Many years ago, when I started living with my own personal German, who later became my lovely husband, I offered him a McVitie’s Digestive biscuit.
Bearing in mind these were unavailable in Germany at that time and had to be specially imported, I thought it was pretty kind of me. It was like offering my heart.
He took a big bite and said “Oh yes, it’s just like a Leibniz Butterkeks!”
No. NO! No, it really wasn’t and really isn’t.
Ever since then I have tried to keep smiling when people always tried to compare something in their cuisine with something British people would like to eat. And then I noticed myself doing the same on Borneo, ‘Oh yes, a Jackfruit is a bit like a peach.’
No, it really isn’t.
Why is it so hard to realize and even admit that different countries and cultures have their own unique foods and flavours? That some things just aren’t available elsewhere, and one of the challenges of not living in the country where you grew up is that – just sometimes – you miss those familiar delicacies.
When I first came to Germany I spent a long time searching supermarket shelves for ‘Double Cream’. My search was fruitless, because that sort of thick cream just wasn’t available here. In the meantime good old Dr Oetker introduced ‘Creme Double’ but believe me, it’s not the same. Cream in Germany is meant to be whipped, and either form part of the light fluffy filling of your gateau or be added as a giant cloud on top of a slice of something. It tastes good, I like it, but when it comes to topping a crumble or even a scone, it’s not authentic.
So for years I brought clotted cream back from England with me, trying to let my participants and friends here experience the full Cornish experience. It has to be Rodda’s, of course.
The days that I zip to and fro to the UK are long gone, for various reasons, and so I had mentally put Rodda’s into my ‘No longer available’ file. Last week, hoping to find British sausages in Germany for our Christmas pigs in blankets,
I found a new British Foods shop:
This shop, in Geesthacht, had a wide range of frozen goods including authentic British porkers and, wait for it – Rodda’s clotted cream. I nearly fainted.
Within 48 hours my frozen goods arrived. Those dear, familiar tubs of Rodda’s were unpacked in my German kitchen and are now reclining, Cornishly, in my freezer.
Christmas on the Scillies was warm and wet and characterised by interminable Cornish carols. Every line was sung three times.
I remember my Mum rolling her eyes and whispering that the roast potatoes would be burned if we didn’t finish singing soon.
But there was always lashing of cream for pudding!
- The Real McCoy: The real McCoy – Wikipedia