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When in London…

5th July 2008 – Day 187
Originally uploaded by LoulaM

I just came back from a brief stay in London, where I enjoyed a winning combo of productive work and fun play with old friends. I’ve also managed to fulfill my three food rituals, a must for every visit I make to the UK. The strange thing is, when I spent four years living in England back in the mid-1990s, I never cared much for these foods. Then I left and, years later, started having specific cravings as soon as I step my foot on the UK ground.

And here’s what I crave:
• Indian food, which here in New York, even in the Indian enclave of Jackson Heights in Queens, doesn’t compare to the real-deal stuff in London
• full English breakfasts – the whole shebang with baked beans, eggs, Cumberland sausages, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, hash brown, and toast;
afternoon tea, complete with scones, clotted cream and jam, and washed down with many cups of tea.

By now, as soon as I arrive to London, my friends already know I’ll be demanding my food fixes, above. On this last visit, I had Indian takeaway two nights in a row, and could have had it the third night were I not spending it on the airplane crossing the Atlantic en route back to New York. On the sunny Saturday last weekend, I had afternoon tea with friends at the much-loved Tea Rooms (155 Church Street) in the the delightful neighborhood of Stoke Newington, where I normally stay with my best friend. I loved the old-fashioned vibe of this petite spot, as well as the freshly baked scones and homemade jam. On the day of my flight, I had a full-on fry-up at a local café in Stoke Newington, which was a great finale to my quick sojourn in London.

That got me thinking… what is it that makes me so attached to these foods that I don’t ever remember or crave anywhere else in the world?

Blog Comments

As a fellow North American, I too, am a big fan of afternoon tea, though after reading your post on Indian food takeaway, you may have started me down a new path.

I know what you mean about having rituals when visiting a city you have lived in or previously visited. Indian food, English breakfasts and afternoon tea all belong to my London favorites.

Haven't heard about Tea Rooms before. Sounds like it's well worth a visit!

Indian takeaway in London definitely rules! Don't miss it next time you're in the UK.

Great minds think alike, Erica. 🙂 Glad to hear we have the same food rituals.

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