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Differences between the USA and the UK


Captain Slog

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Captain Slog

It's four months now until the future Mrs Captain Slog (aka @Dorothy) emigrates over here to snowy Edinburgh, so it got me thinking.  Are there any really any major differences in our culture, so that I can prepare and try and make her transition as smooth as possible?

 

I'm thinking there may be little things, like I'll be able to serve her proper bacon and decent beer, but is there anything i should order in so she feels at home?  This all came about because she went on about Cookie butter during the Superb Owl, and now I', wondering what else is alien to her here.

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Kalamazoo Jambo

Quick answer is yes, lots of differences. But that’s part of the fun. I’ll come up with a list for you (had one years ago but it may have got lost in the mists of time).

 

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Section N Rules

When we get angry we kip class ( no sure what anyone else called it, but we called it "kipping"!) Anyway keep the firearms away.

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Auld Reekin'

The nutters here tend not to carry guns.

 

The UK didn't elect a very right-wing, obese, untrustworthy, lying, insincere, incompetent, border-line sociopathic, charlatan with improbable hair as leader of the coun... Oh wait....

Edited by Auld Reekin'
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One of the biggest things I’ve found on visits to the US is food. You order something with the same name as something here and it just isn’t. Bizarrely I’ve never really had good Italian food in the states despite the big Italian community. It’s like over the years it’s been diluted and further from the original recipes. You get quite alarmed the first time you order something with a tomato sauce and it’s bright orange and almost sweet. Also decent Indian food in the states is like rocking horse shit. It just doesn’t exist. 

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1 hour ago, Captain Slog said:

It's four months now until the future Mrs Captain Slog (aka @Dorothy) emigrates over here to snowy Edinburgh, so it got me thinking.  Are there any really any major differences in our culture, so that I can prepare and try and make her transition as smooth as possible?

 

I'm thinking there may be little things, like I'll be able to serve her proper bacon and decent beer, but is there anything i should order in so she feels at home?  This all came about because she went on about Cookie butter during the Superb Owl, and now I', wondering what else is alien to her here.

 

Does she swear much?

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7 minutes ago, Ulysses said:

 

Does she swear much?

Ah yes. I’ve suffered from this when I’ve been working in the US. The only time it wasn’t an issue was working in New York and the sound engineer I was dealing with was a pretty rough guy from Staten Island who I got on with like a house on fire. 

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17 minutes ago, Tazio said:

Ah yes. I’ve suffered from this when I’ve been working in the US. The only time it wasn’t an issue was working in New York and the sound engineer I was dealing with was a pretty rough guy from Staten Island who I got on with like a house on fire. 

 

It's very noticeable, especially given that the Scots and the Irish swear a lot.

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1 minute ago, Ulysses said:

 

It's very noticeable, especially given that the Scots and the Irish swear a lot.

It is indeed a Celtic thing. The only other place it hasn’t been a problem is Australia. 

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21 minutes ago, Tazio said:

It is indeed a Celtic thing. The only other place it hasn’t been a problem is Australia. 

 

 

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Kalamazoo Jambo
2 hours ago, Tazio said:

One of the biggest things I’ve found on visits to the US is food. You order something with the same name as something here and it just isn’t. Bizarrely I’ve never really had good Italian food in the states despite the big Italian community. It’s like over the years it’s been diluted and further from the original recipes. You get quite alarmed the first time you order something with a tomato sauce and it’s bright orange and almost sweet. Also decent Indian food in the states is like rocking horse shit. It just doesn’t exist. 


Lots of differences with food. I’m lucky to have a decent Indian restaurant in the area but that’s rare. I’d say Italian food is often Italian-American food, to Tazio’s point. Mexican food tends to be very common.

 

Here are some random thoughts about food and drink that come to mind...

 

Things/flavors very common in US food:

- Cinnamon (can’t get apple pie without it over here)

- Peanut butter

- Pickles (as a side with, or on, burger/sandwiches) - 🤢 

- Mixing sweet and savory at breakfast e.g. bacon and pancakes with syrup (American pancakes not crepes)

 

Classic comfort food / kids food is P, B & J (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and Kraft Mac’n’Cheese

 

Some things very common in the UK that Americans may not be that familiar with:

- British bacon (completely different cut compared to US bacon) - seems like you’re on this one

- Weetabix

- Baked beans in tomato sauce (Most US baked beans are barbecue flavored)

- Sunday roast / Yorkshire pudding

- Marmite

- Branston pickle

- Chocolate digestives (many Americans find the name off putting!)

- Diluting drinks e.g. Ribena, orange squash - this takes a surprising amount of explanation

- Deep fried pizza and other unhealthy crap like that

 

Some brand names will taste different e.g. Mars bars.
 

Cider in the US is basically apple juice (non-alcoholic) unless it’s labeled hard cider.

 

If she likes Mountain Dew, get some in as that can be hard to find in the UK.

 

Of course terminology can be fun:

- Fries are chips

- Chips are crisps

- Jello is jelly

- Jelly is jam (kind of)

- Cookies are biscuits

- Biscuits are - I’m not sure, really

- Eggplant is aubergine

- Cotton candy is candy floss 

- Ground beef is mince

- 2% milk is semi-skimmed

 

Translating recipes can be a pain. Lots of stuff in the US gets measured in ‘cups’ not by weight. Get a set of U.S. measuring cups (also measuring spoons). Americans are less used to using scales for cooking.


Will add more once I’ve consulted the resident American, Mrs K.J.
 

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2 minutes ago, Kalamazoo Jambo said:


Lots of differences with food. I’m lucky to have a decent Indian restaurant in the area but that’s rare. I’d say Italian food is often Italian-American food, to Tazio’s point. Mexican food tends to be very common.

 

Here are some random thoughts about food and drink that come to mind...

 

Things/flavors very common in US food:

- Cinnamon (can’t get apple pie without it over here)

- Peanut butter

- Pickles (as a side with, or on, burger/sandwiches) - 🤢 

- Mixing sweet and savory at breakfast e.g. bacon and pancakes with syrup (American pancakes not crepes)

 

Classic comfort food / kids food is P, B & J (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and Kraft Mac’n’Cheese

 

Some things very common in the UK that Americans may not be that familiar with:

- British bacon (completely different cut compared to US bacon) - seems like you’re on this one

- Weetabix

- Baked beans in tomato sauce (Most US baked beans are barbecue flavored)

- Sunday roast / Yorkshire pudding

- Marmite

- Branston pickle

- Chocolate digestives (many Americans find the name off putting!)

- Diluting drinks e.g. Ribena, orange squash - this takes a surprising amount of explanation

- Deep fried pizza and other unhealthy crap like that

 

Some brand names will taste different e.g. Mars bars.
 

Cider in the US is basically apple juice (non-alcoholic) unless it’s labeled hard cider

 

Of course terminology can be fun:

- Fries are chips

- Chips are crisps

- Jello is jelly

- Jelly is jam (kind of)

- Cookies are biscuits

- Biscuits are - I’m not sure, really

- 2% milk is semi-skimmed

 

Translating recipes can be a pain. Lots of stuff in the US gets measured in ‘cups’ not by weight. Get a set of U.S. measuring cups (also measuring spoons). Americans are less used to using scales for cooking.


Will add more once I’ve consulted the resident American, Mrs K.J.
 

Re the biscuits thing I was always fascinated when in American films people had biscuits with their food. Then I was in the US and was in a diner when biscuits were available as an extra so I ordered them. Damned things aren’t a kick in the arse off being scones. Especially horrific if you’re in a southern fried chicken type place. Chicken with biscuits and gravy could put you off America for life. 

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The main thing my wife found on moving to live in Edinburgh was the Scottish humor, we laughed at things funny, serious, and sarcastic, she loved it. She enjoyed our customs guising, first footing, food wasn't a big deal, much of it was a bit different but the basics bacon and egg, stew, soups, and desserts were basically also similar. Had to get used to tea as the main beverage, but the people.the houses were the main differences, but she loved it, an I was the proponent of coming to Canada. 

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Kalamazoo Jambo
1 minute ago, Tazio said:

Re the biscuits thing I was always fascinated when in American films people had biscuits with their food. Then I was in the US and was in a diner when biscuits were available as an extra so I ordered them. Damned things aren’t a kick in the arse off being scones. Especially horrific if you’re in a southern fried chicken type place. Chicken with biscuits and gravy could put you off America for life. 

I have never eaten chicken with biscuits and gravy - it’s the weird gravy that puts me off. Otherwise, biscuits can be OK but generally seem to be a bit salty and less flavorful (that’s a good US term) than scones. I miss a good scone. Will have to up my baking game I guess.

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J.T.F.Robertson

 

What they call "biscuits" are more like scones. 

As for the Captain, be sure to give her a heads-up about the dug shit. :(

 

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2 minutes ago, J.T.F.Robertson said:

 

What they call "biscuits" are more like scones. 

As for the Captain, be sure to give her a heads-up about the dug shit. :(

 

Dug shit on the street is a rare sight nowadays. 

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4 minutes ago, Kalamazoo Jambo said:

I have never eaten chicken with biscuits and gravy - it’s the weird gravy that puts me off. Otherwise, biscuits can be OK but generally seem to be a bit salty and less flavorful (that’s a good US term) than scones. I miss a good scone. Will have to up my baking game I guess.

The gravy is an abomination. Lots of amazing food available in America, just don’t expect the American version of European to be good. As you’re way more aware than me. 

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Kalamazoo Jambo

Next topic: driving

 

Obviously, different side of the road.

 

Alongside the above, steering wheel is on the other side of the car. Mentioning it as when I first moved to the US, it was not uncommon for me to get into the car and discover no steering wheel in front of me.

 

Make sure you look both ways when crossing the road. I know of someone who died because they looked the wrong way before stepping into the road when visiting London.

 

Manual transmissions (“stick shifts”) are not common in the U.S. I’ve probably forgotten how to drive one. Almost everything is automatic here.

 

In most US states, you can turn right on a red light if the coast is clear. Not so legal in the UK.

 

Culturally, the taboo against drink driving is much stronger in the UK than in most parts of the US.

 

Edit: petrol (gas) prices will be a shock compared to the US, but cars are generally smaller/more efficient in the UK.

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J.T.F.Robertson
13 minutes ago, Tazio said:

Dug shit on the street is a rare sight nowadays. 

 

Still see a fair bit when I'm back, depends where you are I guess. *I agree it's better than it used to be.

*not the actual stuff. 😝

 

KJ has a lot more to offer in the "differences" department than my excremental ones.  :(

 

Edited by J.T.F.Robertson
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2 minutes ago, J.T.F.Robertson said:

 

Still see a fair bit when I'm back, depends where you are I guess. *I agree it's better than it used to be.

*not the actual stuff. 😝

How can you notice a wee shite when you don’t even notice massive buildings? 😀

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Kalamazoo Jambo

Tipping is more commonplace in the US e.g. tipping for a round of drinks in a bar is standard.

 

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J.T.F.Robertson
4 minutes ago, Tazio said:

How can you notice a wee shite when you don’t even notice massive buildings? 😀

 

Haha. Believe it or not that's exactly what went through my mind just before "submitting".

I'm a weirdo. :(

 

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Captain Slog
10 minutes ago, Dorothy said:

Too much considering what I do for a living.

Minister?   Nah, that can't be right with how naughty you were in the bedroom.

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1 hour ago, Tazio said:

How can you notice a wee shite when you don’t even notice massive buildings? 😀

He stands on them, that's why he misses massive buildings. Too busy looking at his shoes. 

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8 hours ago, Captain Slog said:

It's four months now until the future Mrs Captain Slog (aka @Dorothy) emigrates over here to snowy Edinburgh, so it got me thinking.  Are there any really any major differences in our culture, so that I can prepare and try and make her transition as smooth as possible?

 

I'm thinking there may be little things, like I'll be able to serve her proper bacon and decent beer, but is there anything i should order in so she feels at home?  This all came about because she went on about Cookie butter during the Superb Owl, and now I', wondering what else is alien to her here.

 

On the foodstuffs - remember to sprinkle parmesan over any Cadburys for that homespun chocolate taste... :sick: 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Captain Slog said:

It's four months now until the future Mrs Captain Slog (aka @Dorothy) emigrates over here to snowy Edinburgh, so it got me thinking.  Are there any really any major differences in our culture, so that I can prepare and try and make her transition as smooth as possible?

 

I'm thinking there may be little things, like I'll be able to serve her proper bacon and decent beer, but is there anything i should order in so she feels at home?  This all came about because she went on about Cookie butter during the Superb Owl, and now I', wondering what else is alien to her here.

 

One thing that is hard to break down into parts is just the complete lack of cultural awareness that you first enter a new country with. A silly example: as I was self-educating on culture/history here, I did a lot of reading, so I often didn't know how to pronounce things until told. Jock "Stine" and Jimmy "Sav-eel" are two that immediately come to mind. Place names are hard enough as it is. :lol: I think it's a bit like learning new English words as a non-native English speaker, since you can't rely on spelling to give you a for-sure pronunciation.

 

I am from the Southwest US so I miss really good Mexican-inspired food (not burrito places). I actually brought a dozen cans of green chiles back over at one point, and I put a roasting joint in my instant pot along with chipotle paste and other spices to make barbacoa. Presumably Lupe Pintos in Tollcross will be a source of great comfort for Dorothy.

 

Kalamazoo pointed out an excellent one: seems to me like everything in the UK has sugar in it possibly even worse than the US, and baked beans are an excellent example of that. If you have baked beans in the States they're not sweetened, so yes, if you want sweet, they're barbecue sauce flavoured. I wish I could get just plain, savoury baked beans to have on toast, because I've never been much of a fan of the mixing savoury and sweet at breakfast thing either, even given where I come from. But I can't get away from sugar-laden beans here. :smile:

 

Actually Kalamazoo's list was superb. The first time I had diluting juice I took a swig of it as-is because this concept was entirely foreign to me :lol: I've not found Polish pickles here that hold a candle to Vlasic pickles in the States.

 

Cheese melts markedly different here—my nachos are not nearly as good as when I make them in Arizona. And I don't mean fake American cheese! :wink: I mean cheddar. It becomes rubbery here, where cheddar in the US becomes pleasingly gooey.

 

Guacamole should never, ever, contain cream, but all the store-bought ones do here, so unless you make your own it's pretty awful, and even then it's not great because avocados are tragic here. It's also hard to find decent tortilla chips.

 

Edited by Justin Z
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17 minutes ago, Justin Z said:

 

One thing that is hard to break down into parts is just the complete lack of cultural awareness that you first enter a new country with. A silly example: as I was self-educating on culture/history here, I did a lot of reading, so I often didn't know how to pronounce things until told. Jock "Stine" and Jimmy "Sav-eel" are two that immediately come to mind. Place names are hard enough as it is. :lol: I think it's a bit like learning new English words as a non-native English speaker, since you can't rely on spelling to give you a for-sure pronunciation.

 

I am from the Southwest US so I miss really good Mexican-inspired food (not burrito places). I actually brought a dozen cans of green chiles back over at one point, and I put a roasting joint in my instant pot along with chipotle paste and other spices to make barbacoa. Presumably Lupe Pintos in Tollcross will be a source of great comfort for Dorothy.

 

Kalamazoo pointed out an excellent one: seems to me like everything in the UK has sugar in it possibly even worse than the US, and baked beans are an excellent example of that. If you have baked beans in the States they're not sweetened, so yes, if you want sweet, they're barbecue sauce flavoured. I wish I could get just plain, savoury baked beans to have on toast, because I've never been much of a fan of the mixing savoury and sweet at breakfast thing either, even given where I come from. But I can't get away from sugar-laden beans here. :smile:

 

Actually Kalamazoo's list was superb. The first time I had diluting juice I took a swig of it as-is because this concept was entirely foreign to me :lol: I've not found Polish pickles here that hold a candle to Vlasic pickles in the States.

 

Cheese melts markedly different here—my nachos are not nearly as good as when I make them in Arizona. And I don't mean fake American cheese! :wink: I mean cheddar. It becomes rubbery here, where cheddar in the US becomes pleasingly gooey.

 

Guacamole should never, ever, contain cream, but all the store-bought ones do here, so unless you make your own it's pretty awful, and even then it's not great because avocados are tragic here. It's also hard to find decent tortilla chips.

 

Don't believe you regarding the UK having sweeter food. I can barely eat a slice of plain old white bread from the US without feeling like I'm at risk of diabetes. 

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The absence/scarcity of American food staples. Don't underestimate how much of a downer not having your favourite brand of something can be.

 

The dining out experience will be different. Our servers go for efficiency - get the customer order, put it through, give them drinks and food. Don't think we're rude by not sitting at your table and chatting with you. We figure you're here to chat with the people you came with, not some random on minimum wage.

 

And regarding tipping, it's not compulsory when dining, no-one will chase you if you don't, but they WILL think you're tight. If you want to avoid that and would like to tip, don't worry about 15%-20%. Round up to the nearest multiple of 5. The server will be quite happy.

 

Travel. We use cars less. Walking a mile or 2 to work, cycling or getting a bus aren't unusual. Also, while a journey may look small on a map, be prepared for it to take a lot longer than you think. Lost count of the number of times Americans would vastly underestimate travelling times. 

 

People have mentioned the swearing but also the different relationships kids have with their parents. They're a lot less deferential over here. It's ****ing unheard of for a kid to refer to an elder with "sir" or "ma'am". 

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CavySlaveJambo
10 hours ago, Auld Reekin' said:

 

The UK didn't elect a very right-wing, obese, untrustworthy, lying, insincere, incompetent, border-line sociopathic, charlatan with improbable hair as leader of the coun... Oh wait....

We didn’t directly elect him because we don’t direct elect our prime minister.  

 

1 hour ago, Justin Z said:

 

 seems to me like everything in the UK has sugar in it possibly even worse than the US, 

 

U.K. Food tends to have sugar when the US will use High Fructose Corn Syrup (aka Glucose-Fructose syrup). 

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jack D and coke
8 hours ago, Kalamazoo Jambo said:

Tipping is more commonplace in the US e.g. tipping for a round of drinks in a bar is standard.

 

That drives me mad in the states. I understand that’s actually how they make their wages but it rips my jimmys tae feck after a few days. Everywhere people have their hand out for a few bucks for even holding a fecking door open for you or lifting your bags without you asking them to. I’ll tip for good service but it’s like everytime someone looks at you over there ffs :lol: 

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b and m have a range of american foods like twinkies for when you are homesick. i dont know if they are the same as the ones sold in america but might be worth a try

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Nunya Business

Tell her to forget literally everything she's ever seen on American TV about what Britain is like. The cultural differences between towns/cities 40 miles apart is significant as well.

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1 hour ago, Norm said:

Don't believe you regarding the UK having sweeter food. I can barely eat a slice of plain old white bread from the US without feeling like I'm at risk of diabetes. 

 

Relish, peanut butter (absolute nightmare to find peanut butter without sugar or palm oil in it over here), beans, the list goes on. I rarely eat white bread, but I'll take your word for it on that one. :thumbsup:

 

Another one is crisps. There are such different flavours over here. "Chicken" or "beef" or "steak" flavoured crisps would be eyed with suspicion in the States. So would "cheese and onion" for that matter, even though we do "sour cream and chives" ourselves.

 

I've never had good pre-bottled chocolate milk here. Dorothy, if you like Hershey's Syrup (as opposed to the chocolate bars which yes Scottish folk, we know they're rank, but Hershey's Syrup is brilliant), you should bring some over—or I've seen it in the big Tescos sometimes.

 

I hope you end up really liking Irn Bru, and fish and chips with chippy sauce, and the way Chinese takeaways make their food (it's much different).

 

Sneaking a bottle of spirits over won't go amiss either. I brought a bottle of salted caramel Canadian whisky and haven't found its like for sale anywhere in the UK, except for silly prices like £60+ (it cost me about £11), so that's pretty cool. :smile:

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1 minute ago, Nunya Business said:

I suppose another big one is the price you see is the price you pay. 

Forgot about that. No mental gymnastics every time you get the messages. 

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5 minutes ago, Norm said:

Forgot about that. No mental gymnastics every time you get the messages. 

 

“Get the messages” :lol: Always loved that turn of phrase.

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Pans Jambo

The popular music, movies, TV shows and clothes are different here than ...oh wait!

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Rodger Mellie

Remind your wife it’s trousers and not pants. I lived in the USA for 10 years and refuse to call trousers pants.

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Joey J J Jr Shabadoo

One of my relatives ordered a fruit salad when out for a meal. They thought they were getting a big plate of fresh fruit, not the pishy, canned fruit in syrup, served in a tiny ice cream dish.

That's another thing - portion sizes are smaller in restaurants, here.

Edited by Joey J J Jr Shabadoo
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Auld Reekin'
1 hour ago, CavySlaveJambo said:

We didn’t directly elect him because we don’t direct elect our prime minister.  

 

I'm aware of that; however, it was an attempt at humour.   :fing25:

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40 minutes ago, Joey J J Jr Shabadoo said:

One of my relatives ordered a fruit salad when out for a meal. They thought they were getting a big plate of fresh fruit, not the pishy, canned fruit in syrup, served in a tiny ice cream dish.

That's another thing - portion sizes are smaller in restaurants, here.

 

Tbh that's just poor from the restaurant in question. It's a reasonable expectation in the States to get nice, fresh fruit (usually melons, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, etc.) when you order that.

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PortyJambo

You won't get half-and-half here.

 

I'd never heard of it until the first time I went to the states when I had a coffee and half-and-half in it was an option. Now I like semi-skimmed in my coffee/tea as don't like it too creamy so thought that might be the equivalent...so the half milk, half cream concoction that half-and-half is didn't go down well with me!

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Joey J J Jr Shabadoo
12 minutes ago, Justin Z said:

 

Tbh that's just poor from the restaurant in question. It's a reasonable expectation in the States to get nice, fresh fruit (usually melons, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, etc.) when you order that.

Sorry, should have clarified, this was in Dirleton, East Lothian. My relatives were over from California.

Fresh fruit in the US (and Canada) is brilliant, and generally huge. I got an apple in North Vancouver, that was about the size of a size 3 football. Huge.

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Seymour M Hersh
1 hour ago, Rodger Mellie said:

Remind your wife it’s trousers and not pants. I lived in the USA for 10 years and refuse to call trousers pants.

 

And trainers not sneakers. 

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12 minutes ago, Joey J J Jr Shabadoo said:

Sorry, should have clarified, this was in Dirleton, East Lothian. My relatives were over from California.

Fresh fruit in the US (and Canada) is brilliant, and generally huge. I got an apple in North Vancouver, that was about the size of a size 3 football. Huge.

 

Oh sorry :lol: That makes a bit more sense then!

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10 hours ago, Kalamazoo Jambo said:

In most US states, you can turn right on a red light if the coast is clear. Not so legal in the UK.

Didn't know that was a thing in the US. Then again, I didn't know it was a thing in a lot of Europe until I first went to Germany. Took me 2 or 3 times of crossing to realise it must be allowed. As for the first 2 or 3 times, I did the quintessentially British thing by waving to the driver as if I was the inconvenience, then shaking my head and muttering away about arsehole drivers. Genuinely spent the first hour or so in Germany thinking it was a country full of shit drivers. :rofl: 

1 hour ago, Justin Z said:

I've never had good pre-bottled chocolate milk here. Dorothy, if you like Hershey's Syrup (as opposed to the chocolate bars which yes Scottish folk, we know they're rank, but Hershey's Syrup is brilliant), you should bring some over—or I've seen it in the big Tescos sometimes.

I'll have you know that I think Hershey's bars are ****ing tidy! Growing up, it was probably the only American sweet that I saw in shops so it was pretty exotic to me. I get why folk might not like them, especially compared to British chocolate (although Cadbury is pretty shite these days) but I love the flavour. Sadly, plain Hershey bars are quite rare in the shops these days. Only seems to be the Cookie ones I see. I did a wee while ago however, have a mint choc chip one. ****ing tidy!

 

Never tried the syrup though. I live next to a big Tesco so will keep an eye out.

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