After I graduated from college, I spent 2 months backpacking around England, Scotland and Ireland. That time is so precious because it is the only time you have between school and a career and other responsibilities that are never ending. It was one of those experiences in life that I NEVER forget or regret. In fact, I suggest to all graduating students to take a few months off to explore. You will never have this moment ever again…
I have so many incredible memories from this adventure. The history, the landscape, the people, the experiences and even the food. I fully believe in immersing yourself in the local flavor of each town you visit. I love a good challenge and am very curious about other cultures. I even ate haggis.
I stayed in a few bed and breakfasts, during my travels, and with some lovely families and friends I came to know. I have so many fond memories. I tell stories from my travels all the time….I am sure my kids are sooooo tired of it. Out of all my different stories from the female mason working on restoring an old stone church, the buildings that got wider as they got taller, the hostels and the rail trail pass, the Cavern Club where the Beatles played, trying to make phone calls to the US from those bright red boxes, birds stealing my scones from Lands End, riding a bike through the purple heather in western Ireland, castles, castles, castles and even the Loch Ness monster – I think my favorite is talking about the food.
I never expected the food to be as different as it was. It was very eye opening to how processed and cheap our American food habits are. I tried the haggis, ate lots of “take-away” fish and chips, had some shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and lived on “toasties” (grilled cheese sandwiches) with tomato and onion. The trip changed many of my eating patterns for the rest of my life. The most fascinating to me was breakfast. A typical English breakfast almost always included eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, toast, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes (and sometimes black pudding – look it up). As an American, beans were what I ate at a picnic with a hotdog and mushrooms were served with a steak, so seeing them on my breakfast plate was so odd. But, I have always been a brave eater and love my food to mingle on the plate.
The breakfast is usually called a “Full English” or “Fry Up” and can be found pretty much in any restaurant or pub you stumble into while abroad. But, it’s also extremely simple and you can make it at home too! I highly recommend giving it a try. Here is a simple and delicious recipe from The Culinary Ginger.
It’s a big meal! So, sometimes, I like to mix up a smaller lighter version of the beans to eat with just toast and an egg. But, best of all, I can freeze it in small portions to grab in a pinch. It’s super easy, perfect for freezing and gives you some good protein for your busy day.
I learned this from a lovely British Instagram friend – just take a couple cans of cannellini beans or butter beans, a can of crushed tomatoes with italian herbs and some sliced red onions. Start with the onion and than add the tomatoes and beans. Cook it all together in a frying pan until it’s heated through and saucy delicious. You can add crumbled bacon, different herbs or some mushrooms too! Play with it so it fits your needs. Portion out and freeze if you want or serve with toast and a fried egg for breakfast – add an avocado too! MMmmm….