Snacking British style is part of this tea lover’s secret for living the “tea life.” Since my preference is for a more British style tea time, this seems only natural. Now, I pass on that secret to you.
What constitutes “snacking” in Britain is pretty much the same as here. It’s basically grabbing something to munch in-between (or sometimes in place of) your meals. In the UK, it tends to be mainly breakfast that gets skipped.
One of the most important steps in snacking like the Brits is terminology. “Chips” aren’t those thin, greasy things in a bag that we’re used to; they’re what we call “French Fries.” And what we call “chips” they call “crisps.” The language barrier doesn’t stop there. “Biscuits” to them are “cookies” to us. That gives you a bit of an idea. (I felt more linguistically compatible in Germany with my limited knowledge of German than in some parts of the UK and Ireland.)
Another important step in making sure your snacking conforms to standards of those “across the pond” is developing a taste for flavors a bit more exotic than BBQ or Sour Cream and Onion. Some are even whackier than those “manic” tea blends I never want to see. Walkers, a top UK brand, even held a contest in 2008 called “Do Us a Flavour” (that’s not a typo, that’s how they spell “flavor” over there) and launched six winners in January 2009, including Chili & Chocolate, Crispy Duck & Hoisin (actually, this one sounds pretty tasty), and Cajun Squirrel (don’t even want to guess about this one). Today, one of their more “unexpected” flavors is Prawn Cocktail. Then, there’s Pickled Onionand one called Worcester Sauce. They’re all made from potatoes grown in Britain, so you get that British experience all the way through.
Other snacks are gaining in popularity in the UK. According to several reports I saw, chocolate consumption has increased 66% as of June of this year, while peanuts are up 44%, and crisps and cookies are up 25% each. In addition, Brits snack on fruits, sweets, cake, toast, raw vegetables, and cereals.
This snack-aholism is being blamed on — er, attributed to more TV viewing, i.e., “couch potato syndrome,” as well as a lack of interest in cooking, and faster lifestyles where taking time to prepare meals and sit down with family members to enjoy them is going the way of the dinosaur and dial-up Internet connections. As a result of this, the UK is trending upward, at least as far as the dial on the bathroom scale is concerned.
Sounds a bit like things here in the U.S.
Hm…maybe we already are snacking British style, especially if we add in a big pot of tea like Scottish Breakfast or English Breakfast Blend. Pour a big cupful, add in your choice of milk, sweetener, lemon, honey, etc., or nothing, then grab a Brit-style snack, plop down in a comfy chair, grab the TV remote and turn to your favorite program.
Ooo…time for the latest episode of “Doctor Who.” Gotta go.
Snacking British style is only one part of living the “tea life.” Stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, to learn more.