While Delia Smith has been sorting out all those British can't-cook-won't-cooks, she has nothing to say to all those North American expats who would dearly love to rustle up some Kraft Dinner - if only they had some.
Enter Delora Jones who has written the cookbook for expats living in the UK.
Okay, so she's not a Canadian. She still knows what to do with a bag of Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows (turn them into a pan of Rice Krispies treats, of course) or a jar of Jiff peanut butter.
Though Jones has been cooking all her life and loving it, the love affair cooled temporarily when she landed in the UK in the early 1990s.
"I was always fascinated by the differences between North America and the UK," says Jones. "But once I moved here and tried to get groceries and cook, it wasn't so fascinating anymore. It was frustrating." . . .
"I'd ask 'Where is it?' meaning something as simple as shortening and they'd answer, 'What is it?'" recalls Jones.
. . . it took Jones five years to crack the code for successfully translating American recipes into British recipes. Which is harder than it sounds because it involves converting measurements, finding substitute ingredients and buying new baking tins as the North American tins are too large for standard British cookers.
The result was two cookbooks. American Cooking in England and The Pocketbook Guide to American Cooking in England which are musts for expat North Americans and for every Englishwoman who has ever bought an American or Canadian cookbook and struggled to translate the ingredients and measurements into plain English. . . .
following excerpts are from an article by Genevra Jones (no relation),
THEY say the Americans and the English are two peoples separated by a common language.
For Delora Jones, an expat Yank living in Burton, that's only too true. . . .
It's taken Delora five years to sort out the major differences between the Americans and the English -- at least when it comes to cooking. Now she's set to reveal the results of her intensive and detailed research -- with her own book.
"There is a major problem," says Delora, cutting up thick, rich gungy squares of peanut butter fudge in her warm, untidy, unstructured Burton kitchen with its views onto another row of terraced houses, and an apple tree in the back yard.
"In Spain, I could simply ask, 'Como se dice en Ingles . . .?' because I would know the word I heard was unfamiliar.
But here the words are familiar, and newly arrived Americans fool themselves into thinking they understand."
"They don't," says Delora, who was once led away from the fruit and veg counter to the soft drinks section of her British supermarket when she asked for squash.
"But though we can muddle through most trans-Atlantic language differences, accuracy is critical where cooking and shopping for food are concerned," she says . . . "I needed to know before setting off for the market what an item was called here, where to find it, and whether it's even available here. I didn't want every grocery trip to be a treasure hunt, and yet without some means of translation, that is what I faced."
So Delora, a bright, funny, fast-talking woman, in a soft, dark blue flecked velour sloppy joe,* decided to find a solution . . . "I wished someone would write a book about it -- after all, I couldn't be the only one who needed this -- and besides, how did British cooks decipher American cookbooks?"
. . . The germ of an idea was born . . . "Luckily" she says in that soft American voice that has so far resisted any Anglification of accent: "I had a friend in Oregon who'd self-published a book two years ago."
She rang and buried her under an onslaught of questions. Ninety minutes later she'd decided to go ahead and publish and be damned.
*Delora's note: In British English, a sloppy joe is a casual type of jumper** (this use of the term is more common in Australia than in England, though); in American English a sloppy joe is a dish made from ground [minced] beef, onions, green pepper, and ketchup or tomato soup, and served open-faced on hamburger buns. It's messy to eat, and sloppy in appearance, hence its name. I was wearing the British one.
** Delora's 2nd note: The article of clothing referred to in England as a jumper would, in the US, be called a pullover or sweater, depending on its fabric. In the US, a jumper is a type of sleeveless dress, sometimes worn with a shirt underneath.
The following excerpts are from an article by Julia Furay, which appeared in The American (London). Article excerpts reprinted by kind permission of The American.
You're getting used to London. You've mastered the Tube. The half-price ticket booth? No problem. But there's one major obstacle to overcome before you feel confident enough to make it in England.
The grocery store.
Where's the corn syrup? Are the butter beans the same as lima beans? What's 45 grams equal to? How much is a kilocalorie?
Delora Jones had the same problem. When she moved to England in the early 1990s, she discovered that the grocery store was a major problem for a cooking fan like herself.
"I knew there were differences, but I hadn't prepared myself for the first shopping trip I went on," Jones said. "For one thing, I expected the packaging to be the same. I needed shortening, I was looking for something like Crisco, in a round tin. But the shortening here isn't called shortening, it's in a box, and it's refrigerated."
Jones searched for a reference book to help her adjust to English cooking -- and shopping -- methods. She couldn't find one. So she decided to write one herself.
American Cooking in England is her guide translating the terms used in American cooking to those used in England. There are two versions; the original, larger version, and a pocketbook guide -- a sort of pocket dictionary for food. Both books include a food name section, translating the terms from American to English, as well as a section explaining measurements. The larger, complete guide also contains recipes, and both contain a shopping guide.
Ms Jones has done her homework: the food name section is thoroughly researched and might prove helpful to anyone interested in cooking, British or American.
Mushroom lasagne, pecan pie, chicken salad sandwiches, Rice Krispies TreatsŪ -- all of these are common recipes in the US. But all are either unavailable or substantially different in the UK, so Jones has included a recipe for each, listing both English and American ingredients.