Mary said, "My soul
magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. For behold,
henceforth all generations will call me blessed; for he who
is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."
I said earlier that I'd take up some additional cultural differences
between the United States and the United Kingdom, with particular
reference to my former "stomping grounds," the Bay Area
of California and rural Western Pennsylvania, and my current residence,
Northern Ireland/metropolitan Belfast.
One difference that is often mentioned is the culinary contrasts between
the States and England and beyond, and I've already alluded to the
differences between soups here and there. The main difference, besides
the brands, is that soups here tend to be bland compared with the
ones in the states, and British blandness is often cited as a major
difference between American and British cuisine generally. Bangers
(sausages) and mash (mashed potatoes) is a common lunch and even dinner
item here, as well as a side dish of mashed turnips. Green salads
seem to be rare here, whereas they are part of menus both in restaurants
and in homes in the states. I think they came in as a side of Italian
meals, but have become common with just about every type of American
meal in recent decades. Ranch dressing is hard to find in the stores
here, don't even look for Italian or Caesar, and the closest substitute
seems to be Heinz "salad creams," which are more like the
mayonaise-type salad dressings in American stores.
difference is that in this part of the world, food from the nation
of India is almost the equivalent of what Mexican food is in California.
There are Mexican restaurants in Pennsylvania and here in the UK,
too, but my experience of them in both places as far away from Mexico
as rural Western Pennsylvania and the UK is that they can hardly compare
with the Mexican restaurants in California and the American Southwest.
Mexicans have been part of the American Southwest even longer than
"gringos" (their most common word for those of us from European
lineage) have, and immigrants from India have been a large presence
in England for more than a century. And there's nothing bland about
of Mexican restaurants here is that they are usually attempts by native
British entrepreneurs who've eaten at good Mexican restaurants in
the American southwest to duplicate that menu here, usually not very
successfully. The cuisine is different from Brit cuisine, but also
different from genuine Mexican cuisine. Indian restaurants here are
generally run by actual immigrants from India, as are the Indian restaurants
I've tried in San Jose, San Francisco, and Berkeley, but generally
Indian food here is less expensive than it is in California, and like
Mexican restaurants in the American southwest, they are everywhere
here, whereas Indian restaurants in California are still harder to
restaurants are also far more numerous in California than they are
in either Pennsylvania or in the UK, though Chinese restaurants and
take-outs are not uncommon here. Authencity of the food is probably
harder to pinpoint, as I've been told that even the really good Far
Eastern (Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai, especially) in California
are much Americanized; I've even read that chow mein was invented
in San Francisco, albeit in that city's incomparable Chinatown. And
we've all heard about some food items described as common in Asia
that most westerners wouldn't knowingly touch (snakes and other reptiles,
for example) so we're inclined to believe the reports of wide differences.
When my brother and I were in Hong Cong, we didn't have any problem
finding restaurants we were happy to eat at, but that was a year or
more before Hong Cong separated from the British Commonwealth back
to being part of China (though I'm sure it's still very westernized).
restaurants are fairly common in Belfast. This one is just two doors
from the Loom. Here they call it "takeaway" where in the
States it's "takeout." But that's a relatively minor difference
between the language usages, which will be the subject of the next
installment on culture differences.
Here in Northern
Ireland (I don't remember seeing this in my earlier visits to England,
Scotland, and Wales), Kentucky Fried Chicken seems to me to be even
more popular than it is in the States. Among other American fast food
chains, I think only Subway is about the same here as it is in the
United States (seen very widely). McDonalds is here but not as prolific
as in the states. The most popular fast food native to this culture
is fish and chips, but most "chippie" stores seem to be
independent rather than part of any specific chain. Chippies were
introduced in the states with substantial promotion and financing
back in the 1970s, and had some success for a decade or so, but eventually
faded away almost entirely.
clip below shows a difference between tea and coffee brewing between
the United Kingdom and the United States.
the > on the video to launch. After the video launches, you can
double-click the screen to enlarge it to full-screen. If your browser
cannot open the video in Windows Media format, you can try it on YouTube,
Luke records Mary's claim that henceforth every generation would call
her blessed. Have you? Or have you preferred to avoid mentioning Mary
as much as possible?
§ § §
If you missed
my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here.
My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern
Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 07772197118.
hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public
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which embraces the very values that are its legacy, its leaven,
and its lifeblood.
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