Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bacon Rolls!

I have had many introductions since arriving in England to new foods...or at least new words for foods :-)
As said...there have been many.  And you will continue to hear more about them, I'm sure.  But for is one that really surprised me :-)

Shortly after I arrived in England, my husband and I had the pleasure of spending time with a couple that he has been friends with for a while and who I am now happy to count as my friends as well. 
We had a lovely dinner with them and two of their daughters.  I taught them how to eat like an American (knife in right hand, fork in left, cut food, put down knife, switch fork to right hand, take bite…repeat).  In Europe you eat with the knife in your dominant hand, for most of us this is the right, and the fork in your other hand for the entire meal.  The knife is not only used to cut, but also to assist in scooping food onto the fork.  Everyone at the table, including myself, of course thought that was weird and didn’t make much sense.  And really, it’s not very efficient.  One of the girls did point out that the American method had one merit…it did make you eat more slowly.  :-)  Smart girl.
Anyway…we continued to have a lovely evening talking and drinking wine.  We were shocked by how late we stayed up…I think it was round 3 in the morning.  My husband and I hadn’t stayed up that long in quite a while.  (Little did we know we’d be staying up that late again in just a few weeks for the work Christmas party…but that’s another post!)  We had planned to stay the night at theirs since we knew wine would be involved.  (For my American friends…I realize in America the sentence would be “we had planned to stay the night at their place…or their house…but in England we just leave that out :-)
The next morning I woke up…surprisingly hang-over free.  I was offered tea, of course, and…a bacon roll.  A bacon roll?
“Would you like a bacon roll?”  I looked at my husband a bit bewildered and he asked the same question again.  My response: “I don’t know…I don’t know what a bacon roll is!”  Which is a common response from me lately :-)  His response: “It’s a roll with bacon.”  Gee thanks.
With my experience with British English words a roll could have been anything.  Biscuits are cookies, but sometimes crackers…cookies are a specific kind of cookie…jelly is jello…custard is pudding…and pudding is just desert in general.  Unless it’s a Christmas pudding…then it’s a kind of fruit cake…though not the yucky kind we have in the states.  Then there’s also Yorkshire Pudding which is…well…kind of like a pop-over maybe?  It’s a bread cup thing.  And our biscuits?  They don’t even HAVE our biscuits.  The closest thing is a scone.  Heck…even bacon isn’t bacon as we know it.  It’s so much better than bacon!
Every once in a while you find that the difference is in your favor.  I found this in a bacon roll.  First you have to understand how I feel about English bacon.  It’s. So. Good!  It’s meatier.  There is fat…but not as much on it and the slices are slightly thicker and definitely wider.  I love English bacon.  I like American bacon… but I’m picky about it.  Some places have good bacon, usually the thicker cut, that is more forgiving.  But most places have thinly sliced bacon that has to be cooked just right for me…not too limp but definitely not crispy.   And it’s greasy.  I actually prefer turkey bacon because there’s less yucky fat.  I actually pick off the slimy fat from bacon…but with English bacon…I don’t have to.  And for me it’s much more forgiving on how long you cook it because of the thickness…it tastes fine a bit crispy :-)
So…a bacon roll really is just that.  It’s was a large sandwich roll, buttered, with bacon on it.  It was a bacon sandwich!  That’s it.  And it was…simply delicious.
And I was amazed that I hadn’t come across this in America.  Forget the egg and cheese…forget the tomato and lettuce.  Just throw the bacon on!  Cut out the middle man!  Isn’t that what we’re all about?  I’m sure people have had this in America…I’m sure there’s some region it’s popular…but damn it…why haven’t I ever seen it?!?!?
So thank you good friends :-)  (I don’t mention their names simply because I don’t know how they’d feel about their names being thrown out there…but they know who they are!)  Thank you for introducing me to the bacon roll, as bad as it may be!  Yum!


  1. I love your story, it reminds me of my two years living in Germany and getting introduced to a whole new world of flavors! Keep on writing!

  2. I HAVE heard of a bacon roll, or rather a bacon sandwich. But it wasn't in America. It was from a book set in there you go.

    I'm with you though...seems pretty odd that Americans haven't come up with a bacon sandwich.