Friday, May 22, 2009

London's Got Flavor

Every country has something unique about it, something that makes it different from others. Many nations show their customs and history through the food they eat.

We left the London Center early and caught a tube ride to the Temple station stop. There, Ryan began one of his wonderfully unique and information-filled tours.

The morning tour ended when we arrived at the house of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the author of the first dictionary. From there we walked a short distance, through small alleys just wide enough for a horse and chariot, to a local pub where Johnson, and other famous writers such as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens visited frequently: the famous Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. 

After eating chicken dishes the first three days in London, I decided to try the local favorite, Fish and Chips! I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially from the side of mushy peas, but decided to be brave and go for it nevertheless.

All the food on my plate was cooked very similarly. The fish, chips, and peas all were cooked with a somewhat hard outer shell. But once the outer crust was cracked either with my fork or teeth, the warm, moist inside awaited.

The plate of food was constructed very carefully, a large helping of peas on one side, a foot of freshly fried fish cooked perfectly, and then a huge portion of fries on the other side. A sprinkle of lemon juice complimented the white Codfish perfectly.

For the first time since I arrived in London, I finally felt like one of the locals. Here I was in the same pub, perhaps even the same SEAT that Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Samuel Johnson had their meals and brainstormed for future works. Certainly, they had to have enjoyed an order of Fish and Chips during their years at the Cheshire Cheese. And now, I was there doing the same thing for this piece.

Ryan had told me during my first meal a few days ago that the custom in England was to each the chips (french fries) with mayonnaise. So I did as the locals do and spread the condiment on what I thought was my once delicious fried potato. Nervously I drew it closer to my mouth, until in one sudden movement I put away my fear and ate the fry.

Even now writing this, a smile still creeps on to my face. Wouldn’t you believe it; it was actually pretty damn delicious!

In England, there is barely any salt put on the French fries after they are cooked, in deep contrast to the way they are made in America. The mayonnaise gave the fries a much sweeter, richer taste.

At that moment, looking at my plate, I could see what London was all about. The taste of their food reflects the culture in many ways. Just like Fish and Chips, the city of London is rich, with history. There is no better example of this than the very place I was sitting when I was creating this masterpiece. What was most astonishing is the fact that this incredibly historical place was a pub! Not a museum or library like back in the States, a pub! By the end of the meal, the plate a shine from the candle a few inches away on the table, I had ate the whole thing.

Take my advice, next time your craving some Fish and Chips, forget Long John Silvers. Blow off a week or two and come to London, you won’t regret it.


  1. 8=========)---------- your face

  2. Don't save the "meaning" of the story for the end. Using your meal as a way to discuss history is a great thought.

    My advice would be to weave the two together a bit more throughout the rest of the story. You don't want it to read like a description of your food, and then give people the moral at the end.

    You did it briefly in the middle with the Dickens comment -- more of that will make this story even better.

    You're on the right track, and I'm glad you liked the mayo on the fries. That's something I could never do.