February 21, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!

Fortnum and Mason's -- words for the foodie to conjure by surely. What's not to love about a place that has half a floor devoted to different kinds of tea?

The bottom floor has wines, cheeses, meats, and various other items. They also have samples out, which my children always enjoy whether they are in Sam's Club or Fortnum and Mason's. We checked out some of the interesting merchandise and when I was pointing out the various kinds of jerky at the meat counter to the children and remarking that they called in Billabong, the clerk offered the kids a sample of whichever Billabong they wished to try. My children are sometimes more adventurous than their mother. They all wish for a taste of the ostrich jerky, which they inform me was delicious. Some things I can't quite bring myself to put in my mouth.

Later on, we noticed the shelves where they kept lollipops with worms in them, toasted ants and chocolate covered ants and scorpions. Big meanie that I am, I wouldn't buy any for the children, which the eight year old regrets and reminds me of still. He's hoping to get back to the store again, so he can spend his own money on a sample. If he gets there, I'll try not to be sick while he snarfs up scorpion.

What I did buy was far more tame. A local spicy ginger beer, which we still haven't tried, and a couple of boxes of tea -- Rose Pouchong, an aromatic tea with a distinct rose flavor, and Keemun, a light tea that goes quite well with a spot of milk.

I was going to take the kids out for a shared ice cream sundae at one of the restaurants, but my grumpy child objected to the idea of sharing, and while I hated to deprive the rest of us of the treat, I also didn't want to spend large sums of money on ice cream that was causing a grouch fest from the small set. We did without and are none the worse for it, I expect.

Next door to Fortnum and Mason's is Hatchard's. One of those very old bookstores one reads about frequently in Regency romance novels. Sadly, it was just a bookstore like any other bookstore. Lots of books, but nothing terribly different from any other bookstore any where else -- just a lot more expensive, given the state of the dollar compared to the pound. I'd already bought books elsewhere, so this was mostly a looking tour, though I did cave and buy a comic book called Lucky Luke that is written by one of the authors of Asterix.

Home again! Home again! The next day it was time to see the place where the Brits store all the souvenirs they've picked up on their various Continental and African tours.


Ahhh, Lucky Luke. Good choice, and there is much to learn about those no-good Dalton brothers. I imagine Rin-tin-can was a big hit as well.

Posted by: skinnydan at February 21, 2008 07:11 AM

I expect Fortnam's is the model for the legendary Duff & Trotter's that turns up many times in P.G. Wodehouse's works.

Posted by: Robbo the Llama Butcher at February 21, 2008 10:04 AM

You have struck a chord with me. Excuse a stranger for the nostalgia. In my family we grew up reading and watching "All Creatures Great and Small." The hampers that Mrs. Pumphrey sent from F&M always seemed so elegant that we always dreamed of being sent one by a non-existent wealthy relative. Nearly eight years ago (when you couldn't order such things over the internet), while studying abroad, I stopped in and had a hamper sent to my parents for their anniversary from my siblings and I. It seemed to us the crowning moment of our adolescence and it was not much less of a novelty to our delighted parents. Thanks for the great memory.

Posted by: mary at February 21, 2008 10:16 AM

Ostrich jerky. Clunk.

Posted by: dcrmom at February 22, 2008 04:21 PM

Although you will notice that I did not try it, I will say compared to toasted ants, ostrich jerky sounds positively edible.

Posted by: Jordana at February 22, 2008 04:29 PM

yay! Food! LOVE Ginger beer- it's got a kick. Mark swears he wants to try those lollipops when we go to the states this summer. Whatever.

I've heard ostrich tastes like beef, don't know- it looks like it. Why is it gross? It's just like...I don't know- uber-chicken or something, lol.

Loving these updates!!

Posted by: Cheryl at February 23, 2008 02:13 PM