Category Archives: UK Life

Some Observations, Six Months In

* I don’t miss ice in my drinks. We really thought we would, as coming from Texas we put ice in our water all year long. Drinks from restaurants or drive throughs – half ice. (I hated that, I asked for no ice in the already cold liquid.) But at home we had an ice maker and used it constantly, and I wondered how we would handle living in a place without an ice maker and a tiny freezer. We moved in August – and even that month the water was cold from our taps! In winter the water is SO cold. No need for ice.

* I don’t miss drive through restaurants, which I’ve often heard mentioned by Americans (where basically every restaurant ever has a drive through, or a spot to park and do pick up.) Here there are places that offer “take away” but the only places with a drive through are American – McDonalds, Burger King (if they’re not in the city centre), KFC. People don’t eat in their cars here, definitely not while driving. 🙂 Which I think is great, and we didn’t often eat out in Texas anyway. (Being vegetarian in Texas meant not that many food options unless you’re cooking at home – which we did.) Though interesting, we do seem to eat out more here than in the states – there are so many incredible vegetarian foods available at places! For less money than eating drive through in the US we can sit down with curry and delicious sides for our whole family. (There are very nice, pricey restaurants here – we just don’t go there. And why, when there’s countless wonderful options to try for less? Next on my list is the Pakistani community centre, we’re already fans of the Indian community centre, both serving big vegetarian meals for under £4 ($5) Mon-Fri.

* Sometimes I miss corn tortilla, but I’ve been too lazy to try making my own. We’ve tried all their local options – nope, not the same. Maybe Chipotle down in London call tell us their supplier. They do have tortilla chips so I can make taco salad, just not enchiladas the same or soft tacos unless you use flour “wraps” as they call them.

* And I randomly missed sweet vidalia onion salad dressing this week. I need to explore their salad options more. They also don’t have ranch, but I can make my own. Continue reading

Tea Time from an Outsider’s Perspective

Whatever I write here about tea and tea time in England is going to be heavily disputed by any number of people if they read it, as tea opinions vary widely from one person to the next. It’s very, very amusing – you want to get people animated, ask them if there’s a correct way to make tea. Ha!

But here are some sweeping generalizations gleaned from the various times I did ask that question, and the conversations that followed with people from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, and Americans living here who have their own take on it…

* Real tea is black tea. (Not green, and not “herbal” teas.)

* Tea is served with milk, and you can offer honey or sugar (most people seem to take sugar, not honey.) It’s not served with lemon, unless it’s ice tea and in the american south and also a sweet tea. Which freaks out some brits, this super sweet american ice tea thing. 🙂

* Most everyplace does offer black tea and an herbal option. Many also offer green tea. I’ve not seen an iced tea anywhere, even in August. It’s always hot, year round. Continue reading

Random Food Post (This Got Long)

One of the questions we get most is about how our diet may have changed since we moved. Here’s some thoughts in no particular order:

* The ONE and only item we’ve not found locally is corn tortillas. The shops have multiple “corn” tortillas but they’re flour tortillas with cornmeal added. I’m honestly shocked that we’ve found every other possible food here, even ones we heard may be harder to track down. (Many people heard peanut butter is hard to find here – nope, they’ve got loads of it including bulk American types at Costco, and so many seed butters as well.)

* Produce here is so inexpensive, shops have weekly sales where at least 5 produce items are ___ price (usually £.29 to £.59) which is great to try new things, but apart from that even the stuff we eat all the time is always a good price. Berries are slightly more expensive in winter, but nothing like the huge mark ups we see in the US when stuff is out of season. I love, love, love the produce. Giant avocados, like Texas sized but less expensive! I’ve not found anything missing – oh, wait, I’ve not found fresh artichokes, but I’ve also not been looking hard.

* There are two grocers within .4 miles of our house, and 3 superstore type groceries within a mile or so. Costco is 12 miles away, it’s in the next city over. So the kids can walk to the shop to buy something, or we can drive if we’re doing a BIG stock up trip. Continue reading