A Conversation for Salad Cream

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Post 1

Feffi (Keeper of playground sunbaths on even days)

smiley - fish


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Post 2

Blackbottle (in mourning - I shall wear midnight)

So Niz, how many people did you force, in the end, to read your Salad Cream article...? smiley - winkeye

<BB<


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Post 3

Bagpuss

I read it without compulsion.

Should I have admitted that?


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Post 4

The Russian Imp

I too read it without compulsion.
And the good thing is that, since it's now 10.45 on a Friday night, I know this is as sad as my life can get.
By the way, if Xantham gum is a good thing, why does it not exist in any natural state outside salad cream?


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Post 5

Captain Kebab

Another who has read this without compulsion, and I might add that salad cream with tomato ketchup on chips is marvellous. Also salad cream and chill sauce on a kebab is good. I've gone too far again, haven't I.

What is Xantham gum anyway? For that matter, what's a Xantham?


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Post 6

Steve K.

I can't help but mention how odd this sounds to those of us on the west side of the Atlantic, where ketchup on fries is considered the only acceptable behavior. The movie "Pulp Fiction" even played on the difference with a John Travolta line about mayo (or the substitute "salad dressing", as we call it) on fries in Europe - "Yeah, they drown 'em in that s**t!" We are moving away from ketchup, though not to salad cream or mayo - salsa has passed ketchup as the No. 1 condiment in the US.


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Post 7

Captain Kebab

I frequent a pub which used to sell a snack it called 'Chips and Dips'. This was a big bowl of chips (these weren't those thin and anaemic fries the burger chains sell - these were proper thick crispy chips) with 3 dips - mayonnaise, salsa and guacomole. One Friday night after working late I went straight out for a drink without my tea (as in dinner or supper or whatever you call your evening meal), and although it was past the time that food was normally served I prevailed on the landlord to make me some Chips and Dips.

He thought he'd have a laugh, and the dips I got were ketchup, salad cream and brown sauce. And yes, I had salt and vinegar on my chips. It was absolutely delicious! smiley - smiley


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Post 8

Steve K.

Well, the "chips" part I think I understand - to me, that means corn tortillas baked until they are crisp, but maybe you mean a potato snack? We have "Fish and Chips" here in Texas, meaning potato fries, but not nearly as good as in London (they are learning to have vinegar around, not just ketchup).

The tortilla chips are standard (free) appetizers in Mexican restaurants, meaning about half the restaurants in Texas. We've learned to make our own at home starting with corn tortillas (undoubtedly harder to find in the UK than in south Texas) and just baking them - a lot cheaper than the commercial products. Salsa and guacamole are the standard dips, I have never seen mayo ... At home, we buy salsa (picante sauce) by the gallon.

You'll have to help me with "brown sauce", I recall someone here on H2G2 describing it, but I've forgotten ...


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Post 9

Captain Kebab

Chips in Britain are what Americans would call fries - deep fried 'fingers' of potatoes. From what I've seen of American style fries, however, (and all I've seen is what MacDonalds, Burger King and Kentucky Fried sell over here), British chips are cut a lot thicker, and are therefore, to my taste, more 'potatoey'.

Technically, if you sell something here described as 'fries' they can be any deep-fried vegetable, whereas chips, I believe, have to be potato based. Tortilla chips are readily available here, but what Americans call potato chips are called crisps in England.

Brown sauce - this is a bottled condiment, similar in consistency to ketchup, but based on mixed fruits (it's not revealed which fruits), spices, sugar and vinegar. It is quite sharp tasting, yet also with some sweetness, and not surprisingly it's fruity. It's difficult to describe, maybe somebody more articulate will help me out. Chocolate brown in colour, the two main brands in the UK are HP Sauce and Daddies Sauce.

I'm digressing again here, but it goes really well with a bacon sandwich. When you buy one (you'd ask for a bacon barm around these parts) you would expect to be offered 'red or brown sauce' - ie ketchup or brown sauce. You wouldn't have both. Lettuce and tomato would not be part of the deal, although sausages, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes and fried eggs may well be. Not very healthy, but tasty.

By the way, something which would probably be totally lost on anybody who isn't English is that salsa, guacomole and mayonnaise are seen as more 'upmarket' than ketchup, salad cream or brown sauce. I think that this is because they are not 'home-grown' and are therefore seen as more exotic, although I always thought that ketchup was originally an American idea.

Either way, the latter three are viewed as more 'blue collar' condiments. When I type that it looks ridiculous, but it's true.


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Post 10

Blackbottle (in mourning - I shall wear midnight)

I'd agree with that comment about salsa, guacomole and mayonnaise - I'd never dream of eating them as a matter of pride - ketchup and salad cream is good enough for me. smiley - biggrin
And taste better, too. smiley - winkeye

(A not-snobby in any way Bluebottle)


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Post 11

Steve K.

Right, American "fries" are in general bad, meaning fast food places like MacDonalds which I'm sure uses frozen fries. But a "real" restaurant might have great fries, including "skins-on" IMHO. The chips in British pubs are way up on my list (okay, I just like British pubs). I don't recall any non-potato "fries" on our one trip a few years back, but maybe I just didn't ask - sounds interesting.

I have had excellent potato chips (crisps), but they did not come in a bag from the supermarket, they were homemade.

Brown sauce sounds like what we would call in the US "steak sauce", like maybe "A-1 Steak Sauce" from Heinz. I personally love it with steak, and there are lots of small specialty brands available. A variation is barbecue sauce, used mostly for grilled meat - sausage, brisket, chicken. More tomatoey, it also has varieties from the bourbon companies, like "Ancient Age" and "Jack Daniels" - about 3% bourbon, its got a little "kick" (very little).

The reference to fried sausages, eggs, & tomatoes reminds me of our stay at a low cost hotel near the British Museum. Breakfast was included, and it was delicious - agreed not healthy, but we were only there for about ten days, I decided my heart could take it smiley - smiley .

Interesting about salsa and guacomole being "upscale". Mexican restaurants are generally not upscale here in Texas, but the owner at one of our favorites tells me their "green sauce" (with guacamole and other expensive ingredients, he says) costs them a lot. Mayonnaise does cost more than salad dressing (I guess the same as "salad cream"), but my wife only insists on "real" mayo for certain recipes.

I hope this doesn't sound like a typical "Ugly American", but we had visitors from East Germany after the wall came down, they were surprised that you could have all the ketchup you wanted at a fast food restaurant. So "blue collar condiment" is kind of relative. I love ketchup smiley - smiley .


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Post 12

Captain Kebab

You're right that 'blue collar condiment' is relative, Steve. Brown sauce and salad cream are definitely working class. Ketchup, however is quite complex from the point of view of class - an English obsession.

If you go to a cheap privately owned cafe, such as a transport cafe, or one of the more downmarket cafes in a shopping street in the poorer end of town (commonly referred to as a 'greasy spoon') you will normally find ketchup (and brown sauce) provided on the tables in squeezy plastic bottles, or in tacky plastic tomatoes. These will often have a crust of dried ketchup on the nozzle. Yeurgh, you really wanted to know that! smiley - sadface

Moving swiftly onwards and upwards, chain cafes like MacDonalds - not just burger places but restaurants in that market through Little Chefs and Happy Eaters to the large pub/restaurant chains provide ketchup along with other condiments in little sachets which are often imposssible to tear open and contain enough runny ketchup for one chip.

Middle market restaurants who wish to give a good impression may provide ketchup in little pots with spoons (which in my view is irredeemably naff - they generally also go in for the salsa and guacamole routine). I'm hoping here that the fact you've visited London and the context will enable you to understand the term 'naff' because I'm not sure I can explain it.

Proper posh restaruants don't provide ketchup - in fact I think that one of our more poncified celebrity chefs once famously ejected a customer for asking for it, although I may have got that wrong, it might have been the salt. It's a good story either way, I guess.

I never thought when I read the original article that there was so much to sauce! smiley - smiley


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Post 13

Captain Kebab

And I''m willing to bet that Bluebottle doesn't like ketchup in a little pot with a spoon either.


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Post 14

Steve K.

Captain Kebab -

My wife and I don't eat in posh restaurants anymore, her father passed away a few years back so there's nobody to pay for it. So pretty much every place we eat has ketchup - except the Mexican restaurants with salsa.

"Naff" is new to me - I had to ask the Australians folks on the cricket discussion what a "pom" was. We were only in London for about ten days, we survived with a phrase book. smiley - smiley


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Post 15

Captain Kebab

Steve -

Aha - 'naff' is in my dictionary! It says 'inferior, worthless, vulgar, socially crass'. Amaze your friends with your knowledge of naff English slang!

I don't think you miss much by not eating in posh restaurants - not that I do it often but I've often felt that the main difference is in the decor and the tableware. I've always found that the best value and best tasting food is to be found in pubs - especially out of town. Also if you prefer beer to wine as I do, then there is no contest. Pubs and beers vary but you can see what's on offer on the bar - beer in restaurants, where it is offered at all, is invariably overpriced and, well, naff! smiley - smiley

Incidentally, I've never before come across an American who is anything other than bewildered by cricket - I am profoundly stirred! smiley - smiley


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Post 16

Steve K.

My Texas friends got a smile out of my story about buying beer in a restaurant. They had two prices, domestic (Budweiser, etc.) and import (Heinekin, etc.). I enjoy Shiner Bock which is made in Shiner, Texas. Of course, it was priced as an import - not even from out of state!

I am only barely beyond the "bewildered" status on cricket, and that is after a year or so of intense training here on H2G2. I mean, they bounce the ball ... our local baseball pitchers do that occasionally, but it is considered sort of naff smiley - smiley


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Post 17

Captain Kebab

It's the Belgian lagers which tend to cost a packet here - it's worth it though. American beers which are available tend to be the mass market ones, Budweiser and Miller. I'm more into English ales - but I'm fussy about where I drink, too many pubs don't serve a decent pint of real ale.

It is perfectly acceptable to be bewildered by cricket - the England Test team frequently is (although it has to be said they've improved a bit lately).

It's absolutely worth your while to try to listen to the BBC Radio coverage of Test cricket. The TV stuff and radio summaries won't do, you need the uninterrupted coverage. Try visiting www.bbc.co.uk to find out when and where to find it - I don't know if they broadcast online. If not, you can pick up BBC World Service almost anywhere - I think they carry cricket.

The commentators and summarisers are incredibly knowledgeable about the game, and have a mission to explain, yet they have mastered the art of commentating on a game where nothing much happens for long periods by wittering on about chocolate cakes and all sorts of trivia. My wife loves to listen even though she hates cricket!

Incidentally, just to prove that I know which conversation I'm in, cucumber sandwiches with salad cream washed down with a pint are just the job when watching cricket. smiley - smiley


Salad Cream & Curly Sandwiches?

Post 18

Steve K.

Ahh ... sandwiches at cricket matches is something else I've learned a little about here on H2G2. I had to ask about "curly sandwiches", the response as I recall was that they were made early in the day so some parts curled up by "tea time" (I think its called - I had to ask about that way early in the discussion). So are these the sandwiches with the salad cream? Maybe I'll order a curly sandwich with salad cream at the baseball game - they'd give me a hot dog with mustard anyway, it doesn't matter what you order ... smiley - smiley


Salad Cream & Curly Sandwiches?

Post 19

Captain Kebab

Yes - these are the same sandwiches. Salad cream isn't compulsory (and you can have it anywhere you'd have mayonnaise) I just happen to think it's a good idea.

Now, take a deep breath. smiley - smiley

Tea time is around 5 o'clock in the evening, but nobody eats at that time of day. In cricket they 'take tea' rather earlier - I think it's around 4.00ish, but there's no doubt some arcane law regarding the time of the year and the number of overs bowled. Of course, tea at cricket is really afternoon tea with sandwiches, which is not the same thing as afternoon tea at a cafe which involves scones with jam and cream and tea (the drink). Tea, in my family (and many others - it's not just me being weird) is the evening meal which is eaten at dinner time. I have my dinner at lunch time. When we go out for a meal in the evening, that's going out for dinner, if we go out in the middle of the day we are having lunch.

I bet you're sorry you ever mentioned this. This may shed some light on Ford Prefect's comment in the Hitchhikers Guide that time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so. smiley - smiley


Salad Cream & Curly Sandwiches?

Post 20

Captain Kebab

On reflection, perhaps that hot dog is a better idea. smiley - winkeye


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