Monday, July 12, 2010


I should be doing homework right now, but instead I've been pondering all the strange differences between British life and food compared with the US.  Here are a few things I've noticed:
  • Cheese:  Every single dish that I've eaten here that includes cheese has had a shredded white cheddar cheese.  On sandwiches, pizza, anything.  No other cheeses.  Strange.
  • Quantities:  Everything here is smaller.  Cans of soda, bags of chips, serving sizes, etc.  At restaurants, they give you tiny glasses for water, like the size of a shooter.  Deceptive.
  • Desserts:  Brits call dessert "pudding."  It has confused me on multiple occasions because I'm actually expecting pudding, when in fact I might end up with a brownie, cake, or strange gelatin creation.  Confusing.
  • Streets:  Pedestrians roam about freely in the middle of many of the streets here.  I've come close to getting run over because a street might look like the type where pedestrians can roam, when in fact it is a busy street of cars.  Dangerous.
  • Alcohol:  The Brits like to drink.  A lot.  Every day.  To drunkenness.  Liver-afflicting.  
  • Money:  Most of the British currency is in coins, some of which look deceptively similar to American currency.  The pound, for example, is a coin.  There is even a coin worth two pounds.  My wallet wasn't built to hold this many coins.  Inconvenient.
  • Cream:  They put it on everything.  And we're not talking about sweet, whipped cream.  No - it's thick, clotted cream.  Tastes like butter.  They put it on all desserts (pardon, pudding).  Gross.
  • Style:  Men's capri pants are running rampant.  As are female capri pants that are baggy at the top (think MC Hammer).  Funny.
  • Prawns.  They look like tiny shrimp, but I'm not actually sure what they are.  But they are everywhere, on everything.  There are prawn-flavored potato chips in the vending machines.  (And also roast beef flavored chips.)  Ick.
  • Signs:  The buildings, landmarks, and streets here are not labeled clearly.  Perhaps they figure that Oxford scholars should be able to figure it out on their own.  Street signs aren't posted on the streets; they are posted on buildings which may or may not be visible from the street.  The colleges at Oxford have no labeling whatsoever.  Secretive.
  • Words:  Lift = elevator.  Brilliant = great; wonderful.  Carriage = cart.  Wanker = jerk.  Bugger = damn.  Let = rent.  Give way = yield.  Advice slip = receipt.  And so on.
  • Humor:  The Brits are funnier than us.  Accept defeat.
British pounds.  Coins are arranged in order from most
worth at the top, to least worth at the bottom.

 Deceptively small and strangely flavored potato chips

There are many more, I am sure, but these are the ones that have stuck out most to me.  The differences are simultaneously charming and perplexing.


  1. This is the most I have learned about England, ever. I enjoyed your one-word summary at the end of each bullet. Bugger!

    Also, I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept: ask 5 different Brits to explain the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. Even Wikipedia is unable to help me differentiate! Which one is the country! WAAAAA.

    Keep up the bloggings!

  2. Do you not like it over there? I personally think England is great, but then again, I'm not completely sold on the US.

    And to attempt to answer Mr. Kenny-
    Great Britain and UK is the same
    England is essentially a 'province' of the UK.

    Have fun!!!

  3. Kenny - I didn't know this either, so I looked it up when I first got here. Here's the breakdown, as it was explained to me:

    Great Britain = England, Scotland, and Wales
    Britain = England and Wales
    UK = England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland

    Very confusing!

    And Andy - I love it here! My remarks on the differences might have come off as negative, but I actually really enjoy this country and the people... and most importantly the accent! haha

  4. Haha, after Andy's response, I needed further clarification. So apparently the UK is the country. So what really confuses me is why England and Scotland have "national" teams for soccer and the Olympics, not the UK.

    So GB and UK are basically the same in slang terms but not technically, like you said. And UK is the country.

    But I think UK includes Northern Ireland but not Ireland.


    Sounds like you're having a blast :)