Monday, November 15, 2010

Stuff British People Like

A Canadian friend of mine lives with her British boyfriend here in London. As such, she’s had much more exposure to British culture than I’ve had, and often provides me with valuable insights on a weekly basis. The other day she remarked on the difference in simple, every-day expressions. “Did you know the British don’t let their tea steep?” she asked.

“What are you talking about? Of course they do. That’s the whole point of tea. They’re some of the world’s biggest tea drinkers.”

“Yeah,” she replied, “but they don’t actually say ‘steep’. They say ‘brew’.”

“But that’s ridiculous! You don’t let a tea bag brew in constantly boiling water. And you can’t brew tea like you brew beer, either. Weird.”

“Right? I thought so too!” she replied, glad to have her expat view validated. “I mean after all those years of drinking Tim Horton’s’ ‘Steeped Tea’, I come here and find out I’ve been saying it all wrong.” I rolled my eyes.

“Timmy Ho’s is wrong too. ‘Steeped tea’ is redundant. If you’re selling tea as a beverage, it’s always steeped. Gah! Again, it’s the whole point of drinking tea.”

Abnormal frustration over linguistic quibbles aside, it got me thinking about stuff British people like that I will never understand:

1) Marmite - a yeast extract spread for toast. Mmm.. tastes like toe jam!

2) Cold toast - toast that's grown cold and THEN buttered. Shudder.

3) Mushy peas.

4) Saying 'vye-a' when the word 'via' is clearly Latin and should be pronounced 'vee-a'.

5) Obsession with the Royal Family.

6) Hating the French.

7) Secretly wanting to be French and then hating themselves for it.

8) Keeping their buildings draughty and frigid ON PURPOSE.

9) Thinking that wet, windy, cold weather is 'invigorating'.

10) Feeding pigeons. You don't see people in New York feeding the rats, do you?


Jo said...

What about the naked cleaning?!

Also, while I would agree with you on most of these points, I will defend mushy peas (with fish and chips, delicious. And I don't even like peas!) and love of the royals. I'm gonna say it: I am a monarchist. Love that queen! :)

Cait Espinoza said...

Hey! I never said I didn't understand their LOVE of the royals. The Queen shares a birthday with my Gran, and I am also fond of Her Maj. But the obsession thing with paparazzi and tabloids is a bit much.

TheFemDish said...

#8 for sure!! Growing up in Calgary you wouldn't think that I'd find the UK COLDER, simply because you never get warm. It's so strange, but then they panic in the summer when the temperature gets above 20.