England is similar to America as far as food goes, but they tend to have different names for their food which can get confusing. They have a lot of the same fast food chain American franchises that we have--KFC, Burger King, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks! Also when you go grocery shopping they have some of our popular American brands such as Kelloggs, Poptarts, and Oreos. I have tried some of the traditional English food such as a ploughmans plate, bangers and mash, biscuits, cheese and onion pasty, and fish and chips. The ploughmans plate was 3 triangular pieces of cheese, crusty baguette, different types of pickles, and chutney. I was not a huge fan of it though it is a popular menu item at most British pubs and restaurants. The bangers here are simply sausages; however they do taste slightly different. In my opinion, they are softer and less spicy. A biscuit here is our version of a hard cookie, and they generally eat them as a snack with tea. A pasty is a puff-pastry that reminds me of a combination of a pierogie and a pot pie. The fist and chips are a classic dish and very delicious! Their authentic chips are our version of steak fries basically. All in all, I am not going to waste away in England because I have found plenty of delicious sweets, entrees, and fancy drinks that I enjoy. Ellie Boone
I remind myself constantly that I am in a foreign country and the food may have the same name, but ultimately it is different. This is precisely why I have challenged myself to try as many new things as possible. I often look for the most unfamiliar thing on the menu; for instance, when we were in Rochester on a fieldtrip I took it upon myself to try duck. It helps that I am not a picky eater, because some things are rather strange.
Living with British and Bulgarian students is helpful to get an international food background. My Bulgarian friends share their recipes from home. I definitely recommend the homemade macaroni and cheese made with white cheese from Bulgaria!
Cliche or not, I do enjoy fish and chips from many of the restaurants around town. I think it is interesting that every restaurant serves some form of chips. Jenna Kraeger
Our first real meal here was fish and chips. Me being a fish lover, I enjoyed every bite. It's not a good thing to be a picky eater when traveling abroad. If you are afraid to try new things, then you aren't going to eat. The best thing of all is that it is acceptable to eat waffles drenched in chocolate, ice cream, and strawberries for dessert or anytime you want! Ali Smith
I'm not really interested in the little food differences between the UK and US, such as Britain's exuberant use of mayonnaise. What I'd like to address is the prices. I can get a big bag of salad stuff for one pound at Asda (like Wal-Mart). That's $1.55 - super cheap. A bag of mixed greens in the US can range anywhere between $2.50 to $3.50, depending on the time of year, the supermarket, and the grade of vegetables. It's great that I can get it here so cheaply. I've never been so healthy while at school. Microwavable groceries are easier and cheaper in the US, and that's probably why Americans are seen as unhealthy eaters in the eyes of the Brits. Sonja Skalecki
Before I got here I was told by so many people the food is so different, you're not going to like it. After the 100th time hearing that, I was absolutely positive I was going to have nothing to eat here. So, I planned out every meal before I left and tried to get as much of my favorite foods as possible. But, the first night here me and a group of my American friends went out to celebrate our arrival in England. We found this amazing little place on a side road near our flat called Salt. We all got something different so we could share and taste different things. The food ranged from goat cheese balls, which sound gross but were pretty good, short rib braised with red wine, amazing, some type of fish I can't remember glazed with sweet chili sauce, potato croquettes, and of course some delicious dessert, iced peanut butter parfait with honeycomb ice cream and a chocolate brownie with raspberry sauce and ice cream. Our first meal in England was amazing, delicious and was just the beginning.
Don't get me wrong, everything is different. Everything seems much healthier and fresh. The major difference I found was the ground beef, or should I say minced meat. Eating a hamburger, not from McDonald's, is a bit different. I haven't figured out if it is a good different or a bad, let's just say it's different. For all you salad eaters out there, 9 times out of 10 when you ask someone what kind of dressings a restaurant has, they are going to look at you like you have 10 heads. Don't get me wrong, they have dressings, but it's either a salsa type dressing or a quick toss in oil. Even if you find dressings in the grocery store, they are a little different. That's another major thing, they don't have a lot of sauces like we have in America. Most restaurants don't know what hot sauce is, don't have a lot of BBQ sauce, and don't understand you when you ask for A1 sauce for your steak. They do have versions of many sauces we have, but the names are different. It may sound like a lot is different or weird, but I promise you if you open your mind to new things you will not starve! If anything you will be exercising more because most likely you will gain a few pounds!
If there is anything to take away from this it is try as many new things as possible. Do not go to restaurants you can get in America like McDonald's or Subway. You are in a foreign country, try their food, experience new things. You never know when you will get a chance like this again. And lastly if you have amazing housemates like I do, do family dinners, everyone pitch in for dinner and cook each other dinner as much as possible. Cooking with my housemates has brought us so much closer. It's much cheaper. We eat healthier. And we spend less money but get a lot of good food! Paige Clark
Photos provided by Sonja Skalecki and Ali Smith.