English Baking Attempt #1
My lovely wonderful mother sent me a birthday package with most of the ingredients (with the exception of eggs, sugar, etc for obvious reasons) for my favorite Lemon Jello cake (amongst other favorites that I believe I mentioned in a previous blog – Butterfingers, Baltimore’s best Berger cookies, and Victoria Secret thingy ma bobs). I decided to bake it for this weekend for Darryl’s 40th Birthday party (which I will mention in a bit).
Nothing is ever easy when in a foreign country, and I’m finding that British cooking, when it seems it should be simpler than say, French cooking – well, it’s deceiving. I doubt I will ever make that mistake like I did upon first arriving to France and order me some pig’s feet instead of simply pork, but I’m thinking I might make other mistakes.
Like, for example, when I want to broil something – as in, use the top of the oven to cook at a high heat – apparently, in England, that’s called grilling. Now, I thought grilling was outside on the BBQ. No, apparently that’s called BBQing. Confused yet?
1. So, the ingredients called for Confectioners Sugar. I went looking in the supermarket, and no one had any clue what I was talking about, nor did they feel like showing me where I might find something of the sort. So, the baking aisle I went down. They had: Cane Sugar, Castor Sugar, Brown Sugar, Gelating Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Decorating Sugar, Superfine Sugar, and Icing Sugar. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!
I was frustrated, but I took a chance with the icing sugar – afterall, it was going to be used for icing…
And, it worked!
2. Ovens here tend to be Convection Ovens, so when my mother wrote in the ingredients to put it in for 45 minutes, well, after 15 and it was already raising and turning brown, I got a bit worried. Thank God there was a toothpick in the house to do the ole tooth pick trick. After 25 minutes, I pulled it out and it was perfect. (we won’t even go into the conversion from Fahrenheit to Celsius – internet saves me everytime)
3. I should never say something is homemade in England when I use a cake mix. To me, a cake mix is a perfectly acceptable way to bake a cake since it is something I rarely do, I figure if I put it in the oven, that counts as baking. Plus, there were a lot of other ingredients as well. Well, good ole Jocko let ‘er slip that I used a cake mix, and oh boy, did I get hell for that! Doesn’t matter they loved it and it got high praises, oh NOOO, I cheated and that’s wrong!
I tried to pull the old, it’s a cultural difference line (I pull that one a lot and say that that’s as home baked as it gets in America, but I don’t think they bought it.
I won’t even get into cooking – that will have to wait for another blog – but can we just say if you want an Eggplant Lasagne, you better ask for an Aubergine one; if you want zucchini in your veggies, ask for a courgette (my French came in handy here), string beans are French beans, ginger nut is ginger snap, bologna is polony, and one I just recently learned when heading to a festival – they call cotton candy – candyfloss.
And just when you think you’ve mastered the English language…