I must have been out of my mind!
It’s the only explanation.
You may remember, when I went to the UK the last time, I was having a coffee with Best Mate and saw a croissant (brioche, here) that looked delicious.
I was thinking of the brioches that we have at our local café. What I got, of course, was the British equivalent, which is is no way equivalent except that they look similar. It was not fresh – out of the oven that morning but, rather, several days old. It was dreadful.
I had a lot to drink on Friday night. The next morning I was up early to catch the flight home. I needed coffee – even if I knew the coffee wouldn’t be that good.
After checking in, I went to find coffee. Costa Coffee in the departure lounge seemed the best bet. there was a queue – a long queue. The woman behind mentioned that she would like a bacon sandwich. Mmmmm, I thought. Yes a bacon sarnie would be just right.
I wait. The queue is NOT inching forward. Of course, there’s not a queue in an Italian bar but the staff are incredibly quick and they are, normally, very good at working out who’s next but, anyway, I’m used to it now so can usually get my coffee quite quickly.
I feel that some serious training, given by Italians to the British, would be useful. They are not slow – they are bloody useless. I look at my watch. My plane will be boarding in about 20 minutes. They finish serving the customer at the head of the queue. The queue inches forward. I count the number of people and realise that, at this speed, if I am lucky, I will get my coffee and bacon sarnie about 10 minutes after my plane has boarded.
Oh well, I think, I shall just go somewhere else.
I leave the queue.
The only somewhere else is Burger King or the pub.
I opt for Burger King. After all, I remember the burgers as quite good – well, better than McDonald’s anyway!
I look at their offerings. I wonder why we’ve always got to look up at these places.
They have a Bacon Butty. It includes egg, which I don’t really want and cheese, which I also don’t really want but, OK, I can eat it. I order cappuccino too. I pay £5 something. Normally, in our local bar, we pay €4.80 for two cappuccinos and two brioches. Ah well, who cares, I think.
I sit at the table and unwrap my Bacon Butty.
I will try to describe it.
First, it is small – no bigger than my palm. The bread is soft but not soft as in soft bread but more like hot bread that has been run under a tap. Soft in a wet sense. The egg is not, of course, a fried egg. Nor is it some scrambled egg. It is a burger made of an egg-like substance. I suppose you could say it was like scrambled egg except that it really isn’t.
The bacon is thin – but so thin it is thinner than Italians cut their meat. Wafers are thicker. It tastes of bacon.
I liberally spread tomato sauce over it all. I have to hold the bun carefully, just in case the wet bun starts to disintegrate with gravity. I am convinced that, if I squeezed the bun, I would get about a quarter of a pint of water from it.
It is vile and not really food but it is, perhaps and only perhaps, better than nothing.
The cappuccino is interesting. The froth on a cappuccino is supposed to be thick and creamy. It seems that, whoever has been learning about cappuccinos has heard the thick bit and accordingly, the froth is so thick that the plastic stirrer stands up. In fact, it is difficult to move it around. Well, at the end of it, it tastes vaguely like coffee.
I can’t forget the Bacon Butty though. The wet bun, the terrible egg, the whole experience.
But, I wonder at how the British people got to a stage where this was acceptable. Where slow service (Costa Coffee) and bad coffee and this Bacon Butty were considered to be acceptable. Indeed, where the Bacon Butty came to be considered food?
I don’t think I could go back and live in the UK, not least because of the food. I must have been out of my mind.