non-Newtonian fluid of dubious origin that changes colour if you bang it repeatedly with a hammer. Other strange properties of this material are the fact that although the jar of Marmite in your cupboard is almost empty it will never truly run out and also that by the letter of the law if not the spirit, Marmite is an edible substance. Marmite is very popular with dieters and anorexics as it is low in calories, high in Vitamin B, fat free and makes anything smeared with it suddenly lose its appeal. (Except cheese on toast).
Amazing Fact: The entire US economy is actually powered by Marmite although instead of eating it, Americans prefer to extract it from deep under the earth, refine it, then use it to fuel cars and planes.
Other countries that arenít prefixed by the word Great, prefer to use packing peanuts to protect glassware and other fragile objects in transit. We however have found that if you douse them in cheese flavourings they become a scrummy corn based snack that isnít too fattening as itís mostly air youíre eating. I love Wotsits but they do get sickly once you hit that second bag.
Amazing fact: Even though they taste deelish, Wotsits do make your hands smell like vomit. Keep some wet wipes handy if youíre going to eat a bag of these in public.
Monster Munch is yesÖ a corn based, monster themed snack thatís not for the faint of heart. The Monster Munchers take no prisoners. Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch would quite rightly shit in their pants if the Monster Munch gang came round their manor. These crisps are powerful. The Pickled Onion flavour makes your mouth shrivel and your eyes swivel to the back of your head.
Amazing Fact: The pink monster with the wide mouth was originally portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen.
From the scorched earth of Kabul to the neo-futurism of Tokyo via the flagstones of Tuscany and the souks of Marrakech, there is one sugar water drink to rule them all. American hegemony is complete and universal but for one sole exception. Scotland. In the streets of Glasgow, it is Irn Bru that is king. Irn Bru is a bright orange solution of what I can only assume to be sugar and battery acid. It has an almost indescribable flavour; sort of bubblegummy but not quite. You can feel the enamel of your teeth dissolving as you drink it. Combine the gross tonnage of Irn Bru consumed north of the border on a daily basis with the Scottish love of deep fried confectionary and you can start to see how despite a first world healthcare system that is free at the point of use, the average life expectancy of our Caledonian brethren is not much greater than in Burkina Faso or Chad.
Amazing fact: The current commercial is about a busty MILF who lets her teenage son and his friends suckle on her teats. It got complaints.
Cadburyís Creme Egg
These are chocolate eggs filled to the brim with a sugary goo. You can only get them for a few months during the laying season each spring. What the chocolate hens at the Creme Egg battery farm do for the rest of the year is a mystery. Lots of ways to eat these. Iíve been known to nibble the top off and scoop out the eggy fondant with my tongue. Iíd advise against trying to eat one in one gulp. You might die.
Amazing fact: The egg yolk is solid when they cover it with chocolate. An enzyme makes it runny.
More fishy tomfoolery that leaves you with stinky fingers albeit Skips are prawn cocktail flavoured which is way less offensive. Made of tapioca apparently. Like Wotsits theyíre insubstantial and full of air. No amazing facts about Skips come to mind other than there was once a Skips related computer game on the Commodore 64.
These are injection moulded toffee rope ladders , dipped in chocolate. They used to be amazing. I swear they were at least a foot long back in the 80ís. Theyíve diminished in size now, as has my interest in them.
Amazing fact: The Curly Wurly was invented as a solution to a toffee surplus at the Cadburyís factory.
This may be heresy but Iíve never got on with these wildy popular teatime snacks at all. I like chocolate. I like oranges. I donít like them together. What these actually are is a matter of some debate. Theyíre called cakes but they look like biscuits. The base is spongy and there is a layer of orange flavoured plastic inside them. If they stopped making them tomorrow there would be widespread panic in the streets, but I would not care one jot.
Amazing Fact: McVities insist on calling them cakes so as not to pay any biscuit taxes although they are clearly not cakes at all.
Pork Pie with Colmanís English Mustard.
Encase a dollop of reconstituted meat that may or may not have once have belonged to a pig in a clear jelly and a rock hard pastry and what do you get? A national treasure; thatís what. The Melton Mowbray pork pie is to the UK as Parma ham is to the Italians and Champagne is to the French. In any other country it would be a butchers shops dirty secret. Here we take pride in it. Itís the pie that built a nation. The only thing better than a pork pie is a pork pie with mustard on it. English mustard. Not your sissy, namby pamby, German, French or American mustards. Wasabi? Itís for girly men No. We need a proper mustard that waters your eyes, makes your ears pop and clears your sinuses all at once. Accept no substitutes.
Amazing fact: Although Pork Pies are not popular in the United States, Pork Pie Hats are.
Phew. Well it seems like Iíve been writing for ages and I havenít even got to Hula Hoops, Wagon Wheels, Scotch Eggs, Pot Noodles or Ginsters Pasties yet. Maybe next time.
Anyhow. Iím sure having read this you now cannot wait to sample the culinary delights of the British Isles.