9 culinary lessons learned in London (for the home cook)

One cannot expect to immerse oneself in a foreign food culture for five days straight and not have an epiphany or two afterward.

Not surprisingly, our trip to London in May was almost exclusively about the food. I observed and absorbed everything from their café culture to street market and restaurant trends. I ate and walked and ate again. I stocked up on UK food magazines for the plane ride home to continue my education.

Why? Well, while research and culinary inspiration were strong motivations for my exploration, I was also genuinely curious about what the Brits were still into (scones and clotted cream, Sunday roast), obsessing over (toast, cider), trend watching (whole bowls, ferments) and doing really well (sausage rolls, cake).

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London eats: a recap

So Danny and I are back from a fantastic extended long weekend in London, England. It was everything we had hoped for and much more, largely in part to the beautiful weather that seemed to put a spring into our (many, many) steps.

I’ve promised a recap of where we ate – because this is the real reason why we travel, is it not? Sure we saw the Rosetta Stone, straddled the Prime Meridian and breathed in the scent of roses in the White Garden, but it was the incredible variety in our meals that left us weak in the knees.

For the most part, we visited cafés and restaurants that we wouldn’t necessarily frequent with kids in tow. A family visit to London is in the works, and then we will certainly frequent the bustling Borough Market for meat pies and take advantage of the kid’s menu at Jamie’s Italian.

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British hospitality and an event with Jamie Oliver

London Bridge in the fog. The view from the galleries of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Cheery Christmas markets. Mince pies from Harrods.

I pondered every little detail of my recent trip to London, as I tossed and turned, draped over two airplane seats. Flying over the ocean for hours on end, I finally summed it up in one word: hospitality.

The British have had a long-standing reputation for being polite, but everything my sister and I experienced went far and above common courtesy. It was enough to leave a lasting impression, and oddly enough, made me understand my dad’s preoccupation with good manners.

It started at the airport, receiving friendly assistance as we sorted out the public transportation to central London. (If you’re taking notes, buy the Oyster card and hop on the Piccadilly line.)

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