Hi everyone! If you're here for the deliciously fun and easy Curried Root Veg Soup with Beet Crisps, then please scroll down to the end of the blog post. You'd find the mouth-watering vegan recipe there. If you're happy to read my musings on my eye-opening recent trip to the US, then please read on and get to the recipe later.
Earlier this year, my 4-year-old son and I (my husband joined us later) took an epic journey to the Americas. We’d talked about the trip for weeks and were both beyond excited as we boarded our plane on a Thursday evening and set off to the first of many destinations: Miami, Florida.
To be frank, I had been quite nervous about travelling and especially about visiting the States (You know, I always feel rather overwhelmed and saddened by the excessive availability of cheap, unhealthy convenience foods on offer when I enter the US and I was worried about how my son would manage this new and surely tempting experience. (He was fine by the way)).
I knew that cooking and eating healthily far away from the comforts of my own kitchen wouldn’t be straight forward, so I needed to do lots of pre-planning and thinking about how best to make it all work. Sure, I didn’t want to obsess about food either, but I certainly wanted to be cautious and avoid any processed, (factory farmed) animal-based foods, if at all possible.
The flight went well. I brought a lot of healthy food with me and bought some water at the airport, meaning we ate really well and stayed hydrated for the whole of the plane journey. What I hadn’t expected was what happened at passport control…
We were met by a grumpy, but chatty border control officer who questioned me about why - as an American Citizen - I had chosen to live permanently in London. He told me that the idea of living in the UK repulsed him (WT??!!). I asked him why and he explained that he thought British food was awful – pickled eels, toad-in-a-hole, mad cow disease. I was gobsmacked! After a 9.5 hour flight all I could come up with was a bitchy stammer which went something like this: ‘Gosh I think British food has moved on since then [insert – I pulled some faces and muttered some inaudible nonsense].’ And his comeback was – horse meat!
I was so furious but annoyingly couldn’t utter a single word beyond the ones noted above. I have jet lag as my excuse OK?! But of course the responses I should have given him came thick and fast hours even days later as the scene played itself out in my mind again and again:
''Have you ever even been to the UK? Have you ever tried picked eels or toad in a hole or any other traditional British dishes? Have you thought about where your meat comes from and how it is produced? You a…..e!''
Of course, I have no chance to go back and say these things. So the best comeback I have got is to post 2 cracking dishes on the blog for British Food Fortnight, dedicated to the place I currently call home. I hope my food speaks louder than any words I could have said, as I aim to show that British food can be sexy, tasty and good.