I’ve gotten to try many new foods since being here. Carol and Graham have been eager to get me a taste of authentic Scottish foods. Some foods that I have gotten to try are:
Fish and Chips. A staple, here. A well-known fact (yes even thought its well-known I’m telling you anyway) is that here in the UK, our fries are their chips, and our chips are their crisps. Now you know.
Also, it was delicious.
Here’s another that people were convinced I wouldn’t try: haggis (a mixture of lamb heart, lung, meat and oatmeal cooked inside a lamb’s stomach). When I replied to the question with a cheery, “Of course,” people got a disgusted look on their face. I don’t know about you, but I got the tail end of our grandparent’s generation’s style of cooking. Heart, liver, gizzard and all, chopped into the gravy. It’s just the old-fashioned method of using all of the animal.
But anyway, here’s proof it happened:
And while we’re on that topic…
I tried a little black pudding (a nice blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavourings – and pig blood). It’s really not bad, pretty spicy and hardy-and not anything like Jello. Carol was bound and determined to serve it to me. I, of course, was determined to try anything. We made a perfect match. She bought it for me to have for breakfast the next morning. I wondered downstairs and in my sleepy stooper I fixed my normal breakfast, at which she was quite alarmed. “You forgot your black pudding!” Indeed I did. I insisted I still had room. I did walk away with a stomach ache for half the day, but that might have been the train ride.
Carol and Graham kept telling me that if I wanted to fix anything American, I was welcome to. But of course I thought, is there anything that America does that is really actually unique? Everything we do we’ve stolen from another culture (pasta, pizza, curry, stir fry) or just wasn’t worth preparing for my host family (hot dogs, hamburgers, bleh bleh bleh…). Then finally, I thought if I can’t make them American, I’ll give them Mexico!
Smothered burritos it is.
Granted green chili, it appears, is a strictly Colorado thing. Roasted green chiles chopped up and simmered down with onion, garlic, tomato and tomatillo and eaten plain or smothered all over a burrito. It’s one of my favorites.
But when I presented it to my host family they looked at me without recognition of what I was saying.
“Perfect,” I thought.
Carol had no idea what a burrito was; Graham had a slight clue. Apparently they have fajitas over here. But of course no uniquely Coloradan smothered burrito. They were about as excited as if I had proposed eating porridge for dinner. “Must be one of those things like haggis,” Carol said.
So off we went to the store. There I found barely a sign of spicy peppers. There were bags of three chiles in one, two red and one green, and a bag of very tiny green chiles (not exactly what is ideal.) So I went with the only hot pepper there was, six in all, and bought some over sized sweet peppers seeing everything that I’ve tasted here listed as “hot” is barely on the radar. I figured I’d be nice.
Not to mention that, when I sent Graham off to find “refried beans” he came back with a mexican mix of beans. Yeesh. At least they had tortillas. I conceded to make it from scratch and we took off.
I’ve made green chili before from scratch, but I had to roast these guys myself. So I started after a brief snack and an online reminder of the ingredients.
This is what happened:
Yeah, not exactly green, but still pretty delicious! And not too hot.
And as for the refried beans from scratch:
Not exactly from pure pinto beans. I ended up throwing some kidney beans in because we needed more than one can’s worth. And I made it with olive oil instead of lard because, well, Graham-the haggis man-was freaked out by eating lard. Hey, we all have our hang ups. Still, it was pretty good, I have to say.
And all this to become:
A smothered burrito! A lot of work to make an authentic food, but it was worth it. Graham couldn’t get enough, and I dare say Carol liked it as well. Graham had two helpings, and was eager to have the left overs the next night. I am so happy I got to share my love of smothered burritos with them, and so glad they no longer live in a world without burritos.