Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Penguin Pie and an Honest Mistake

I should preface this post about penguin pie with a few disclaimers.
  • My husband and I are fairly adventurous eaters.
  • I'm very gullible.
  • Earlier in the day at the same festival where the purchase of penguin pie took place, a vendor was selling kangaroo burgers. If such a thing as kangaroo burgers exist, then doesn't penguin pie seem plausible?

During one of our first weekends here, our town of Stamford was hosting a large, day-long food festival. We thought it would be a great way to get to know the local cuisine and get the kids out for a few hours. Indeed, it was all those things and more. (In fact, our son made the front page of the paper, sliding down the big bouncy slide they had! He now asks each week when I buy the paper why he's not on the cover. Get real, kid.)

For lunch, I indulged my love of ceviche at a Peruvian vendor (hello reader A. from San Francisco who introduced me to ceviche 6 years ago!) while my husband sampled the Moroccan specialties. But we wanted to bring something home for dinner that was quintessentially British, and we're finding that this means some type of meat wrapped in pastry or pie.

There was a meat pie vendor whose line was stretched at least 10 deep. So we figured we should trust the locals and get our dinner there. I sent my husband over to stand in line while I entertained the kids (Which I think involved letting Big Arrow eat a hot dog and Little Arrow eat the bun. They have very fancy palettes these days.)

When my husband returned, he told me he bought a penguin pie. I think I glared at him and rolled my eyes, assuming he purposefully bought the most adventurous item just to challenge me out of my comfort zone. I was fully prepared to make myself a salad that evening. No way was I eating penguin pie.

And I was shocked by the price... 6 pounds for something so exotic? There can't be much actual penguin in that!

As I preheated the stove for dinner, I casually looked at the ingredients. That's when my belly laughing began. "This is just smoked haddock!" I cackled. My husband said, "What did you think it was?" "Penguin! Actual penguin! And I was totally disgusted with you!" He laughed harder than I did.

So rest assured, readers, while we are trying lots of new foods over here, we are not out to hurt the penguin population (with our sincerest apologies to the haddock). And if you find yourself in Britain and are curious to try penguin pie for yourself, I would describe it as potatoes au gratin with smoked fish wrapped in a pie shell. It was interesting, but a little too heavy for my tastes. Although certainly better than our tuxedo-wearing friends would have been. I'd imagine they're pretty blubbery.

My penguin pie mistake hasn't been our only cultural faux pas of this experience. Wait to you hear what happened when we visited Buckingham Palace. I'm sharing that funny story later this week.

And speaking of life in England, I've started writing for Anglotopia, one of the largest websites devoted to British culture. My introductory post is here. I'll be sharing all kinds of tidbits about life as an expat here in England and will share those links as I write them. Be sure you're following Arrows Sent Forth on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick. But mostly I wrote it so that I'll never forget my penguin pie experience.

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