I know we have been seeing a lot of bad news, conflict, and general mess wherever we go lately. I am not trying to trivialize any of it, but I just want to offer the virtual form of the British panacea to show that there are still bits of comfort still there in the world to be cherished.
Pretend it is coffee, if you don’t like tea. I aim to please. You can look up pictures of your favorite biscuits to go with it.
Lunchtime in West Harrison, Indiana provided an opportunity to check off a box on my national culinary list. Yes, folks, it was a stop at Skyline Chili.
Of course, The Boffin and The Sprog were most of the way toward the restaurant while I was faffing around with this picture of Horace. To my pleasant surprise, the manager came out and told me, “Go on! Get in there!”. How could I say no?
So, what is special about Skyline Chili? Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati institution. Nicholas Lambrinides, a Greek immigrant, opened the first Skyline Chili in 1949 and named the restaurant after the view of the city’s skyline.
And it is not just about the tastiness of the chili. Of course, you can get a bowl of chili, chili dogs, and chili fries. But, the grotesquely American dish on offer is a 3-way which is chili and a megaton of cheese on top of spaghetti. The Sprog and I chose that option after the drug pushers gave us free samples.
The Boffin got the 4-way which means you get the above with the addition of either beans or onions. He chose beans. He only mildly hates us. If he truly hated us, he would have gotten the 5-way with beans and onions.
The oyster crackers seen above are a Skyline tradition. They actually are good at counterbalancing the heat.
This meal will probably kill me, but I will die happy.
It’s the time of the year when many people are fortunate enough to receive tins of chocolates. But the truth of it is that most of us cave and buy them in November even though we have piles of Halloween candy left over. At least, that is the way it works Stateside.
Well, the Nestlé Quality Street tin is one of the British national favorites and is available year round. John Mackintosh first started making his toffees in his sweet shop in Halifax, West Yorkshire back in 1890. His business grew so much that he opened his factory in 1898. Unfortunately, it burned down in 1909, and Mr. Mackintosh ended up buying an old carpet factory and started again. To make a long story short, after Mr. Mackintosh’s death, his son, Harold, inherited the business, and rebranded the toffees as Quality Street after a J.M. Barrie play. It was a play off the words, “Quality Sweet”. Nestlé bought Rowntree Mackintosh in 1988 and have maintained its deliciousness ever since.
As you can see from the French text, I imported ours from Canada with the custard powder. There was a reason for this. They had the tall tin. The tall tin is very important. The tall tin has the ever important guide. We got the wide tin last year, and it didn’t have one. Being that I am the American, I still don’t have the wrapper colors memorized, and I didn’t want to keep bothering The Boffin. (“Which one is the green one again?”)
The only other option is to get this tattooed on my arm.
Secondly, the tall tin is a good lesson in sharing for The Sprog because it forces her not to hog her favorite chocolates and leave the rest for us. As you can see from the opening, it prevents the person from rifling through to hunt for the “good” ones.
And we can easily catch anyone who dumps the tin out. Because someone who hogs one particular kind of chocolate is a nobhead. And the worst thing is if you are left with the one chocolate that nobody likes because the others hogged the good ones. We don’t want our daughter to be a nobhead. We are a family. Family means being kind to each other and sharing the good chocolates.
And with that notion, I hope your friends and family share the good chocolates with you too.
I ordered Horne’s custard powder from Canada, and, to all the Britons out there, no, The Boffin is not starting divorce proceedings. To the Americans out there, custard powder is a staple within the U.K. and many Commonwealth countries because custard is either served by itself, primarily to children, or it is served with so many desserts the same way you would with whipped cream or ice cream. It is much quicker and easier to make than traditional custard because you don’t have to worry about curdled eggs. All you have to do is heat with milk.
It was first invented by a chemist named Alfred Bird of Swansea back in 1837 because his wife was allergic to eggs and couldn’t enjoy traditional custard. Mrs. Bird was a lucky lass, I say.
The British brand of choice is still Bird’s custard powder, and The Boffin still thinks it has a smoother, silkier mouth feel. However, we decided to pick up a tin of Horne’s when we visited Canada. I happen to like that brand better because it has vanilla, and it has four different starches which give it a fuller texture. So we decided to alternate tins. This is how an Anglo-American marriage works, folks. Neither side claims superiority.
Besides, Bird’s is better for making custard creams.
Regardless, the Canadian company where I bought the powder sent a fable with its packing slip. Service with a smile, so I thought I would pass it along.