Monday, July 14, 2008

Chocolate is a food staple in England, too!

Penhurst Castle - Kenneth and the Perrys
When we came to England over 6 months ago we wondered about what our diet might be like in England. We had heard many jokes through the years about English cuisine, and the jokes were not very flattering usually. It has been a learning process for us, but we have found that we can cook just about anything we could in the States as soon as we figure out the names of the different ingredients and how to make them work. Kenneth has been pleasantly pleased with the availability of GREAT chocolate and CREAMY ice cream. I have been particularly pleased with the wonderful fruit and vegetables. They are very fresh and available year round. Strawberries, melons, raspberries, blueberries, etc. are very, very good here. I think a lot of them come from Spain. In the large grocery stores, there are a variety of foods from different countries. We can now buy taco shells, hot sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, pancake
mix, maple syrup (hard to find), American mustard, hot dogs, hamburgers and even thin sliced cheese for cheese burgers. I have a really hard time trying to find chocolate chips and marshmallows. They are there, you just have to figure out where they put them. I finally found the marshmallows in with the candy bars on that aisle. I cook mostly the same as I would at home except that I have to convert all ingredients from litres, milliliters, grams, and kilograms into teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, pints, quarts, etc. The temperature here is in elcius so we have learned how to convert that into farenheit. All of that old schooling finally has a use.
There is a great tradition here that I am particularly enjoying. The flowers here in the stores are available at very reasonable prices and they are so fresh. Whenever anyone comes to our home to eat or visit, they almost always bring a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. Our house is almost always full of great smelling flowers and I love it. Last week was my birthday and I received enough flowers to fill a big house and since we have a really LITTLE house, our house was filled to the very top with gorgeous flowers from so many thoughtful people that we have learned to love here.
This has been a little slower week for me because I have had the flu. I got a flu shot before we left the States, but I think the Europeon brand of flu just ignored the flu shot and hit with both barrels blazing. Many of our ward members have also been sick. The scariest thing is that I ran out of Nyquil so I have had to supplement with cold medicine from here and it is not nearly as effective. So it has been rather a trial.
We did get the Bishop's Office painted in a soft yellow color and hung some beautiful pictures up so it looks rather smashing. We still have the ladies restroom to do, so we will work on that next week. The chapel is really taking on a great feel and the members seem to love it so we are happy. We have also been teaching some lessons with the Elders, visiting prospective Seminary students for next year, helping the members plan a surprise 4th of July party for all of the American missionaries, visiting part member families, preparing lessons, and continuing work on the home teaching and visiting teaching plans for the ward.
We keep very busy and the work continues to move forward. The weather here is still very cool and rainy. It is beautifully green and all of the flowers that I planted in our back garden are beginning to blossom. Even my tomato plants look really healthy, so we shall see if they produce. We do hear news of some of you through the grape vine. We hope you are all well and happy and that the heat hasn't gotten too many of you down. The cool weather here is nice. We have only had about 3 days all summer when we haven't worn a jacket. I even bought myself a raincoat last week because I was always so cold and wet. I am including a couple of pictures of old tudor homes, down near the London Temple, and Penhurst House, a large stately house in that same area. There are so many incredible places to see here and so much history to learn about.
Take care and have a great week. Cheerio from Jolly Old England!!!