When British people try to imitate your accent ( Do I sound like that? SERIOUSLY!?)

forensic spiceHanging out with the English is so much fun, yet there almost indefinitely comes a time during a night out where your American accent is attempted by a Brit. Suddenly, as you are telling a story, you get your American accent parroted back to you by your UK friend(s):

Them: “Hee-low, Iyme Amereycan, aynd Iye lyke yew!” (in the most nasal voice EVER)

You: “Yeah, thanks a lot.”

Them: No hard feelings, just “taking the piss” mate!

Whether you are an American in Yorkshire, London, or Wales, you’ll know what I’m describing. What do you do in these situations? The first option is to get annoyed and/or embarrassed. The second option is to laugh.

Have you ever tried the British accent in a UK group? You’ll likely get laughed at. If they get to do it, well then, so do we!

This phenomenon is only indicative of the American-UK relationship. Can you imagine your Nigerian or Swedish friends doing this? Or you doing it back? Probably not. So join in the fun on something that makes your UK experience differentiated from any other country.

Roll down a fake car window and parrot back in your best Yorkshire accent! Excuse me Sir, but do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Forensic Spice is one of our newsest guest bloggers and is a Californian now living in Yorkshire.

Converting an American recipe to British is tougher than you think!

redlillocksFirstly, I’d just like to thank the amazing ladies of SNFY for once again allowing me to contribute as a guest blogger and get some of my frustrations off my chest. Beats anger management classes anyday! You girls ROCK I tell ya.— REDLILOCKS

Autumn Baking…

Hey did anyone notice those couple of days of sunshine we had over the past few months? Yes, that is what they call here The British Summer. I know, I know, I almost missed it as well. I have to admit moving from Southeast England to the Northwest, I never realised that when people said it was cold and rainy in Manchester that they actually meant it! I just figured people were exaggerating (I mean, the whole country rains, right?). Well, much to my surprise, they weren’t. Dreams of pretty cotton dresses and drinking Mojitos in the sunshine never entirely materialised but as the weather turns, I find myself with new fantasies to occupy my time. Warm knits, knee high boots with opaque tights, snugly scarves and that cool nip in the evening air that tells you that autumn is well and truly upon us.

Despite our rather sorry stint of truly warm weather, I actually quite like the cool crisp September weather and having a taste of home the other day, I decided I wanted to make a Zucchini Cake. There’s nothing like a bit of baking to warm up the house and remind you of cozy nights in with hot mugs of tea and a bit of baking from scratch. As you probably know, they are called ‘Courgettes’ here (we Americans use the Italian word, the British use the French) but as it is, after all, an American recipe, I decided it’s only right to use its proper American name.

Now I do quite a bit of cooking in this country but it was first time I was going to actually attempt to BAKE. With my fabulous boyfriend’s (we’ll call him Mr. Lovely) vast array of culinary equipment and ingredients to hand (he’s a great cook) I decided it would be a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I knew, of course, the ingredients would be in imperial measurements but I was confident that with a bit of conversion using metric kitchen scales, I could easily manage the recipe – no problem. Well, the issue wasn’t the conversion. It was the ingredients.

My conversation with Mr. Lovely went something like this:

Sitting in the living room, I called out to Mr. Lovely in the kitchen, “Can we get ‘All Purpose flour’ here?”

Mr. L responded, calling back, “What’s ‘All purpose flour’?”

“I don’t know, I guess it’s just regular flour.”

“Umm. Yeah I would think so. Is that the same as Self-Raising Flour? I have some of that.”

I didn’t like the sound of flour that rose on its own willpower. “Self-Raising flour? Hmm. I don’t think so.”

Mr. L, already tired of the exchange, assured me, “It’s okay, we can nip to the shop and get some.”

“Ok…” I went back to my recipe but only for a moment. “What about Baking Soda?” I called again.

“Do you mean Bicarbonate of Soda?”

I thought about it for a second. I know I’ve heard of Bicarbonate of Soda but I’d never eaten it. “I think so. Aggy and Kim use it to clean everything; I think it’s the same thing…” I went back to the ingredient list.

I called again, “What about Baking Powder?”

It was at this point that Mr. L, realising this may be an extended conversation, came into the living room. “What’s Baking Powder?”

“I think it helps the cake to rise. Or wait, is that what Baking Soda does?”

“Well, that’s what self-raising flour does.”

“Ahh right. Do you think I can skip both of those then if I use the self-raising flour?”

“I’m sure you can. It’ll be fine, just use the self-raising flour,” he assured me. He’s good like that.

I pondered this for a second. “Wonder why we don’t use self-raising flour in the States? Seems a lot easier….” Back to the ingredient list again. “What about white sugar?”

Mr. L crinkled his brow. “What do they mean by white sugar?”

I shrugged. “I think they mean just regular sugar.”

Mr. L went back into the kitchen and brought back a white packet. “I have caster sugar,” he announced.

I looked inside the packet, examining the tiny crystals. “Hmm – this is a bit finer than regular sugar. Do you think it’ll be okay if I use this?”

“Yeah, it’ll be okay.” (I swear that should be his motto, he says it to me so often.)

“Ok, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I said, reassured. “Oh wait, the frosting takes confectioner’s sugar. Can you get that in this country?”

“Never heard of it. What about icing sugar?”

“I don’t know. This is a soft icing, it’s not gonna go hard is it?”

By this point Mr. L put his hands on his head. “ Arghhh I don’t know…” and walked out of the room.

It was clear by this point, I was on my own!

Now, my dear readers, let me tell you that in the end, despite all the guessing and against all the odds, the cake came out rather fantastically well – I know, no one is more shocked than me. Turns out all my substitutions worked a treat. However, next time there’s a chill in the air and I fancy a bit of baked scrummy goodness, I might just save all the hassle and go to Greggs instead.

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It is National Cheesecake Day today-thank you, America!

yahooavatar15 Well, call us Americans over-excited if you must, because in general we do like to celebrate! For all you She’s Not from Yorkshire readers living in America today, I am envious. Today I have learned that The Cheesecake Factory is offering their cheesecake for $1.50 in honour of the national holiday– the same price as 1978 when the original restaurant opened in Beverly Schmills.

How do you explain an important American institution  like the Cheesecake Factory to someone who is not American? Its a toughie! I would start by mentioning the 146 locations dotted across the country (ok so I looked that one up), and that the restaurants are mostly located in/near shopping malls (to draw in those hungry consumers, I suppose.)

I would then go on to describe the decor. Oh, its supposed to look like really classy and fancy, like something those sophisticated “Europeans” would design. I am talking swirly- pink -marble -galore and Doric columns in abundance. I then explain that this place does food too, not just desserts (well, like cheesecake but its NOT a factory!). But some people go and have only cheesecake for their dinner. (That’s America for you! I explain, the freedom to have dessert for your main course).

You’d better be hungry because the portions are as big as your face bigger than your head. In fact, its usually so crowded with customers that you get a little buzzer when your table is ready as there is usually a huge queue for tables. I would end by explaining that unlike in the UK doggy bags are the norm. Sigh. Doggie bags full of cheesecake….

13 little reasons to love America

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  • Bath and Body Works (Jo Malone, the Body Shop, and Boots are just not the same).
  • Butter Rum Life Savers.
  • Wet and Wild cosmetics (always thought that name was a bit dodgy, even at age12!).
  • Crazy fitness trends like ‘Singles Yoga’ classes and ‘The Shred’ that you can sample.
  • Unashamed self-help shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil.
  • Ordering huge healthy salads at restaurants that are meant to be the main course to offset the next item
  • Girl Scout cookies, especially those Samoas. Thin Mints!
  • Men in baseball caps. I never thought I would write that one!
  • Drive-thru everything (prescriptions, donuts, Starbucks, dry cleaning, banking, wedding chapels…)
  • Beyonce and her bootylicious dancing, and Sasha Fierce persona.
  • American top 40 (shame about Casey Kasem retiring though).
  • American feminism including publications like  Bust, Ms. and Bitch.
  • Tar-jay designer gear at normal human being prices.

Costco in England, an American confession

yahooavatar15Don’t think I am not embarrassed about this lil’ post. I am. I take pride in my anti-consumerism, bulk buying stance. “No need to hoard” has always been a motto of mine. Well, if your fridge was the size of a shoe box you would need that motto too. But I know secretly I am as materialistic as anyone other average joe, which is why I need to tell you something:

I love going to Costco in Leeds. I look forward to pushing my oversize cart (wait, I mean trolley) through the  wide aisles stacked to the ceiling with American products. And bulk-sized American products, in the UK at that!! Get your Krusteaz pancake mix, your family size 560 count Oreos, your 4 gallons of Grade A maple syrup. It is all there waiting for you! Craving some donuts? Well you better be off Weight Watchers because darlin’, you’ll have to buy 24! My imported Oprah magazine is 20% off, I can buy a ready-made pizza the size of my coffee table, and you can sample Gatorade to your mouth’s desire. But guess what? The ironic thing is when I am there I don’t feel the need to buy any of it  (except the donuts -ha!). Somehow, when I know where I can get a taste of America my desire for Root beer disappears. Ironic.

Now, there are all kinds of ways to beat homesickness, but may I suggest a trip to your local Costco? You would be surprised about how comforting it feels…