So it’s kind of cheating but kind of not because I am the dictator of this blog, but #24 on my list of things I will miss most from this part of the world are technically four separate things. But they’re all edible so let’s lump them together into one very sad thing to miss. “Them” being
#24 sausage, baked beans, the cheddar and real cheese in general.
Sausage: Sausage is really good in the US. And hot dogs are one of the reasons I can never become a vegetarian (bacon is the other. Shalom.). But, I have really grown to love the quality and deliciousness of an English sausage. Different than all the other kinds I knew growing up, if pressed I would have to say English sausage is most closely related to what Americans just east as breakfast sausage. But that seems so ridiculous to even say. Sausage is much more often a main dish here. Unadorned, except for maybe some gravy. No bun needed. No mustard required. You just need a real special pork-rearing nation.
Baked Beans: I never imagined baked beans would become as commonplace in my diet as they have. They are part of a traditional English Breakfast, yes, but also a very common food for children. Beans on Toast is a classic kids’ dish and alert the presses: it may be the easiest kids’ dish to prepare on Earth. America, adopt it now. Beans are just around a lot. And I admit I like them and I admit I’ll miss them. It turns out the Heinz baked beans recipe is different for the British palate. The sauce here is tomato-based and no molasses or brown sugar is involved. These are the things my Dad and I discuss. IJS.
The Cheddar: You could live your whole life in North America and think Wisconsin is the epicenter of good cheddar. And then you would move to England and try a bite here and go hahahahahahaha until you cry. British people have existed in humankind for the sole purpose of inventing cheddar. I don’t even know if they invented it, but I am feeling generous. It’s so good that it has its own numbering system: 2 would be very mild, 7 would just be cray cray. And different regions produce very different kinds. And it’s never dyed flourescent orange. That threw me off for so long. How can you eat cheddar if it’s not orange? What would happen to your taco? Can society function without descending into Lord of the Flies-type anarchy with only pale yellow cheddar available? I don’t know. But it’s so good.
Real Cheese in General: All Euro-loving elsewherers know that Europe has got the cheese thing locked down. That appreciation crosses the English channel I am happy to report. You won’t find vulcanized, rubbery, ersatz, Frankencheese-like substances for the sake of having something smooth or squirty to put on your favorite partially hydrogenated anti-Paleo snack. It actually distressed me several times when making a recipe to not be able to find Monterey Jack until I discovered maybe Monterey Jack is a pile of poo poo. But I will admit that I will eventually go back to old faithful: American cheese. Although not loved beyond the fifty states, nothing makes a grilled cheese sandwich quite like it. Quite.
In the United States, it may not be legally sold as “cheese”, and must be labeled as “processed cheese”, “cheese product”, or similar—e.g., “cheese food”. At times even the word “cheese” is missing in the name on the label, e.g. “American slices” or “American singles”.
Also, you probably want me to mention horse meat. Because those of you that love me know that I have a great deal of affection for IKEA’s swedish meatballs (and if you didn’t know that, then I guess you’re dead to me). But I haven’t been to IKEA in a long time. It’s not that I am anti-horse, I just don’t have a car.