Sunday Afternoon Tea – Exploring Several Odds and Ends in UK Delectables

UK Delectables

Shopping at Cost Plus World Market and Nugget Market has filled our cupboards with UK delectables, including garnishes, sauces, and foods. Many of these items serve well in fancy meals or snacks with children. However, fancy meals and children rarely enter this home, which made the UK garnishes, biscuits, jams, and sweets far too comfortable in sitting and waiting in the cupboard. So, to solve this dilemma, Alex and I decided to have Sunday afternoon tea with all our odds and ends!



Preparation for Sunday Afternoon Tea with UK Delectables

UK Delectables
Preparing the Afternoon Tea – amidst the pizza from the night before.

Alex and I knew from previous study that a proper afternoon tea must have mini sandwiches and scones. Fortunately, earlier in the year, when Alex and I had visited Oregon, we stumbled across some marionberry scone mix. After church service on this particular October Sunday, we also went to the independent grocer in town and bought a cucumber, a red onion, some celery, apple vinegar, and canned chicken.

Using only some water, I quickly and easily prepared the marionberry scones. For the cucumber sandwiches, Alex sliced the cucumber while I mixed some light and regular cream cheese and made the sandwiches. Two chicken salads were made. One with apple vinegar, the other with light mayo. So, using the canned chicken, celery, red onion, and some grapes, together we made half a dozen sandwiches of each chicken salad.



UK Delectables Bought and Consumed on This Particular Occasion

We tried to follow the “British Code” in regards to Afternoon Tea. Unfortunately, on this occasion, America alone grew and packaged the ingredients for the scones and the mini sandwiches. But the aforementioned odds and ends were all UK delectables! The British and Irish foods and treats included in this special occasion for two are listed below:

UK Delectables
The table spread for the Afternoon Tea.
  • Plaza’s Black Capelin Roe
  • Carr’s Table Water Crackers, Original
  • Chivers Olde English Marmalade
  • Full Circle’s European Strawberry Fruit Spread
  • Devon Cream Company’s Luxury Clotted Cream
  • Elizabethan Pantry’s Lemon Curd
  • Candy Kittens’s Gourmet Sweets, Sour Blueberry
  • Farrah’s Rhubarb & Custard Candy
  • English Tea Shop’s White Tea, Blueberry & Elderflower

A special shoutout goes to Plaza’s Black Capelin Roe, Elizabethan Pantry’s Lemon Curd, and English Tea Shop’s White Tea, Blueberry & Elderflower. These three flavorfully unique tastes startled my husband and I with their wholly Irish and British flavors. Sealed tightly and imported straight from overseas, the products popped with strong flavors, freshness, and smoothness on their way down our throats. Buying these three products again became a certainty for the future.



Aiming to Learn How to Best Use UK Delectables

UK Delectables
Munching up the UK delectables.

As happened before in previous posts on the world’s beloved Facebook, I’m certain someone will criticize me on how I used these UK delectables. Therefore, I’m taking the time now to apologize for my ignorance on how to best use these foods and treats. According to what I’ve seen in movies, Carr’s crackers and the caviar would be best served in a party setting. Children would enjoy the sweets, such as the Sour Blueberries and Rhubarb & Custard Candy. But the creams, jams, and tea do seem proper for an Afternoon Tea. Am I wrong?

Thank you for reading! Alex and I had created such a large Afternoon Tea that we filled our bellies long before making any dent on the food. So, I look forward to future days with these UK delectables, and hope to invite friends over for future tea parties. How would you use these delicious garnishes, biscuits, jams, and sweets? Please comment below!



Testing Fragrances Made in the United Kingdom – Swagbucks and the UK Unite

Fragrances made in the United Kingdom

Swagbucks and the UK have miraculously managed to join together in my life. When I received a package from a Swagbucks partner, I found test bottles filled with fragrances made in the United Kingdom. Inspiration hit me hard. Suddenly, amidst all the retail work and home chores, I managed to find my way back here to tell you about the journey I’m about to embark on.

Hold On, Mary. What is Swagbucks?

I’m glad you asked! Allow me to explain how I’ve come to earn nearly 2,000 dollars, over the course of several years, right from my couch at home:

Back in the years 2009 and 2010, fresh out of college and dorm life, I was desperate to find a job and earn some money. Moving out into my own place was my number one priority, but the economy refused to work with me. So, I did the only thing I could think to do: Find money on the internet. Thus, in my searching, I stumbled across Swagbucks.



Completing surveys, watching videos, reading blogs, doing tasks, and shopping online can all earn Swagbucks. This term implies money, specifically one Swagbuck equals one penny in USA currency. Swagbucks are predominantly earned when the user interacts with advertisements from Swagbucks partners.

I highly recommend Swagbucks to anyone struggling to find work. This online company cannot replace any job, including part-time retail jobs. But they can provide reliable spending money for everyday expenses, as well as birthdays, Christmases, and other irresponsibly fun days.

What Arrived in the Mail – Fragrances Made in the United Kingdom

Coming home yesterday evening, my husband came up to me with a package in his hands. Expressing his confusion at having received such a package, since neither he nor I had ordered anything, he handed the parcel over for me to open. Reading the return address on the label instantly revealed a Swagbucks survey partner.



I tore open the packaging, excited to see what samples a survey had sent me. Surprise and delight filled me when I found five small, padded envelopes and instructions to use the fragrance samples inside each envelope on five separate days. I had forgotten about qualifying for a fragrance testing.

Anxious to see what fragrance I would try the next day, I carefully opened the first padded envelope and pulled out a small, clear bottle. The survey panel had labeled the fragrance sample as Z, and given other information in smaller print. Amongst the warning labels and ingredients, I saw the print, “Made in UK.” I was ecstatic.

Fragrances Made in the United Kingdom – Testing Day One, Fragrance Z

Don’t run away yet! I shall spare the details about every fragrance in the testing kit. But please, allow me to describe this first test bottle, labeled as sample Z. For the fragrance, which sprayed out an abundant amount for my wrists and neck, filled the air around me and changed the entire atmosphere.



Does this sound silly to my UK friends? For my limited experience with various fragrances have led me to believe American perfumes are less fragrant. Then again, maybe only the inexpensive fragrances contain less fragrance. Ladies who wear branded fragrances may receive stronger perfumes.

Nevertheless, upon spraying the fragrance sample on my person, I could smell the high class ingredients. This fragrance – whatever the name be – is likely sold in other places other than local pharmaceuticals. This fragrance smelled like money, like the fragrances found on older, well dressed, and expensively adorned women who occasionally walk into my small town’s local shops.

How I Will Respond to Fragrances Made in the United Kingdom

My husband, my father, my brother, and I suffer allergic reactions to strong fragrances. Whether the fragrances originate from candles, incense, or perfume, we start sneezing, sniffing, and holding our heads due to our pounding headaches. Did this high class test sample fragrance give me a headache? Sheepishly I admit, yes, it did. I also sheepishly admit to wanting more such fragrances from the UK.



This girl must have a screw loose in her head, my readers think. Yes, I do! However, knowing this does nothing to prevent me from desiring everything relating to the United Kingdom. So I shall wait for the day when I have earned enough money to experiment with more fragrances made in the United Kingdom. Until then, I shall keep these test bottles and remember to save my money for future UK experiences.

What do my readers know about UK fragrances? Do they tend to be stronger scented than American perfumes? Which do you prefer, strong or soft? Please comment below!

 

How Stevenson’s Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders

Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper's Murders

School grade teachers and college professors must practice more awareness in what they choose for their students to read. For literature can inspire bad behavior. Just as television can. Or, just as theater productions can. But does doubt about this fact cause them indecision on what to read? They need only consider how Robert Louis Stevenson’s literature possibly inspired Jack the Ripper’s murders.

How a Californian Girl Realized Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders

Teachers failed to educate me on the importance in filling one’s mind with positivity and good behavior. Thankfully, my parents picked up on where they lacked. As for the countless other children who received little or no instruction on proper behavior and morals, they live lifestyles brimming with violence, misbehavior, and destruction. Some literature merely encouraged such lifestyles.



As the reader has likely already deducted, criminal investigators and curious citizens around the world wondered about Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack the Ripper. Specifically about how The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde may have inspired the notorious, unidentified London killer. Oddly enough, teachers neglected to teach me this in school. I found out through my own deduction and consequential research.

Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper's Murders
Film production of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Stevenson’s famous novella was first published in 1886. The resulting fame produced theater productions throughout America and England. However, mere days after The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde first played in the London theater in late August 1888, Jack the Ripper mauled and killed his first victim. Had he read the book? Had the play inspired his mania?



Curious Connections on How Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders

In Stevenson’s novella, the character Dr. Henry Jekyll studied and practiced medicine. Living as a bachelor with extensive financial funds, he used his spare time to concoct scientific experiments. This, as everyone knows, led to the birth of Mr. Edward Hyde, a social and criminal deviant.

Based on how Jack the Ripper murdered the Whitechapel women, the inspectors suspected this unidentified man had a background in medical surgery. How he treated the entrails and preserved certain organs especially made this suspicion seem true. But the British police suspected something more.

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde renditions, whether they be onstage or on film, the writers presented Dr. Jekyll as even more gentlemanly and righteous than Stevenson had written him. To make the doctor seem more traditional and upright, a young woman for Dr. Jekyll to pursue was added. Stevenson had written Dr. Jekyll in a different light, originally. Making the character resemble a genius and someone who brooded over complex subjects.

Jack the Ripper also seemed to contain a certain genius – a genius to avoid the police, if nothing else. The inspectors referred to his likely propensity to brood. Only, instead of brooding over complex subjects, the murderer would brood over which woman to kill and how to kill her.



Personal Opinion on How Literature Possibly Inspired Jack the Ripper’s Murders

Studies throughout the past few decades in the United States have proven the link between bad behavior on television to bad behavior in younger generations. Why television? Because younger generations watch more television than they read or attend theater. The general conclusion is all entertainment forms can have a negative or positive influence on people.

Therefore, I suspect that Stevenson’s literature did partially influence Jack the Ripper. Some sort of chemical imbalance in the brain seems likely, hence why the murderer brooded. But stories have the power to change people, to lead them toward positive forces or negative roads. And too many similar dark ideas and actions came from Stevenson’s literature and Jack the Ripper’s deeds to be unconnected.

What do you think? Do the similarities make you suspect a connection, as well? Or is Robert Louis Stevenson a literary genius and Jack the Ripper some disconnected maniac killer?



Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in Black Death – Critical Review

Black Death

Perusing the movie selections on the shelves at Walmart, I was startled to see Boromir from Lord of the Rings staring out at me. Only, on this movie cover, located on a high shelf near the back, a zombie-like creature stood behind him. The movie was titled Black Death, starring English stars Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne.

Black Death‘s Plot and Purpose

Germany financed and English Director Christopher Smith directed this film about witch hunters during the three year Black Death pandemic in England. Originally, English production companies intended to help finance the film. They later refused, for reasons I assume lie within the movie’s plot. Allow me to explain what occurred in the film:

Black Death
Averill and Osmund making plans to flee.

In the year 1348, the Black Death pandemic had entered the England monastery, where our main character was located as a novice. After a few short scenes with those suffering from the black plague, we saw the young novice stealing food from his monastery brothers and, after some deception about feeding the afflicted, giving the food to his secret girlfriend. He told her to flee, for the black plague was spreading. She did, but only after telling him to follow, or else she’d leave him forever.



Novice Osmund prayed for the right decision, and thought he received it when witch hunter Ulric walked in and asked for a guide. Journeying with the witch hunter and his men revealed their twisted sense of kindness and mercy. Where Osmund saw unjust persecution, Ulric saw sin and damnation. Osmund merely persevered to reach his girlfriend, Averill.

What happened when Osmund reached his destination was twisted: He came across Averill’s clothing, torn and blood-splattered. He despaired and grieved. Ulric convinced him to go farther with him and his crew to avoid imminent death. Osmund went and they all reached the witch’s village. The witch played with them, drugging them and causing them to see visions. Then came the climax.

Freezing water trapped Ulric, Osmund, and the other witch hunters. The witch, reveling in her power, gave them the option to forsake God and live, or to remain in the faith and die. Well, as Ulric warned his men, she killed both the questionably faithful and the absolute deserter in the group all alike. However, when Osmund and the witch hunters first arrived at the village, the witch showed Osmund his “dead” girlfriend. And how she had raised her from the dead.



Black Death
Osmund goes to see his “resurrected” Averill.

Believing this story about his girlfriend which the witch had crafted, Osmund questioned whether to forsake God, living in the witch’s village, or to keep his faith and die. He chose the latter. He also chose the latter for his seemingly possessed girlfriend, whom he drove a knife into and killed. Realizing what he had done, the witch acted horrified and exclaimed this as typical for how Christians act.

After quartering Ulric – who, it turned out, had black plague symptoms – everyone fled the scene. This left Osmund and one somewhat kindly witch hunter. Osmund followed the fleeing witch, intending to kill her, but learned the horrible truth instead: His girlfriend had never been dead, merely drugged and used to fool Osmund. Needless to say, the witch got away, leaving Osmund stunned, horrified, grieving, and hopeless.

The narrator, who turned out to be the somewhat kindly witch hunter, ended the film. He talked about the rumors he heard about Osmund turning into a witch hunter and killing many innocent women from his grief-driven madness. Overall, the film showed God as powerless, and evil as superior.



What British News Sources Taught Me About Black Death

Silly and historically inaccurate, said the writer for The Guardian. This particular article used references to describe how some witch hunting did occur in England, but predominantly in different centuries. Also, villages did learn to target mostly women, but this occurred only after a couple centuries after the mid-1300’s. And the degree of violence against innocent women in general never reached the extreme that this movie portrayed, at least in England.

Based on this information, I concluded English film producers refused to finance this film because the film writer had over-exaggerated this dark historical period. Moreover, this film was produced in the year 2010, while her majesty Queen Elizabeth II had (and still has) power. Because this film portrayed England and God in a negative light, the loyal citizens would have none of it. Thank God for Britain’s good sense.



Surprising Actors Found in Black Death

Black Death
Sean Bean as Ulric

Of course, I already mentioned my surprise to see Sean Bean dressed very similarly to his character “Boromir, son of Denethor II” in The Lord of the Rings on this film’s cover. In The Lord of the Rings, Bean’s character encouraged both dislike and understanding in the viewers. He was a gray character. Therefore, to see him as witch hunter Ulric, another brutal and daring role, brought about mixed feelings.

Alex and I failed to recognize Eddie Redmayne’s name. However, early on in the film, Alex piped up and said, “Hey, it’s Newt!” The nagging feeling I had about this character was solved. For Eddie Redmayne had played the beloved Newt in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He played Osmund, the main character, in Black Death. Recognizing him as Newt made his ending in Black Death much harder to accept.



One Christian’s Opinion on Whether or Not to Watch Black Death

If my readers are strong believers in the Christian faith, like my husband and I, then they will severely dislike this film. At the beginning, the possibility of a strong Christian message appeared so likely as to give my husband and I hope for a happy ending. These hopes disappeared as the film progressed. In the end, we felt nothing but shame at how the film writer portrayed the Christian believers, if they could even be called believers.

How Osmund turned out also doesn’t sit well with me. He started off devout and loving. He questioned the monastery life, like the Protestant Christians did, and wished for a wife. His faith seemed genuine. However, when the witch tricked him, and he ended up killing his love, his faith didn’t save him. He become corrupted, in mind and spirit. True faith would heal all wounds, even those from a powerful witch and necromancer. Osmund’s faith should have kept him in the light.

Overall, I think the film did well in regards to acting and scene setting, but the plotline was terrible. History as it played out in the real world is frightening enough. Mixing history for a fictional horror film seems unnecessary. I recommend watching this film when my readers feel the need for something eerie. But, please, try to ignore the social agenda in the film, for only those enslaved to sin do such horrific deeds. And, as to witches, we all have different beliefs regarding witches and necromancers.



 

Modern Writers and Mary Shelley – What We Can Learn from Her Literature, Thinking, and Life

Mary Shelley

Anyone and everyone who has attempted to read great classic literature at some point in his or her life assuredly has borrowed or bought a dozen or more novels from famous past British and Irish authors. I own 50 such novels or more. To begin the Halloween season’s celebrations, I pulled out Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. To review the horror elements within the story was my aim.

The Wordsworth Classics edition I own started the book with a blatant appeal for the readers to skip the introductory novel analysis and to start the classic story. I did as told, and first read Mary Shelley’s explanation on how she dreamed about a mad scientist’s living creation. From this simple explanation did my heart reach out to her and fill with empathy and awe. Allow me to explain how modern writers can learn from Mary Shelley.



What Mary Shelley’s Story Explanation Said About Her Thoughts and Her Life

I will refrain from pouring over the explanation about how Mary Shelley dreamed up Frankenstein’s monster. Instead, I will attempt to describe what the young married woman revealed about herself in her explanation.

A proper description would include an extensive knowledge about religion, politics, and society during the late 18th – early 19th century. But I have very little knowledge right now about such history. What I can do is describe how young people, especially young writers, have very much in common with Mary Shelley.



America attempts to downplay how much religion affected past British writers in their literature and dissertations. However, religion and society norms genuinely seemed to lead Mary Shelley in her life and in her writing. For example, when in the presence of her husband and Lord Byron, she settled down to listen without speaking. Doing so provided her with much information. More information than what she and other women were accustomed to receiving.

As a young married woman, Mary Shelley struggled to keep up conversation with her husband in academical and world interests. She admitted to keeping up on her personal studies, to better converse with him, as opposed to writing and publishing as both her parents did. She was a young woman split between her desires to please her husband and fulfill personal achievement.



How Modern Writers Can Relate to Mary Shelley

Choosing to engage in personal studies to converse with her husband on a daily basis proved her respect for Christian principals. For the Holy Bible says to cling to one another in marriage, to love and respect each other. Mary Shelley knew her husband needed intellectual stimulation. So she studied to provide him with such stimulation, improve her own mind, and maintain a happy, healthy relationship with him.

Unfortunately for the young writer, her husband also wanted to see her write. How could she keep up intellectually and write to became famous like her author parents at the same time? Like everyone today, she struggled to fulfill everyone’s wishes and her own desires with the limited time provided for her.



An even better relation on how modern writers can relate to Mary Shelley comes in the form about conforming to society norms. In the ten or fifteen years between Frankenstein prints, Mary Shelley revised a few spots so as to keep from upsetting the public readers. Today, predominantly most bestsellers conform to politically left-wing views and beliefs. Writers who write about opposing views must find different publishers.

Overall, Mary Shelley’s whole demeanor in her personal note seemed to portray a quiet, imaginative, and somewhat anxious young married woman who aimed to please everyone around her. Frankenstein resulted from conversation between her husband and Lord Byron on current developments during the period. Then her imagination took over, and the short novel resulted. Her aim had never been to change society or religion with her writing.



What Mary Shelley’s Character Betrays About Frankenstein

Both my husband and I read Frankenstein in high school as required reading. I remember enjoying the book, thinking it bespoke much about how the young woman thought about people. Remembering this makes me excited to read it again. Since my age has nearly doubled, what will I learn in this second reading of this young woman’s fine thoughts? I look forward to finding out.

Have you read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? What do you like most about the novel? What do you think Mary Shelley revealed about herself in her changes and her way of writing and living?



Monsters in Literature, and Monsters in Reality – All Things Frightening in the UK

Robert Couse-Baker, all things frightening in the UK

Halloween has erupted in the United States, disrupting my plans for exploring more UK meals and British royal histories. For my curiosity about all things frightening in the UK has reared its head, demanding my attention. And it’s my full intention to explore it, to submerge myself in everything related to UK mystery and horror.



Bring Friends and Family to All Things Frightening in the UK

It’s also my intention to drag my husband along this dark road. For I’m a big scaredy-cat, and I’m usually frightened at things as small as theatrical horror stories. Real-life horror, such as Jack the Ripper, frightens me even more.

Therefore, since my husband finds entertainment in dark stories and horror movies, I hope he will protect me from my own imagination as we dive into all things frightening in the UK. I advise for all my readers to do the same. For the UK horror, especially the real-life horror, will make every dark corner ominous and every unknown noise mysteriously connected to serial killers who roam the streets.



Exploring the Age-Old Frights in All Things Frightening in the UK

It’s my suspicion many people who read this post will laugh at the age-old horror stories, fictional and reality-based, which we will explore and study. Nevertheless, I turn to these classics because of their great imprint on society around the world. If given enough time, we will explore the following books, movies, and histories:

Exploring these old tales and fables may lead me to learn more about America’s history and culture regarding Halloween and the supernatural. After all, a mere few months into studying about the UK has revealed much about how Americans have adopted and adapted UK customs and practices into their own culture. Why not Halloween?



“Share the Wealth!” Pertaining All Things Frightening in the UK

Based on Google’s Analytics, I realize that people who visit this blog know much more about the United Kingdom and its culture than I may ever know. And I ask, as someone who loves British books, films, foods, histories, and modern culture, for people to share their knowledge with me. Or, at least, to give me tips on where to find true, solid information about the UK.

Right now, I ask for information regarding all things frightening in the UK. If my readers know scary British authors or movie directors, then please, share the wealth! I will research and share with all my American friends who also enjoy all the frightening things imported to us from the UK.



Fruit Gums – Nestle’s Sour Candy – A Critical Review

Fruit Gums

Fruit Gums are sour! Above and beyond what is normal for my dull taste palette. Seeing my pinched-faced reaction to the sour candy made my husband chuckle, though. He enjoyed the Fruit Gums, finding them pleasantly tangy and flavorful. If my fellow American has overlooked this particular candy, then allow me to describe who makes the sour candies, where to find them, and how they taste.



Nestle, a British-Owned Company Known Throughout the USA

Fruit Gums
Rowntree created both Fruit Gums and Fruit Pastilles.

I have very fond memories about – what I considered – the world’s best chocolate candy bar, named Crunch. Located in Oregon for a family reunion during my childhood, my father sat me down and happily explained to me about the Nestle company. Sadly, I retained nothing but the name: Nestle.

On the other hand, when I found out about Nestle’s British roots, I was ecstatic! For I learned I’ve been enjoying British candy since my childhood. And now I’ve learned about the company’s expansion into other food products, such as Fruit Gums.

To be specific, Fruit Gums comes from Nestle’s subcompany, called Rowntree. From this subcompany comes the various and distinctly British candies. Today I will talk about their traditional-flavored sour Fruit Gums.



Where to Find Nestle’s Fruit Gums in USA’s Northern California

Fruit Gums
We loaded up on all the UK candy.

Anyone who has searched through my previous blog posts will know exactly how much I love two particular markets in Northern California: Nugget Markets being my top favorite, and Cost Plus World Market standing solidly at second place. In this particular instance, the sour Fruit Gums came from Cost Plus World Market.

I remember writing before about the wide variety of British foods and candies found at Cost Plus World Market. There had once been question as to their products’s origins. However, the market’s products seem to  actually come from other countries, for my British friends seem to recognize the candy.

Earlier in Spring 2017, Alex and I had the opportunity to load up on British candy from this particular market. Unfortunately, we will need to load up again at a later date, for it went bad from the 100ºF and plus weather, which the Sacramento Valley has been suffering under for months. Therefore, to provide my readers with the full British experience, I will need to buy them again to review them!



We Know the Fruit Gums are Sour, but How Else Do They Taste?

Fruit Gums
We had opened the candy roll with great anticipation.

Before answering this question, I need to clarify a point: These particular Fruit Gums I tried were traditional Fruit Gums, and they had no relation to the intentionally, painfully, and saliva-inducing sour variety. For me, the traditional Fruit Gums have their very own ability to induce saliva. This downgraded the candy, in my opinion.

Otherwise, the Fruit Gums had very pleasant flavors. The traditional flavor list includes blackcurrant, orange, strawberry, and lemon and lime. Admittedly, I had no clue about how the blackcurrant would taste. Upon first biting into the small candy, I thought the candy had molded. Alex corrected me, emphasizing on blackcurrant’s somewhat bitter flavor – at least, bitter according to this American, who dearly loves her sweets. Once I realized my mistake, I thoroughly enjoyed all the flavors!

Alex enjoyed the grid on the candy’s top, but that seems to be where most of the sourness came from. Moreover, only people who enjoy hard candies, like Alex, would enjoy Fruit Gums, for they were made to be hard and chewy. Those who prefer softer candies, like me, would prefer something else.



When Deciding to Try Fruit Gums for the First Time

I object, adamantly and vigorously, whenever I catch someone turning up his nose at a specific food or dish that he has never tried. Everyone has a different taste palette. Even if two people come from the same culture, or even the same family, their tastes can differ dramatically. Therefore, when the question comes on whether to try Fruit Gums or not, I will always encourage people to explore different cultural tastes. And to try the candy!

*      *     *     *     *

Have you ever tried Fruit Gums? If yes, did you find them bitter and sour, or chewy and flavorful? What about the Fruit Pastilles? Have you ever tried them? How do you like them compared to Fruit Gums?



Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game – Critical Review

Imitation Game

Produced in 2014, The Imitation Game used several popular British actors and actresses to promote an ever-increasing, popular movement: LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) pride and accomplishment.

Provided below is a short summarization of the film and the message I gathered from the film’s making. Whether my readers agree with my analysis or not will hopefully provide for interesting and polite discussion in the comments below.



The Story Behind The Imitation Game

Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in The Imitation Game as Alan Turning.

Set in the year 1939, Britain’s secret agency was looking to hire several men to help them break Nazi Germany’s Enigma. For those who don’t know, Enigma had to do with Nazi Germany’s coded communication method. The story revolved around one of the hired mathematicians, Alan Turing.

As the movie progressed, the viewers learned about Turing’s logical mind and antisocial behaviors. The producers made his homosexuality evident early in the movie. And downright blatant halfway through the movie in a scene between Turing and his fiance, whom Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley played.



Imitation Game
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game as Joan Clarke.

Through political means, Turing managed to fire two of his co-workers to provide the funding for the machine he insisted would win the war. It was the first computer ever made. Eventually, after some toil and turmoil, the hired team and the machine decoded Nazi Germany’s Enigma.

As mentioned above, the producers emphasized on Turing’s homosexuality. They detailed a boyhood’s lost love, how the lost love affected his adult life, and the trials Turing underwent when convicted of indecent behavior. Ultimately, the movie portrayed Turing as a war hero and a victim before he committed suicide at 41 years of age.



The Politics Behind The Imitation Game

Imitation Game
The scene where Alan Turing and his team solve the Enigma.

The film’s aesthetics, such as the sound score, were beyond lovely. However, the social and political messaging behind The Imitation Game were nauseating. Though I have heard of it done, never before had I seen a story so flagrantly flounce the simple contributions of a homosexual man.

Throughout the movie, I had been caught up in the story. I rooted for Turing in his job, related to him in his social awkwardness, and sympathised with him for his lost love. However, when the movie ended, I saw the politics. I saw how exaggerated everything was to make Turing look like a victimized hero, all due to his homosexuality.

Thankfully, I had watched this movie on Netflix instead of buying it. For while Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley may rank high on my favorites list, I dislike promoting political agendas. Everyone should have the option to believe in what they will.



My Recommendation on Watching The Imitation Game

If someone reading this blog post belongs to the LGBT community, then he or she will love this movie and should watch it. And anyone who accepts the LGBT community with open arms will also enjoy this movie. However, those who believe the Holy Bible as I do, should find something else to watch. This movie is all about gay pride.

Please, before someone slams me as being a homophobe, recognize that I accept any LGBT member as a friend. However, my beliefs prevent me from accepting their lifestyle. Therefore, I avoid, and advice others with similar beliefs, to avoid political agenda movies, such as The Imitation Game.

Thank you for reading. Please comment below on how stupid I am, or how I may have a point, or the excellent scenery and score in the movie, or more.



Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette” – Critical Review of a Twist on the British Classic

Old Boy's Omelette

Jamie Oliver, a world-renown British chef, pieced together yet another cookbook, called Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, in year 2011. According to the cover, it contains 130 of his favorite British Recipes, which include old comfort foods and modern classics. From this cookbook did I create his version of the “Old Boy’s Omelette.”



Why the “Old Boy’s Omelette” is Ideal to Make in the USA

Old Boy's Omelette
All the ingredients I used for my own version of Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette.”

Looking through this cookbook revealed many recipes which I would find difficult to recreate, due to the unavailability of the recipes’s ingredients. However, the “Old Boy’s Omelette” contained ingredients easily obtainable within the USA. Delighted at this discovery, I took the opportunity yesterday to buy the ingredients in the dish and cook my family omelettes for dinner!

The three ingredients requiring a special run to the grocery store were a sourdough bread loaf, sea salt, and four portobello mushrooms. Luckily for me, we already had the olive oil, quality bacon, free-range eggs, ground pepper, and cheddar cheese. (Albeit, my husband reminded me later the bacon in the UK likely differed from the bacon in the USA. Oh well, everyone in my family has a great appreciation for American bacon.)



What I Added to the Classic “Old Boy’s Omelette”

Old Boy's Omelette
The Angus beef steaks which I seasoned and cooked for the omelettes.

Though I know enough about cooking to know portobello mushrooms are sometimes substituted for meat, I also know my family loves actual meat. So, in addition to the bacon which the recipe calls for, I bought a couple of well-cut Angus steaks to throw into the omelettes.

To adequately prepare the steaks, I brought out a large frying pan, placed the steaks in, and powdered on some salt, pepper, and garlic. Turning the steaks over, I spread more seasoning to the other sides. To give the steaks plenty of flavor, I then dosed the steaks in Worcestershire sauce. I then proceeded to cook them, flipping them every so often.

Once the steaks were thoroughly cooked, I turned off the heat and set them to the side. When they had reached a manageable temperature, I placed the two steaks on a cutting board and cut them into cubes. I removed most of the fat, but kept some for flavor.



Preparing to Make the “Old Boy’s Omelette”

Old Boy's Omelette
The prepared ingredients to throw into the omelettes.

What I did with the steaks, I proceeded to do for the rest of the ingredients. I fried the bacon and cut them into either 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch pieces. Also, I cubed the sourdough bread, cleaned and sliced the portobello mushrooms, and grated the cheddar cheese – lots and lots of yummy cheddar cheese.

As for the free-range eggs, I took four small bowls and cracked three eggs into each. I whisked them with a small whisking utensil. Using the sea salt and ground pepper, I proceeded to pour good amounts of each into the whisked eggs. With this done and the remaining ingredients chopped and ready, all I had left to do was wait for the men to come home for dinner and begin the final step!



Making the “Old Boy’s Omelette” and How They Turned Out

Truly, truly I tried to follow Jamie Oliver’s instructions. However, what resulted ended up looking completely different than the beautiful photo for his take on the traditional Sunday morning meal. But, first, how I cooked the omelettes:

  • Poured olive oil into the skillet, a good amount.
  • Threw in the portobello mushroom slices.
  • Tossed in the sourdough bread pieces.
  • Sprinkled on a few bacon pieces.
  • Threw in plenty of cubed steak.
  • Added lots of cheddar cheese.
  • Mixed everything together with a wooden spoon and let the cheese melt!
  • Then poured in the egg mix.

 

It seemed too easy, and it was easier than it should have been. When I read the instructions, the omelette sounded more like making scrambled eggs. Moreover, the renowned chef instructed me to turn off the heat before the eggs had fully cooked. This, according to this American-born-and-bred individual, was a mistake. For everyone in my family enjoys fully-cooked eggs.



An American Verdict on Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette”

Old Boy's Omelette
Mary Truong’s version of Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette”

Even though I changed the recipe slightly, and even though the eggs ended up slightly liquidy, my family highly enjoyed Jamie Oliver’s “Old Boy’s Omelette.” My father and my husband especially enjoyed all the meat. The cheddar cheese was probably my favorite part, for the portobello mushrooms ended up fried in the olive oil and had lost all their natural flavoring.

My family had already finished their meals by the time I remembered the HP sauce and ketchup, but I’ll try to remember for next time. For my family enjoyed the meal so much as to have it again – only this time with fully cooked eggs.

Have you ever tried “Old Boy’s Omelette?” What about trying Jamie Oliver’s version? Does the ketchup and HP sauce help to cut down the olive oil taste? I think adding tomatoes might make this a great meal too, what do the readers think?



From the Reading Room – Booming Bookazines, New Novels, and Hot-Wired Histories

Reading Room

Greetings, fellow bookworms! I have a little secret to share. It’s about “The Reading Room.” At nine-years-old, I was introduced to the first novel in a series from one of the world’s greatest thinkers and authors. The book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the author was C.S. Lewis.

From that day until now, I have collected over 1,000 novels, histories, devotionals, biographies, and children’s books. All ultimately resulting in the creation of the Reading Room. And British authors, past and current, have written nearly half of the books included in my library. To share and review them with my friends is my intent.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce the latest category to Mary Loves the UK: The Reading Room!



What to Read for the Upcoming Quarter

To provide my readers with some topic range within my upcoming blog posts, I have chosen three different reading materials to review within the next three months. These materials include the following:

  • Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia, a historical novel
  • Roy and Lesley Adkins’s Jane Austen’s England – Daily Life in the Georgian and Regency Periods, a history book
  • BBC’s The Essential Doctor Who – Adventures in Space, a bookazine, printed in the UK

 

My Californian readers can find British reading material like these at local bookshops, such as the Avid Reader in Davis, or at club stores, such as Sam’s Club in Vacaville. If anyone has the will to join me in reading one (or all three!) of the above, please do! I would love to review these books and magazines as a group.



How to Join in the Discussions

To join in what I hope will become future book discussions, I recommend that my readers who have any interest follow these steps:

  1. Follow me! Located on the bottom right-hand corner should be buttons where my readers can follow my blog, or me, on social media.
  2. Choose the books of interest. No one needs to read every book with me. But, if any of my readers have a preference in the books listed to read, then please let me know!
  3. Read every blog post on the books. I will attempt to write a thorough review on each chapter or section in the reading materials. Hopefully they will assist my readers in the discussion.
  4. Answer the questions at the end of the blog posts. No one can have a discussion without questions! Therefore, though I cannot promise the best or most essential discussion questions, I will try to include some for every chapter to encourage discussion.

 

Have I managed to pique anyone’s interest? I hope so. Reading these British books is a treat I cannot deny myself, and one which I wish to share. But, please, if anyone has a preference as to which book or bookazine I should start reviewing in the Reading Room, let me know in the comment section below!