I Blame the Brits

When I was a kid, I was never hungry. Crowds of adults danced around me, trying to tempt me into eating something. But I hated all food, even the kind kids usually love. I remember being constantly nauseous throughout my childhood because I couldn’t stand the look and smell of food.

And then I traveled to the UK at the age of 14. The climate is different in the UK, and people have different metabolism. Portions are minuscule compared to what we consider to be a normal portion in Ukraine. So for the first time ever, I experienced hunger. And it never went away since then.

After the gallbladder removal last week, the doctor came to see me.

“Do you have any questions about the surgery or the recovery?” he asked.

“Yes!” I said. “When can I eat?”

“Erm. . . What?” the doctor asked, looking like this was an unusual question to hear. “Are you hungry? Erm. . . That’s a good sign, I guess.”

The only time in adulthood when I didn’t feel like eating anything was in the two days after giving birth to Klara. Other than that, it’s always mealtime for me.

I totally blame the small-portion, a-boiled-egg-is-dinner Brits.

10 thoughts on “I Blame the Brits”

  1. It’s been a while since I was in England — but don’t the Brits traditionally eat a HUGE breakfast?


    1. When I was there, I was getting paranoid ideas that people got up early and are in secret from me. I stayed with two families. Both very well-off, upper-middle-class. Maybe that’s why they weren’t eating.


    2. The traditional English breakfast is what you would get in a hotel or B & B.
      At home, what we actually have for breakfast is toast or cereal.


    1. Yeah, they were big on tea. When I once timidly asked if there was anything to eat with tea, they scratched their heads and produced some lemon slices.

      These were extraordinarily generous folks. Just not gastronomically generous.


      1. Tea at my Granny’s included not only the drink but also sandwiches, cold meats and cheese, salad, fruit, and cake. Yum! And that would be just a few hours after a lovely roast dinner. I’m with UDR on this, but then I am British after all 😉 Now I am hungry!


          1. Yeah I’m England there’s tea – the drink, and Tea – tea, scones with jam and cream, cakes, cookies, tarts, quiche, small sandwiches (but a lot of them) etc…

            I think the larger meal-type tea was more of a working class thing, way back when, and I have heard that there are big cultural differences between the north and the south.


            1. Yes, there’s huge North-South differences. I grew up in the North and our main evening meal (eaten at about 5:30 pm) was called “tea” or “teatime”, even though it was a regular meal (fish or meat, with vegetables, potatoes etc) and not the Afternoon or High Tea (the thing with tea, sandwiches, scones, quiche, etc). Lunch was “dinnertime”. When I moved South for university, it took me a while to adapt to having dinner as late as 7 pm. In fact I used to get mysteriously tearful at about 6:30 pm, until I realised I just needed some food!


  2. Maybe it’s a geographic thing. Some years ago I was the friend of a dinner guest (several Polish people). Most of them had been to the UK during their studies and for several minutes they traded stories about how hungry they had been there.
    I think it was a combination of not liking the food that was available (in Polish stereotypes British food is all but inedible, uniquely awful among cuisines) and that meal times were so different so that when their psychological clock said it was dinner time there was very little to eat.


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