Forget British. Define English.
The perennial ex-pat and honorary Yank Christopher Hitchens
may not be the best Englishman to define it - though his embarrassingly reactionary brother Peter
is even less suited - but at least he has a go. For everyone else in the world, there are the Scottish, the Welsh, even the Northern Irish - all strong nationalities in their own right, each one older and more culturally solid than the slightly French, slightly German and slightly Dutch English. So why persist, in this post-imperialist day and age, in the myth of the Brit? If it is
a myth. Americans, whether from the U.S. or Canada, certainly continue to buy into it. Or is it, for the rest of the world, too dangerous for the English - with devolution raging - to find their own, muddied identity? Think of those football hooligans and their grotesque politics, St.George face-masks and flags. (Via Arts And Letters Daily.
How To Say Yes (Or No) To British Food:
Apart from the language barrier (ably demolished by Mike Etherington
's magnificent online dictionary
), British food has a dreadful reputation
all over the world. Yet people who try it, whatever their nationality, often find they enjoy it. If it's properly
made, that is. Enter Helen Watson
's impeccable and ethnically correct recipes
. And those who can't be bothered to cook can always plump for the many ready-made goodies
(and some real stinkers) now offered by internet mail order firms. The most promising has got to be, with over 2,500 goodies, the FBC Brit Shop
. Unfortunately it's based in Japan and will only start delivering in September. The best of the rest is probably yummy British Delights
. My mother's English so I'm obviously biased, but aren't a lot of people missing out on the unique gastronomic charms of the good old United K? Oh yes
![FBC link pilfered from the Boing Boing larder.