Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Inn And Out.

Upon my arrival in England; I thought it would be a mighty fine idea to check out the local 'grub'.  So off I went in search of a traditional looking pub that served yee local fare.  I stumbled upon, 'The Inn And Out'.  A sign outside stated that this was a fast food restaurant pub that specialised in the very finest British cuisine.
I sat down and a waiter proceeded to ask me if I would like some food.  "Yes please", I replied,"what do you have on offer?"  "Well sir, on our main menu, we have 'cottage pie', 'shepherd's pie', 'bangers and mash', 'bubble and squeak' and our acclaimed, 'toad in the hole'."
Stunned, shocked, confused, bewildered, I started thinking about what he had just told me.  Thought it best to avoid 'toad in the hole', just in case it gave me a serious case of 'bubble and squeak'.  "I'm not too sure about those suggestions", I responded.  Do you have something I've heard of,  like a pizza?"   "Certainly sir.  We get high praise for our 'margarita'  pizza."  "Ooooh.....I'm not so sure about that.  The idea of a pizza with tequila, triple sec, lemon and lime juice; does not sound too appetising.  Still, I can understand why your pizza gets such 'high' praise."  I added.  "Oh no sir, a 'margarita' is a basic pizza without any toppings", he said with a bemused grin on his face.
"Fine, thank you, I shall have one of your margarita pizzas, please."  "Excellent sir!  Would you like some 'or  eee  gan  oh' on your pizza, sir?"  "Huh?"  I replied, "why would I want Japanese paper art on my pizza?"  The waiter handed me the menu, which perhaps he should have done in the first place.  He pointed to the word he had just spoken.  'Whoops'. I thought, the word was 'oregano'.  "Yes, that would be fine.  I shall have some 'or eee gan  oh' on my pizza."
The pizza was brought over and I started to eat.  Yes indeed, I grabbed a slice and shoved into my mouth.  There were gasps of horror all around me.  Responsible adults covered children's eyes.  The waiter stared at me in disbelief.  All I was doing, heaven forbid; was eating pizza with my fingers.  Puzzled by this reaction; I looked around at some other folks who were having pizza.  Good grief, they were using a knife and fork.  I think I might have broken some law of pizza etiquette.  Yeah, I know..here's that old joke.  Do you eat pizza with your fingers?  Or, do you eat them separately?
Upon finishing the pizza; the waiter asked me if I would like a drink.  He said that the 'bitter' was very good.  I gave that a miss and had a cup of tea instead.  He asked me if I would like a dessert.  "Sure thing buddy", I said.  "What do you have?"  "Sir, we have 'spotted dick'."


  1. Marvellous, what we take for granted, but seen with a new pair of eyes...hugs.. Carole. x

  2. This post made me laugh and cry and yet gave me no desire to eat anything.

  3. What a delightful story, Gare. I was chortling the whole freaking time.

    Here, in Malaysia you will not get gawked at, if you happen to shove the pizzas using your fingers. Everybody does that. You can use fork and knife too, and they would think it's only natural, for you.

    I use fork and spoon when I eat the rice on a banana leaf, and I know people and my boyfriend find it a breach of the eating etiquette. Ha Ha. With pizzas and toast, buns or rolls, I am happy to use my fingers.

    As for the English Accent, it's really cute. Hehe. Thank you for making me start my day with a good laugh.

    Bubble and squeak,

  4. Holy mother of Lady Gaga!! I didn't know it was possible to have so much action in a local fast food resto.

    Pizza, hmm... lemme see. Oh yes, I eat pizza with my fingers, but I also like it with someone else's fingers. I resorted to cannibalism after a year of unemployment.

    Btw, the japanese paper art is called "or eee ga me." Hehe. Wicked kick-ass post, nonetheless.

  5. Hi Shanaz,
    Thanks so much for thinking this was a delightful story.
    Okay, a slight exaggeration in regards to the shocked looks when I used my fingers to eat the pizza. However, I have noticed a lot of folks over here do eat pizza with a knife and fork. Very civilized.
    Thanks for sharing some of your eating styles that you have in Malaysia.
    Bubble and squeak back atcha:-)
    Kind wishes, Gary

  6. Hello Ryhen,
    And how are you my 'cannibal' friend?
    I have got to 'hand' it to you when it comes to other folks' fingers:-)
    And I do realise that Japanese paper art is actually called 'Origami'. I was trying to be clever with the guy, and with his accent; it almost sounded like 'or eee ga me'.
    As they say here, 'cheers' Ryhen.
    With respect and toad in the hole, Gary:-)

  7. Have you ever tried to ask for a coffee in a traditional English pub? If you do it in the Central London it's OK. They even have coffee machines there, because they are used to have tourists as customers. If you go somewhere out of the zone 1, maybe zone 2 of the tube to one of those nice, old a little bit greasy pubs, where the real life is happening and do so, they look at you like you are an enemy or something. like you just spat on the picture of queen, told their local football club are losers and ordered a plate of fried frogs speaking in weird mixture of french and german :)
    no, no, first there is disbelief in the old womans eyes behind the bar, then she asks you again what do you want, and then finally she brings you a cup of weak instant coffee with a lot of milk in it. it looks somewhat gray and dirty and in fact it's something which would hardly be called coffee in any other country i can imagine and she almost throws that cup to you, as if trying to say, that if you asked for a shit I can give you a shit. now quickly drink it and go away :)
    I'm serious, it happened to me not only once and my friends say the same. :)
    Speaking about the forks, it somehow reminded me about monty python, not exactly one of their sketches, but real historical accident when they stayed in a hotel somewhere in England, which was owned by a very rude guy, who among other things was shouting at Terry Gilliam, who is American, that he doesn't have any manners at the table, because he is switching hands with his fork whilst eating. This guy in turn became the inspiration for "Fawlty Towers".
    it was real fun to read your post.

  8. Ha Ha. That was hilarious. I wonder why those people were shocked. I eat just about everything with my fingers. Next, they might want us to eat French Fries with a fork!

    Loved the post. Have a great day!:)

  9. This is very nicely observed Gary. The thing that began to change British eating habits was the advent of cheap foreign travel starting in the late sixties.
    Yes, it has been a slow road but there is no doubt that the standard of food in the UK has leapt forward to the extent that one can eat more variedly and as high in quality (and price!) in London as almost anywhere with the probable exception of New York.

  10. Hi Carole,
    First of all my sincere apologies for not commenting in chronological order. 'Blogger' was acting up and your comment did not show up until today.
    At times, the 'lost in translation' situations that I get into, even these days can be hilarious and very good natured.
    Thanks Carole, hugs your way, Gary x

  11. Hello 'sexnfries'
    Also, my apologies to you for not responding to your comment in chronological order. 'Blogger' was acting very weird yesterday. It indicated that I had a comment, yet when I went to read it; it showed 0 comments.
    I hope you get your appetite back. Here, have a fine British biscuit...the legendary 'HobNob:-)
    Take real good care, Gary

  12. Very funny and very disturbing... now I will have to look at every Brit with trepidation because I do have a fear of spotted dick.

  13. Hi MG,
    It was great fun reading your hilarious response to my post. I can so relate to what you have noted. Indeed, you have pointed out some interesting facts that led up to the creation of that outrageously bizarre show, 'Fawlty Towers':-)
    And speaking of coffee...I have had some similar experiences ordering. I asked for a coffee, cream no sugar, please. 'Do you want a 'coffee white'? was the reply. Yeah I suppose I did. I got a cup of warm milk with some brown flakes floating on the top. Not sure what I ended up drinking.
    I think my life is one 'Monty Python' skit after another.
    You are doing an excellent blog and I hope more folks check out your site. Happy writing.
    With respect and good wishes, Gary:-)

  14. Hello 'Mr. Stupid',
    Thanks for your comment. It comes as no surprise to me that you use your fingers.
    I thought you were supposed to eat 'french fries' (chips) with a fork? lol. Next thing you know; we will be expected to eat soup with a spoon:-)
    Thanks, my friend and I hope you have a great day.
    With respect, Gary:-)

  15. Greetings bazza,
    Thanks for your interesting response.
    You do bring up some very good points. Since the time that travel has been cheaper; standards for food and for that matter, lodgings, have raised themselves to a higher standard. Amenities that were the norm in, for example, North America, are pretty well standard here now.
    I wanted to note that you do a highly informative blog and it is a pleasure to visit your site.
    With respect, Gary

  16. Hi lifeshighway,
    Very good. I personally stay well clear of the 'Bakewell Tart':-)
    Thank you and happy blogging on your excellent site.
    With respect and a bit of 'bubble and squeak', Gary :-)

  17. Dear Gary,
    I don't know, us English sure are a queer bunch (no clever comments please). In fact, I don't know whether you know the movie, but the scenario you tell of in your blog sounds a bit like the scene in "American Werewolf in London", where the two Americans go in to a country pub and all of a sudden the talky atmosphere turns to dead silence.
    Anyway, I'm sure our coffee isn't that bad! Nor our teeth, which seem to have the reputation in the States of often being rotten. Did you know they call us, or used to call us, "limeys" over there too, on account of the fact that we used to consume limes when sailing to stave off scurvy!
    Anyway Gary, a most well observed post about what it is like to be a "Canadian in Stoke-on-Trent". And now I feel a song coming on. Best go.
    With Very Best Wishes,
    P.S. If you want to read my most recent blog on self-help, it is actually printed underneath "The Soloist- A Palinode". The reason for this is that I actually started it as a draft before the "Soloist" one, so it has been printed after it, instead of in front of. Thought you might like to know as my new blog is coming up on your list as being printed at a very much earlier date. Phew! I hope that explains it.

  18. Hilarious story, Gary. Now that's a mighty strict restaurant where they want you to eat a pizza with a knife and fork. The only time I eat one, with utensils, is when I feel I'm taking a risk of getting 2rd degree burns on my fingers from a piping hot slice.

    I would have to pass on the Spotted Dick, Worty Pussy or the pizza without any toppings. But, at least with the plain old pizza you chose, you stand a chance of not catching something that would give you the pukes and shits all night long.

    I would definitely have to ask the waiter what the hell is in a "Toad in A Hole". Or at least show me a picture. I wonder what kind of hole are they talking about. The kind with hair or without? Sounds sick and wacky to me. I'll pass.

  19. Oh, just too funny. My very British mother-in-law would have loved this, though she had no pizza or pasta ever allowed in her house. She maintained her British customs till she passed away several years ago at the age of 90.

    For me, I always watch eating carbs, so when my husband wants pizza, I will take a slice or two and scrape everything off the crust and eat it. Still good!

  20. Dear David,
    Would I stoop to childish obvious responses to your 'queer bunch' statement? Of course I wouldn't. Did you know? some of my best friends are cigarettes? (have you worked that one out?)
    I have seen that movie and I do know about that scene in the film. I walk into places and I get this eerie silence. Hmmm.
    I think that the coffee over here is really quite good. There are even some decent instant brands.
    Teeth? What teeth?
    That reference to 'limey' is a very well known expression and the supposed history behind it.
    'I'm an alien ,I'm a legal alien, a Canadian in Stoke on Trent..'
    I, somehow, worked out what happened with your blog postings, David. Not sure how I did but I did.
    Thanks for a brilliant response.
    Yours with very best wishes, Gary.

  21. Hi 'anonymous',
    Thanks for that. Glad you thought it was funny.
    Kind wishes, Gary :-)

  22. Hey Kelly,
    It aint quite like that anymore. There are folks who do use a knife and fork to eat pizza. Each to his own. But I do wonder why it is pre-sliced when they could just rip it to bits with their utensils.
    As a special treat, just for you, friend, I'm sending a special order your way of, 'Cock A Leekie' soup, 'Toad in the Hole', for your pal, 'Toadie' and some treacle pudding for your kinky moments:-)
    Thanks Kelly and keep going with your varied and clever blog.
    With respect and some 'bubble and squeak', Gary :-)

  23. Hi Cher,
    Your very British Mother-in-law would probably have served up a traditional Sunday lunch of roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots, gravy, and a Yorkshire pudding. Then perhaps a trifle for dessert.
    I like your idea about scraping off the pizza. Especially over here, where I just cannot get used to the idea of having 'corn' or as it's called, in Britain, 'sweetcorn', on a pizza. Oh well.
    Thanks Cher. Must come over and visit your superb blog.
    With respect and pickled onions, your way, Gary :-)

  24. Oh goodie! Toadie is hopping with joy! Toadie said he is making an extra special culinary delight with his own hands just for you, as well. I'll give you a one word hint as to what it is:


    Sir, may I pass on the leaky cock soup, holey toad and tentacle pudding? I'm full. Thanks for thinking of me, though. It's much appreciated.

    Have a wonderful day, Gary!

  25. Hello Kelly,
    You cannot imagine how relieved I am that 'Toadie' is hopping happy. I mean you wouldn't want to upset Toadie:-)
    And speaking of relieved; it seems that Toadie is...
    Absolutely, Kelly, pass on the rest of that fine British cuisine to your startled friends and loved ones.
    Be warned, we are sending over some 'Marmite':-)
    Thanks, Friend. With respect and a bag of cheese n' onion crisps, Gary

  26. Thanks Suzanne. Shall we tell them about deep-fried 'Mars' bars? :-)
    Have a nice weekend, Suzanne.
    Kind wishes, Gary x

  27. Good idea - but I'd keep quiet about the deep fried pizzas.

  28. I promise to keep that a secret lol

  29. I once made a pop of tea for my visiting grandmother. She gasped, then proceeded to show me how to make tea the proper way. She would have loved to accompany you on your first outing.

    One day I happened to be invited to a party at an American's home living in Mexico. I asked questions about his house. They fell on the floor laughing. Turned out that my pronunciation of HOUSE was quite hilarious.

    House, house, house, house, house, house. I still don't get it.

    This was lovely. Thank you, Gary.

  30. Hi Joylene,
    I can just visualise your grandmother demonstrating how tea is supposed to be made. Apparently, it is all very scientific:-)
    In regards to 'house'. Perhaps they misheard what you were saying based on your Canadian accent. I could speculate what they thought you might have been pronouncing. One guess is that they thought you were saying the word 'hose'. Which could border on being somewhat of an innuendo. Of course, this is pure speculation:-)
    Thanks Joylene for your amusing comment.
    Have a lovely Easter. Kind wishes, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.