Beans on Toast

     The little tea shop in Cambridge was not the kind of place I would have ever been caught dead if I was still in Los Angeles.  It was an old falling apart dreary building on a rainy day. When I woke up on that winter morning in 2004, I was far from my home in the mountains above Los Angeles. I was across the pond forty miles from London, England.
     I was hungry after my first night of pub crawling the streets of Cambridge. Not a fan of  way to sweet Pim’s or Guinness that drank like a thick beer flavored meal, I was ready to try some real English food. I was about to have my first real English breakfast.
   The tea shop was a run down building. It didn’t help matters that the weather was dismal outside. The inside of the little shop was old, run down and cafeteria like in its design. I was on holiday abroad visiting friends who lived in Brittain for the time being, until the United States Military decided where they would go next.  They informed me this creepy tea shop did the best English breakfast in town, and as I sat at a vinyl table, my fingers running over the cheap paper table-cloth, I will admit I was less than impressed.
   My flight had only arrived the morning before, and even though I felt no jet lag what so ever, I wanted a cappuccino dammit. I have a latte or a cappuccino every morning, but to my dismay I discovered in England they do instant coffee and that is about it. Even if you are lucky enough to find a Costa Coffee at an airport or in a mall, chances are your weak espresso is nothing more than cheap instant coffee. No wonder they are so into tea here instead.
    My friends instructed me to order the tea and what appeared before me was a milky creation and I added a few sugar cubes (yes, actual sugar cubes) to sweeten it up. As I blew on my milky tea and the steam warmed my face, I looked out the rain streaked window at the lives of the English as they made their way to work and to little shops on this busy street. Then I took my first sip of English Tea.
    The tea was slightly sweet and the milk mellowed out the flavor. It was warm and addicting on a cold day and I’ll admit I drank the whole thing before my breakfast arrived and had to order another. I was shocked that I enjoyed it.
   Some one alert the queen! I’m a fan!
   As I was starting in on my second mug of tea, my fingers wrapped around the warm mug and inhaling the spicy fragrances, my meal was set in front of me. I’m a big fan of Vegas buffets, especially breakfast buffets and this could equal them. Did I really order all this food?
    What caught my attention first was the toast fried in what had to be a pound of butter.  My plate was also loaded down with two fried eggs, a pile of beans, fried tomatoes, fried mushrooms, and some disgustingly fatty looking bacon with a weird little sausage link next to it.
    It was time to dig in. We had a busy day with lots of sight-seeing ahead of us and London was waiting for us, a short train ride away.
     Butter melted down my face as I attempted to inhale the toast.
    My friends quickly corrected me. Silly America, in the land of the Brits one most layer their beans on their toast first. Then you whisk your left over toast through your runny egg mess, then you shove some greasy oh god I think this is supposed to be some kind of bacony pork product in your mouth. Then you call an ambulance for the obligatory heart attack soon to follow.
     I wasn’t really a fan of the English variety of fatty bacon. It was more like a super fatty slice of ham that wasn’t cooked enough.
  The breakfast sausage didn’t do it for me either. The English put bread crumbs in their breakfast sausage and that must soak up all the pork goodness. The sausage was a little bland.
   The rest of the breakfast, however was truly amazing. The fried veggies were crispy and delicious. The beans on toast was a treat I needed to replicate at home.
  I was an English Tea addict now that was for sure.
   With a stomach full of tea and butter I was ready for my first morning of sight-seeing around the English country side.

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  1. Jennifer

    You have made me want to book a trip to England, pronto! And my mouth is watering at the breakfast descriptives…although I would probably skip the fatty bacon thing, too!

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