Monday, May 16, 2011

Old Favorites

We went out to dinner with friends at Simply Delicious in Bognor Regis the other evening.  Simply Delicious is a deli that holds a supper club on a semi-regular basis, and the food they serve is superb.

The menu this time offered a starter of pan-seared scallops and black pudding in a cauliflower velouté (velouté, I discovered when it arrived, is haute cuisine for “sauce”) followed by braised South Downs veal with wild rabbit and chorizo.  Accompanying these delicacies were some very fine wines—a Chablis and a Bordeaux.

So, while we dined on these culinary delights, what else would our conversation turn to but our favourite dishes?

The top runner—among both the British contingent and the resident American—was a fish-finger sandwich.  This, for the benefit of my American readers, if a sandwich made of fish sticks.  I have to admit, while I lived in the States, it never occurred to me to put fish sticks in a sandwich, but this was, I am here to tell you, to my detriment.

Likewise, a chip butty which, if you can believe this, is simply a French fry sandwich.  But this, too, is strangely satisfying.

If you, like I did at first, find these delicacies to be a bit, well, weird, consider that the notion of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich had the British shaking their heads in wonder.  Once I had them baffled with this colonial delight, I told them that, in America, you can actually buy peanut butter and jelly mixed together in one jar.

The piéce de résistance, however, was the peanut butter and bacon sandwich.  This had them thinking I was mad, or making it up, or both, even when I assured them that this, too, is so popular in the States that you can also buy jars of peanut butter mixed with bacon bits; they are right next to the jars of peanut butter mixed with jelly.

After that, mentioning the peanut butter and banana sandwich was a bit of an anti-climax.

But the rest of the meal was not; for the cheese course, we were treated to a wedge of (and I am not making this up) The Best Cheese in the World.  Don’t believe me?  Check this out – “Cornish blue reigns supreme at World Cheese Awards

Where cheese is concerned it, literally, does not get any better than this.

Then we had pink spam for dessert.  Go figure.

It wasn’t really pick spam, it was “New season Strawberry and Montezuma White Chocolate Parfait with Strawberry Sauce”

Today we’re back to the usual British fare—you know, beans on toast, faggots, spotted dick—but for lunch I made myself a special treat that left me moaning in gastronomic delight and nostalgic for all things American: a peanut butter and bacon sandwich.

Ahhh, a taste of America.


  1. Howabout grilled cheese with jam (perhaps this is just a New England/French Canadian thing)?

  2. Nope, never heard of that one, but I do like peanut butter, bacon and bananas. Maybe next weekend I'll try them both.

  3. That peanut butter and bacon thing must be a North East delicacy. I've just come back from the store and am here to tell you we don't have jars of peanut butter with bacon in it round here.

  4. Sorry to hear that; you don't know what you're missing ;)

  5. Mrs Baum9:31 PM

    You meant 'superb' in the first paragraph, didn't you? Not 'suburb'.
    Sorry! Ok, ok, I'll stop now...

    ... Ahem. Anyway, fishfinger sandwiches would be on my list of top 10 favourite foods. Best with some cheddar cheese in there, with tomato sauce to dip. Yum.

    Peanut butter, on the other hand, sticks to the roof of your mouth and would be on my list of top 10 least favourite foods. I've never been able to bring myself to try it with jelly/jam, but I don't like the idea. Though it is useful for making satay sauce for chicken.

    I don't really like the American thing of stuffing loads of different ingredients in sandwiches - I find that a lot of them just don't go with each other. Though British sandwiches are often pretty boring by comparison. I'd like some kind of middle ground.

    But if you like chip butties (yum), try pie-and-chip butties. Fantastic.

  6. My secret sandwich, when alone and in no danger of breathing over anyone, is a pickled onion sandwich (slice the pickles first or they will be rather too bulky between a couple of slices of bread). Nothing else in the sandwich. Nothing is needed, the onions will overbear anything else anyway!.

    I love 'em.

  7. Mrs. Baum: No, actually, I meant "suburb" because the cafe is sort of, like, not in a city, so it is really a suburb, right, so the food they serve is "suburb" food ... and you're not buying any of this, are you? Thanks ... again ;)

    Steve: I never tried that, but you have something over here called Branston Pickle that you make sandwiches out of--I must investigate this further some day...

  8. American though I am, I freely admit to never having tried a peanut-butter-bacon sandwich.

    Your meal sounds AMAZING! Who says that the British don't eat well? The french fry sandwich might give that impression, but it's hard to beat "SPAM" for dessert ;)

  9. Abby: It's a well propagated myth that the food is bad in Britain; we promote it so we can keep it all for ourselves ;)