When moving to a new country (as you do), you expect to get presented with new food. Whether it’s interesting ways of cooking fish (Norway), soft biscuits (Russia), fifty shades of rice (Japan) or pumpkin pie (America), there’s always something that stands out as different. Of course, some countries have many more of these than others. Norway starts running out after brunost, reindeer and herring for breakfast, but Japan could keep you going for years. Not to mention the odd local willing to play a game of “Gross out the Gaijin” if he thinks you think you’re getting a bit too localised.
England, though, is definitely on the tame side of this scale. There’s crumpets and faggots. Spotted dick and toad-in-the-hole. And that’s probably about it. Unless you include Wales and Scotland, in which case you can add Laver bread and Haggis.
But still, even after having been here for two years, occasionally something new pops up that gives me a little surprise. Most recently it was Soreen, which I was introduced to on the cycle trip. This is a malt bread, sold in a loaf about 2x3x8 (inches, that is). You slice it (unless you’ve forked out the extra quid for a pre-sliced loaf), lop on loads of butter, put the slices back together in pairs, and stick it back in the packet. Then it’s ready to go with you.
The result is a dark, tough, chewy doughy sort of stuff. It’s a bit fruity, a bit yeasty perhaps, but wonderfully edible. You can chew and suck it for ages before it finally gives up and lets you swallow it. It’s the only product I know which uses the word “squidgy” to describe itself, and considers it a positive term.
I love it. And not just because it knocks the stuffing out of faggots.