One of the divisions my husband managed when he worked for a major aerospace company was in the UK. He traveled there every month and when his trip involved a social event where he needed a date, I got to go. Sometimes, when his company sponsored part of the event, he and I were the official hosts. The man who managed the UK branch office and his charming wife were tasked with keeping us from making any big blunders because we were not familiar with the rules and protocols of proper British society.
Dinner at the Duke’s
We were invited to some really spiffy places. One was a dinner at the home of the Duke of Wellington, filled with loot that was gifted to him as a reward for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo. Huge paintings of Napoleon and Josephine looked down on us from the dining room walls while other works by the old masters were hung floor to ceiling. And Oh, the Silver! One whole room was devoted to displaying sculptures and silverware (including a 1,000 piece serving set) made of silver and gilt. The room where we ate, with seating for 75, had such an enormous silver centerpiece that a hole had been cut in the table so it could rest on the floor since it would have been too tall to fit in the room otherwise.
One of the events that we hosted was the Farnborough Air Show (in 1996, I think). My husband’s company sponsored one of the chalets (fancy tents) where visitors and potential customers could visit while being wined and dined as they watched the show. His company got to show off their new Stealth B2 Bomber, which made a round trip from its base in Missouri to perform a fly-over. The British Harrier Jet, that could take off and land vertically, sat down right in front of us. (I still have tinnitus in my left ear as a souvenir, even though they gave everyone earplugs.)
We had been advised that we might have some members of the royal family show up at our Chalet. I was apprehensive about that possibility and warned my husband that I would refuse to bow to any of them if they did come, not even the queen herself. He said, “That’s OK; you don’t have to. We won.” I’ve never been more proud of him!
Time to Retire the Monarchy?
British royalty continues to dominate the headlines weeks after the death of Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 8th. (And we still have a coronation to go!) She was made the richest woman in the world and all she had to do in return was behave herself and stay in the good graces of those she “served.” As far as I can tell, the job of the “hard working” royals is to persuade others to donate to charities, smile, wave, and show up for ceremonies and lavish dinners. (Could they not contribute more by giving back the millions they are paid just because they are descended from an invader who took over their country in 1066?)
Now seems like the perfect time for them to join the modern world and move on from one of the most odious forms of racism: an upper class granted wealth and privilege based on heredity, a system abolished long ago in most countries, often accompanied by considerable bloodshed. (Forbes Magazine estimated the entire royal family to be worth at least $88 billion as of 2017. It is hard to know for sure since there are laws, one pushed through by the queen herself, that prevent transparency and keep the information private.)
The days of the press honoring a “gentleman’s agreement” not to report the embarrassing antics and scandals of the royals are long gone. The tabloid exposés make it evident that the royal family is not smarter, better looking, healthier, holier, or in any way more deserving than the rest of us.
Perhaps they could replace their flesh and blood monarch with a cartoon character, like our Uncle Sam? How about “Granny Lizzy” or “Uncle Charlie?”
A shared history:
All said, I still love England. It feels like a parallel universe, familiar, yet different. We will always have our shared history and values and they will have plenty of castles, pomp, and pageantry to support a vibrant tourist industry. Although they have a 1,000 year history of brutal colonialism to overcome, in many ways they now have a better record on racism than we do. They abolished slavery in 1833, 30 years before we did, and their society now seems to be better integrated that ours, or at least it looks that way on Brit Box.
Before anyone tells me to “stay to my lane” and stick to writing about food, here is a recipe for a Quick Devonshire Cream, my low-carb interpretation of the clotted cream of Devon, an essential part of a Cream Tea. The one pictured at the top of this post is similar to the one I had at Selfridges in London.
An English Cream Tea
A traditional Cream Tea always includes strawberry jam, clotted cream, and fresh, hot scones (“biscuits” to us Yanks; biscuits are “cookies” to the Brits. The recipe for my biscuits, aka scones, is here.)
To find out how to make a perfect pot of Devonshire Tea, go here.
QUICK DEVONSHIRE CREAM
Put the jam on the hot scone first and then the cream so the cream won’t melt!
8 ounces cream cheese or nondairy cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt, or nondairy sour cream or yogurt
Sweetener equal to 1 tablespoon sugar, such as Allulose, Lakanto Sweet, or a liquid, no-carb sweetener
A pinch of salt
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy. Fold in the sour cream or yogurt, sweetener, and salt. Chill and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve on scones that have been split and spread with sugar-free strawberry jam or use as a dip for fresh strawberries, as below.
Makes about 1⅓ cups with 0.6 grams of net carbs per tablespoon.
DEVONSHIRE CREAM with FRESH STRAWBERRIES
Use long stemmed berries if you can find them.
3 fresh strawberries per serving, about 1¼ inch diameter
2 tablespoons Devonshire Cream per serving (from recipe above)
Granular brown sugar substitute, such as Lakanto Monkfruit Brown or other granular sweetener
Put the strawberries on a plate and use small bowls for the Devonshire Cream and the brown sugar substitute. Let guests dip strawberries into cream first and then into sweetener.
Nutrition data for 3 medium strawberries (add to Devonshire Cream counts above):
Calories: 11.5g; Fat; 0.1g; Carbs: 2.8g; Fiber: 0.7g, Net Carbs: 2.1g; Protein: 0.2g; Retinol: 0 IUs
Other recipes from Great Britain on this blog:
Eaton Mess: https://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/eton-mess-strawberry-meringue-dessert/
Corned Beef and Cabbage: https://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/irish-musings/
Christmas “Plum” Pudding: https://www.carbwarscookbooks.com/christmas-pudding-with-sugar-free-candied-fruit/
© 2022, Judy Barnes Baker