Wednesday December 21st, 2011
Americans moving to London often find themselves overwhelmed especially during the holidays. In an effort to become accustomed to one’s new city and traditions combining New Year’s Resolutions and familiarizing oneself with the culture is a great idea. One of the more difficult obstacles to overcome after an international relocation is the food – or the differences to be more precise. The best way to overcome the new flavors and ingredients British food offers is to jump in and explore the waters. A good New Year’s Resolution for those new here from a corporate relocation is to try a new quintessential British recipe each week.
That is fifty-two dishes to get through, one might say. Are there really that many British foods different from what most Americans moving to London are used to? Why, yes, there are. It is all too easy for new Londoners to revert back to old favorites from the States after corporate relocation. London relocation agents will recommend that new families experiment with the cuisine. With food easily shipped around the globe it would be a huge temptation for Americans to have their favorite foods shipped directly to their door rather than eat like the locals.
Thanks to the internet there are many wonderful sites featuring traditional British foods and recipes. Many cater to non-British crowds and explain things that most Brits take for granted. One of the hardest cooking challenges facing Americans is measurements. In London the metric system is used. With a little practice one will quickly catch on, however. By tackling new recipes new Londeners will be forced to explore London groceries and farmer’s markets furthering the exploration of their newly-adopted city.
Cooking one new dish a week may seem like a paltry goal, but as the seasons change and one’s confidence grows in the ways of British cooking most will be pleasantly surprised to see how much food has eased the transition between American and the UK. Moving to London is a big change for most families and even the best support from relocation services can’t make one feel comfortable in their new city. By forcing oneself to go out and explore the town they will quickly come to feel as if they belong after international relocation.
Monday August 1st, 2011
Your relocation to London will be easier if you have a good grasp of a victual vocabulary! Learning the different names for foodstuff can be a big help at the grocery store, where you’ll find that some things don’t even look the same. Having a firm grasp on the different phrases for food that many Londoners use will also help you at the office after you relocation to London. You won’t be wondering what a “chip butty” is for starters.
Relocation UK – Getting the hang of English food
Let’s start with chips. Many American moving to London spend quite a while figuring out that chips are actually French fries. English fries are much larger than the skinny chips of potato that you may be used to. They are also much fattier and usually come doused liberally in salt and vinegar from you local ‘chippy’. A chip butty is a sandwich made from white bread, lots of butter, hot oily chips and tomato sauce! It’s a treat to be sure, but not for the faint of heart or the strictly health conscious. It’s a guilty pleasure!
Tomato sauce is easy. It’s ketchup. You’ll never hear it called ketchup after your relocation to London and it’ll only ever be sold in the grocery store as Tomato Sauce.
Tea is not just a drink! Well it is of course, but the word tea can be used to describe the hot beverage, or the early evening meal that you may think of as dinner. Some people do call it supper or dinner, but a large majority of people living in London will refer to their evening meal as ‘tea’. This is not to be confused with ‘high-tea’ which is taken during the afternoon at posh establishments like The Ritz Hotel
Food Fables – Translating the Basics after your Relocation to London
Aubergine = Eggplant
Banger = Sausage
Beetroot = Beets
Biscuit = Cookie
Coriander/ Dhanya = Cilantro
Courgette = Zucchini
Jam = Jelly
Gherkin = Pickle
Pickle = does not have a relative term, but buy a bottle of Branston’s Pickle soon after your move, go and try it out.
There are many terms that you’ll need to know to help make baking and cooking easier for you after your relocation, these are just a few of the most commonly confused terms.
Tuesday May 10th, 2011
With the worldwide move to healthier eating and organic food, if you’re an American moving to London, you may be asking if there is a good range of whole food stores and shops that only sell organic food.
While there are several fully vegetarian restaurants in central London, you’re more likely to find organic food restaurants being more popular. Many of the supermarkets and grocery stores in London offer a range of organic and health foods but if you’re looking for places that stock a full range of only organic food then you’ll have to find smaller shops that cater to this market.
Most of the organic food specialists are found in central and west London so you might have to search around that sells goodies from home and other foods that are grown organically. Many of the bigger stores operate a web site with shopping and delivery across London so you don’t even have to venture out of your new London rental to get the healthiest, freshest foods and groceries available.
If you’re looking for a day out, then you can head to some of the markets that offer fresh organically grown food from farms across England. The Islington farmers Market is found in north London and offers a full selection of farm fresh organic veggies and whole foods and is open on Sundays from 10am until 2pm. If you’re looking for a daily market then Spitalfields organic food Market is open every day with many shops offering whole food and health food goodies. The market itself is only open on Sundays.
If you’re looking for a range of markets while you’re living in London then check out the official London Farmers Market website for special offers and events.
Tuesday April 19th, 2011
When you’ve touched down in Old Blighty and you’re settled into you’re new flat, you’ll want a list of shops that are convenient and centrally located that you can get to without busting your budget or your back to get there. It is a huge amount of fun to explore the quaint an unusual markets and stores while you’re living in London, but if you’re looking for a pint of milk and a newspaper or an aspirin for a headache, then you’ll need to go to your local shops.
When you’re looking for a drug store in a hurry, “Boots” is you first choice, they are found everywhere in London and they sell everything from toiletries to prescribed medication. They have wonderful chemists, or pharmacists who will help you with over the counter medication and they have a great range of make-up and other bathroom products on sale.
Sainsbury’s is where you want to head when you have just arrived to start living here. They have a full range of groceries and special offers and you can even ask them to deliver to your new rental. They are well priced and good value for money grocery stores and are found across London in every neighborhood.
Grocery stores are great but if you need an emergency tin of beans or loaf of bread then your newsagent is where you’re going to go. Located on most streets, this is also known as the corner shop. Newsagents sell everything under the sun, and you can buy your London Transport Pass, airtime for your mobile phone, sweets and cigarettes. They also oddly enough, sell newspapers and magazines!
You’ll always be able to find a store open, there are late night chemists in some areas and late night grocery stores at petrol (gas) stations open throughout the night, and you’ll never have to worry about running out of any item in your home when you’re living in London.
Tuesday January 18th, 2011
Moving to London is going to be one of the most interesting and informative periods of your life. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and experience living in one of the greatest cities in the world. Now is not the time to stay at home in your London apartment; you need to get out and experience everything that London has to offer. Part of living in London, and indeed the rest of England is going down to the pub for a couple of pints.
One of the biggest differences between the United States and England is the age at which it is legal to drink. In England, the legal age is 18, compared to the age of 21 in most other countries. England and London especially has a great pub culture and the local pub is the centre on the community in many parts of England. Pubs and bars in England have to close at 11pm, although some nightclubs are allowed to sell alcohol until the early hours of the morning.
It might seem as of life revolves around the opening and closing hours of the pub in your new neighbourhood. Traditionally a pub/bar is a place for the locals to meet, catch up on the neighbourhood news and relax after a day at work, or even stop off for a pint of beer and a snack in the middle of the day. Drinking during the working day is quite common, with people spending their lunch hour in the pub and their fellow workers having a drink before heading back to work for the rest of the day. This is considered a way of doing business in England, and not anything out of the ordinary.
The word beer covers the alcoholic beverages of ale and bitter. Lager is like beer, but not called beer. Confused? Beer in England is very different from beer in the rest of the world. You will probably be able to find your favourite beer from home at any of the speciality stores and upmarket pubs and bars, so you will not have to go without your ‘Bud’ if you do not want to. You should try some of the local, beers and lagers that are available though. It will make for some interesting drinking. Beers are served at a slightly higher temperature than in the States. It is traditional to serve beer at the temperature that it was fermented at, which is cooler than room temperature, but is not ice cold.
‘Going down the local’ is one of the biggest traditions in England and whether you are in a rustic country pub or at a trendy, cocktail bar, everyone has a ‘local’. Get out, find a pub that suits your lifestyle and your neighbourhood, and have some fun.
Tuesday January 18th, 2011
If you are going to be living in London, then you might want to explore some of the culture surrounding tea, the drinking of tea and the preparation of the beverage. If it seems a little odd to devote an entire article to the consumption of tea then you might be surprised to learn that on average British people consume nearly 3 kg’s of tea per annum. It is the national drink of the United Kingdom and if you are entertaining people during the day, then you should be able to prepare and serve tea to your guests. Part of living in a new country is the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and customs of the country, and drinking tea at any time of the day is very much a part of the culture in England.
The popularity of tea as a beverage dates back to the height of the British Empire when England controlled most of the world’s tea trade between the East and West. It has been around, however since the 1600’s as a drink made fashionable by the gentry. As tea grew in popularity, an entire culture surrounding tea burst into existence. Tea gardens and Tea dances were immensely popular for decades.
Today tea is served in two ways. The most common way is known as ‘builder’s tea’, this is a hot drink served at any time of the day. It is not served in a teacup and saucer, but in a mug and it is a strong tea, that is served with sugar and milk. People in England drink up to seven mugs of tea a day and will have it with a meal, or biscuits as a quick snack. The more refined way of serving tea involves using a cup and saucer and is almost ritualistic in nature.
How to prepare and serve tea:
- Boiling water is poured into a teapot, which is a utensil with a spout that is used for pouring tea. Once the pot is warmed, the water is discarded.
- Tealeaves are added to the warmed pot, some people use tea bags today for convenience, but purists would stick to loose tealeaves to better bring out the flavour.
- Hot water is added to the tealeaves and the mixture is allowed to settle for a few minutes to brew. A tea cosy is often placed over the pot; this is usually a knitted cover that keeps the tea warm while it is brewing.
- Tea is never allowed to brew for more than ten minutes as the tea is spoiled and turns bitter.
- The tea is poured into a cup and milk and sugar are added depending on how the individual prefers to drink it. There is some debate about whether or not to add milk before or after the tea, but this is really a question of personal taste.
Crazy about Coffee
If you are going to be moving to London, do not panic that you will not be able to drink your favourite cup of java. Coffee is served as often as tea, although most people in England will serve instant coffee in their homes, as opposed to the real deal. If you are craving a shot of espresso, then never fear, London is a cosmopolitan city and you’ll be able to find a Starbucks on most high streets.