Time may change me
But I can’t trace time ~ Bowie
My parents live in a small town. There’s a main street with small, old shops and nearly every corner either hosts a church or a blue school flag (Go Blue Devils!). Nothing much changes around the slow movement of businesses in and out.
It’s only when we leave a place for a long time and return with “old” eyes that we gasp at the accumulation of differences. Where did that restaurant go? What do you mean it was shut down?? It was there since before I was born! Or, wasn’t there a field here before? Where did all of these houses come from?
We go back to Britain every 3 years or so. Each time is filled with “where did that go?” and “what’s that?” as we try to take in all of the little and big changes that occurred in between our visits. This year was no different. Suddenly, there were Starbucks in more shops than before. There was “Made in Britain” being proclaimed loudly and with pride from packets of crumpets and even ketchup. You could buy a mocha in every mom and pop place which before might have only served coffee, if that.
Being dessert fiends, we definitely saw a trend in what was “in” with the sweets. Each time there’s something new that seems to dominate the sweet scene. Here’s a rundown of what every tea shop or restaurant was serving (well, most).
If you’re American, you will probably be thinking of the thick, custardy, cinnamon and icing laced dessert that people either love or hate. I’ve yet to meet anyone that was ambivalent to bread pudding. Personally, I love it, if it’s done right (and by right I mean spiked with cinnamon and soft with baked custard and a LOT of icing). Apparently, the same is also true with bread pudding in the UK. But beware: one bread pudding isn’t like another.
Instead of custardy, it’s thick – think Christmas fruit cake and you’ve got it in a raisin. In fact, there’s a ton of dried fruit mixed into the dough and the pudding is soaked in a liquid that can be a juice, alcohol, or some other substance (as in the case of one bread pudding that I will live to regret eating). It can be delicious and spicy (oh, yes, and cold) if done right or weird and overpowering (if you’re unlucky). I had two versions of bread pudding this trip and the one bad experience made me a lot more tentative to trying it out elsewhere when it popped up on the menu.
The name conjures up childhood memories of mixing up the “suicide drink” from every variety of soda available at the soda fountain. While some concoctions were brilliant, others left you deftly dumping it down the grill under the ice dispenser. (Maybe it should have been called Russian roulette?)
Eton mess is apparently a type of ice cream that blends strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream. I can see how this combination could be really good – especially if the ice cream was made right before your eyes rather from a tub. Let’s just say that the eton mess I had didn’t really taste much different from regular strawberry ice cream and was certainly not freshly made. This disappointment made me slightly anxious about the eton mess cheesecake one restaurant offered (would it just be strawberry cheesecake?), so I opted for sticky toffee pudding.
And was that a good decision.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
It’s sweet, sticky, sweet, warm, sweet, thick, and well, sweet.
And did I mention delicious? Especially with melting, cold, ice cream.
This isn’t a “new” dessert by any means, but it was everywhere this time. It’s also another one of those desserts with a name that isn’t quite “right”. It’s certainly sticky, but if you think pudding is a soft chocolate substance that typically comes from a box, then you couldn’t be more wrong.
Pudding in England just means dessert. This dessert is a cake that is typically made from dates and drenched in toffee sauce and served with ice cream or warm cream.
It’s decadent if you’re into that kind of thing. 😈
I’ll let my 7 extra pounds speak for me. 😳
We also noticed tiffin, millionaire shortbread, and coffee walnut cake everywhere.
Let’s just say that a whole lot of eatin’ was going on. 😀