(To be updated at the completion of every new vegetarian experiment at an English pub/restaurant/home; also involves the consumption of dairy products and baked food containing eggs.)
If you’re in England and don’t eat meat or drink beer, you’re bound to feel like a fish out of water quite often; and if you have a propensity for walking headlong into trouble, you’d do well to follow some solid advice. This is a list of the food/drink I am in the process of ‘encountering’ during my stay in England, and I hope it will bring some misled souls back onto the right path (though I have no idea what it is at the moment).
1. Jacket potatoes with beans – Attempt only if you have an unreasonably strong liking for bland food, and/or if you fancy the taste of starch. Salt might improve it just a wee bit, but I rather doubt it.
2. Cheese-and-pickle sandwich – A good option for those who like slightly tangy pickles. Several years of research would be required to bring it up to Indian ‘spice’ standards, but considering it has some kind of taste and is filling, I’d much rather plump for this than the unbearable jacket potato.
3. Ginger beer – Brewed, traditional ginger beer, strong and spicy, is an excellent way to wash down a not-so-delicious meal. Fentimans is brilliant.
4. Noodles – If you’re craving for masala-flavoured noodles, and Maggi and Top Ramen are distant shores away, add some curry powder (along with the tastemaker) to Sainsbury’s vegetable noodles; not fantastic, but extremely edible. (The only other brand of noodles I’ve tried here is IndoMie, and it is soupy and tastes like rubber.)
5. Lentil/barley soup – If your eyes twinkled at the sight of this step-sibling of dal at the supermarket and you were warmly aglow with joy at the prospect of ‘home food’, make sure you have plenty of chocolate and a frying pan/cooker ready: you are bound to want to make your own dinner (even if you can’t tell a butter knife from one used to chop vegetables) a teaspoonful of this witch’s broth later. Ensure your refrigerator is well stocked with tubs of yoghurt to rid you of the taste of this ‘soup’.
5. Coffee Cake – Fairtrade, delicious Brazilian coffee at its aromatic best in thick icing on a nice, crumbly brown cake is a brilliant dessert option. It can, of course, be eaten at any time of the day or night to satiate ungainly cravings.
To be continued.