I knowingly ate haggis for the first time this week. Haggis, a traditional Scottish dish, has a list of ingredients that would be inappropriate to print in a publication such as the The Index, which is distributed in close proximity to dining facilities, but you ought to Google it if you are feeling particularly adventurous. I had eaten haggis once before at an event where it was presented unlabeled at a buffet. It was delicious, due largely to my not knowing what I had eaten until after I had finished dining. This week, my Glaswegian flatmate served me haggis with dinner and I, with full knowledge of what it was, ate about half of it. I have never felt so adventurous in my life.
Despite haggis, Scotland is almost certainly the friendliest of study abroad destinations for picky eaters like me. For perhaps the first time, my diet — one which is composed largely of carbohydrates, starches, and red meat — can be masked behind the excuse of local authenticity. One of my new favorite dishes consists solely of chopped up beef in gravy with some sort of dough floating about. I am living my best life here.
Even the American food is better. Each morning, I eat a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes for breakfast. They are the same, except that they are called “Frosties” and they are eaten by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We know this because all of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite products have a special label. On my Frosties, it reads, “By Appointment to HM The Queen Purveyors of Cereals Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company.” (HM is a shortened version of “Her Majesty” which is surprisingly common in the UK. Apparently they speak and write so frequently of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that it necessitates a time-saver.) HM’s other favorite household products include Heinz Ketchup and the kind of dish soap that my flatmates buy.
The Queen also enjoys a repulsive condiment known only as “brown sauce,” of which everybody else here is a raving fan. Brown sauce is advertised as being a distinctly British food, and the bottle features a picture of the Palace of Westminster. It maintains an important place at the top of the collective psyche of the British people. (In Scotland, the collective love of brown sauce is possibly only exceeded by a love of The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles,” a song which is traditionally sung by hordes of inebriated riders on night buses). Brown sauce has the love of the British people and the culinary pervasiveness of table salt. Given these factors, one can only imagine what will come of this land when the Brexit proceedings are finished and it is discovered that brown sauce also has a label that reads “Manufactured in the Netherlands.”
Ian McKnight is currently studying abroad in Aberdeen, Scotland.
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