Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Against the Grain

The boy orphan cat, Minkins, came in last night and let me know that my service animal, Eddie, wasn't his only momma. They are such a comfort now that he is gone. And Ratface is leaving my chocolate alone, although Echo inadvertently overdrew my account yesterday. She doesn't like the new catfood I am playing with.

But, to continue from yesterday: Mark and I landed in Kirkwall, The Orkneys, Scotland, in one piece, full of caffeine and adrenaline and hungry as tigers. Only I knew the truth. The friendly family unloaded their car and walked us to our Bed and Breakfast at about 9 o'clock at night. As we were walking, Mark turned to our friend and asked, "Where can we get something to eat?" I said, "I haven't told him yet." Our friend said, "Breakfast is about 8 in the morning."

Most of small-town Europe is what Americans would consider 'strict' about their food. There are times that food is served and times where you, if you haven't eaten, are out of luck. The Scottish would never dream of ruining their country with an all-night McDonalds, for instance. Or an all-night anything, for that matter, except for a pub. And the pubs operate on the assumption that beer and ale is part of a food group. And I agree that kidney pie is not something I would want to slide down on top of a belly full of beer, anymore than I would want to wash a plate of chitlins down with some Tennessee whiskey. And that far north, vegetables aren't food, as such. If it ferments, it belongs in the ale.

Now, my brother prefers meat and chocolate, but he would gladly have eaten a cabbage sandwich at this time, if it had been available. The knowledge that no food of any kind was available was a stunner. And he isn't that crazy about beer or ale. He didn't know about mayo, mustard and ketchup, yet, either. I told him, evil one that I am, that biscuits would be in the room. Our Orkney friend laughed and waved good bye.

To the English, a biscuit is what an American would call a cracker or Melba bread. Not a saltine, but a sometimes noxious compendium of grains, dried and hardened, and best left to horses. Most taste like rye bread. After the invention of biscuits, the English decided there were better things to do with grain. Much better things.

In our room, we did indeed find the ubiquitous electric kettle, instant coffee, packets of tea and two small (thankfully) packets of biscuits.

 Tomorrow: What'll You Give Me ? Or the continuing foodie adventures in Scotland. 

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