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10 British Foods Americans Just Don’t Understand

10 British Foods Americans Just Don’t Understand


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We’re fascinated by their accents but confused by these 10 foods – read on for enlightenment

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Jonathunder

Stargazy pie is a traditional Cornish recipe.

William and Kate. The way they say “telly” when they mean "television." Simon Cowell. Phrases like “bloody hell.” Americans have been fascinated by the British forever, whether for their self-deprecating sarcasm or their Cadbury chocolates. Even the American obsession with British royalty hasn’t wavered over the centuries since we declared our independence from the king — just consider the excitement over the visit of Prince Charles and Princess Camilla to Washington, D.C., in May.

Click here for 10 British foods Americans just don't understand.

Americans traveling to the United Kingdom may look forward to afternoon tea with scones and dainty sandwiches, a hearty ploughman's lunch in an ancient pub, or even fish and chips served up in a newspaper. But there remain plenty of British dishes that are difficult for Americans to make sense of and that they very well might never end up liking. But you never know. We’ve rounded up 10 British foods, both regional specialties and commonplace offerings, that we just don’t understand – from “pasty barm” to jellied eels. And that's not to mention the fearsome haggis, the curiously named stargazy pie, or the rather unpleasant-sounding crappit heids.

Black Pudding

Black pudding is a traditional dish eaten in England, Scotland, Ireland, and, under other names, various other countries. It is simply congealed pig's or cow's blood, mixed with oatmeal or breadcrumbs as a binder, flavored with spices and onions, and stuffed into a casing. To those who haven’t grown up with the dish, it can be intimidating, though it's really quite delicious. Black pudding can be eaten in thick slices, crumbled, or whole (like a sausage).

Chip Butty

It’s a bizarre name, but the food’s contents itself seems like it would be the average American’s dream if we'd just give it a chance. Butter two slices of white bread, carefully arrange some thick fries (“chips” if you’re British) in the middle, add some vinegar or ketchup, and enjoy.


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!


7 British things that Americans just don’t understand

While we communicate in the same language, our cultures are very different. And sometimes, us Americans just don’t get it.

Disclaimer: contains sweeping generalisations!

Everyone says it’s American football without pads but it’s not. There’s no scrum in American football (FYI: scrum is the only rugby term Americans know). And there are no down markers in rugby. They’re different games and I’d really appreciate it if someone would actually explain it to me.

Americans love their lattes, macchiatos, and iced coffees. In any city, you can’t go three blocks without seeing a coffee shop. But in the UK, it’s all about tea. Just as Americans can be snooty about their coffee, citizens of the UK are particular about their tea. Americans don’t understand life without coffee.

3. The Queen’s power

While Americans are obsessed with the British royal family, we also don’t fully understand their place in British power. Because the UK has a Prime Minister. And the Cabinet. And Parliament. So what does the Queen actually do?

4. Parliament wigs

Speaking of Parliament…what’s with the wigs in the House of Lords?

5. Driving on the left

While other countries were busy changing to right-hand traffic, the UK stuck with left-hand traffic. Why? Who decided this? What was the advantage?

6. British Comedy

With the BBC and Netflix, television shows and movies are accessible all over the globe. Americans can watch British shows and vice versa. Some Americans love British comedies. They laugh at all the right bits and can’t stop talking about their favorite shows. Many of us watch these shows on their recommendations and, well, we just don’t get it. The humour is different, the delivery is different and we’re left confused and slightly uncomfortable. I’m sure there are Brits who feel the same about American comedies…right?

At least this game uses a lot of the same terminology as American baseball, making the concept a little easier to understand. But baseball games don’t last for days. And there’s no break for lunch or tea. It’s hard for Americans to understand how a game lasting for days is extremely popular. We don’t have that kind of attention span!