Friday, October 27, 2006

The Wind in the Willows Playing Tea for Two

Since we got here I have been trying to get to the bottom of the meals situation in this country.

In the States, there were 3 meals and everyone knew what they were and when you ate them.

Breakfast - sometime soon after getting out of bed.

Lunch - around noon

Dinner - 5:30. followed immediately by dessert, no matter how full you are from dinner.

There was the occasional Brunch, but usually on Sunday when some fancy hotel had an "all you can eat" deal.

Brunch traditionally costs more than a 5 course meal at a restaurant, but they give you a mimosa or champagne cocktail, and a foreign guy in a tall white hat that slices roast beef for you...which seems to make everything come out even.

I always would like a bit more meat, but don't want to look like a pig in front of the foreign guy. But then, it's supposed to be all I can eat, right?

Here in New Zealand, they adhere to the British tradition of eating a new meal everytime the queen farts.

They begin with breakfast, or brekkie, which goes right along like normal. They have eggs, bacon, pancakes, cereals. No surprises here.

Then at about 10:30, the entire country drops whatever they are doing and has tea...morning tea. This consists of tea, coffee, or some other non-alcoholic beverage and some little bit of food. The food will be a scone, fruit, small sandwich.

This morning tea could be eaten alone or with workmates, but it MUST be eaten.

Also, they put milk in the tea. If you ask for honey, you might get a funny look, like you are asking for feces.

Apparently honey is to be put on bread, like jam. Also, take note that you can not bring honey into the country. They harvest their own and it's just like you can't bring "outside food" into a movie theatre in the States, they take your honey away at the airport.

Oh, here, you can bring outside food into the movies, probably even a pizza or pancakes.

At morning tea, kids run to the pastry shop and get meat pies, which I am starting to enjoy far too much myself. My favorites are either steak and cheese or mince, which is just ground beef. They are the right size for a midday snack.

By the way, ketchup here is called "sauce".

If you ask for a hot dog, you get a corn dog. Most people who want a hot dog despise corndogs. So this is pretty funny. If you want a hot dog, ask for an American Hotdog. If you want a sausage, ask for a banger. Bangers never come on a hot hog bun, but wrapped in a piece of wonder bread, like a napkin.

And don't say "napkin", which is a baby diaper. Ask for a serviette if you need to wipe the hands or face.

Note: Morning tea is not a personal is more like a fire drill and lasts about 20 minutes.

About an hour or so later, when you are not really hungry (because you just had tea for Christ's sake), comes lunch hour.

Lunch is like the USA lunch, but actually lasts about an hour.

At some time in the day, you can have a smoko, which is a smoke break. We don't see a lot of folks smoking here as much as the USA.

I do my smokos at home.

At 3ish, there is afternoon tea, which looks very similar to morning tea, but one tends to take it more privately, or with a friend.

Now, what we call dinner, Kiwis call it TEA. You have to be careful if you invite someone for tea and you think you are treating them to a cuppa, but they expect a full multi-course meal.

The best thing is to tell them the time of day the tea will be and they will know what to expect.

By the way, when you treat somebody here, the term is "shout". Like, "I'll shout lunch today since you got the movie tickets".

Or when you get a hole in one, you have to shout everyone in the bar. This is very a rule here and when I joined the golf club, I paid $10 insurance. If I get a hole in one, the insurance will shout the bar. I know good golfers who have no insurance that purposely try NOT to ace a hole.

After this tea, which is sometimes known as dinner, can come dessert. I have also heard it referred to as "Pudding", but that does not mean there will be pudding. In fact, we have seen no pudding here at all.

New Zealand has excellent dairy products and the ice cream is as good as you will find anywhere. Oddly, there are not a lot of ice cream stores like Cold Stone where there are heaps of mixtures of flavors and nuts inside.

Most of the ice cream is sold in grocery stores in plastic containers. Lots of people wash out the containers and use them to store stuff in.

Kids here are crazy about candy. They call them lollies. I have taken to bringing a bag of lollies when I do my relief teaching. All grades even up to high school seniors will shut up and do their work if you give them a stinking piece of candy.

After pudding, and we're talking like 8 pm here, there is supper, which could be coffee and snacks, or a little leftovers from the last tea.

If you are still hungry, there is the ever popular midnight snack, which is universal.

6 hours to go and we will be eating again.

I decided that when we shifted over here, I would start drinking.

It was either that or exercise and it was a tough choice, since I had previously done neither.

The New Zealand beer that most people recognize is Steinlager. But we found that it is a North Island beer sort of like Budweiser and not popular on the South Island.

So I changed to Speights, the South Island beer. I was ordering it every time anyone asked me. I had to be careful not to mispronounce it because it rhymes with MATES not MIGHTS.

Then a Nelson local told me that I should ordering Mac's Gold, from the microbrewery here.

Kimberly even got me a six pack. I never had my own 6 pack before.

But the top is really hard to take off. It has a pull tab on the bottle cap and the cap is smaller than the traditional style so you can't use a church key type opener.

I know I am a rookie at this, but I can't get the friggin' cap off.

I got so exhaused from trying to get to the beer that it felt like exercise.

I had to cool off with a Tui, which may be my new drink.


At 5:31 AM, Anonymous robin said...

So, in your amusing way, are you telling us the next time we see you you will be as big as a N.Z. house? The scones look magnificent though and the honey on top delightful. well, we came up to Showlow for today and I just finished off a small bowl of grits, yum. Love the bubbles on the Bush shots too. You can actually hear his voice out of the bubble! Well, he kind of sounds like John Stewart mocking Bush. love - robin

At 6:37 AM, Blogger Head Monkey said...

One of your funnier posts...Sounds too complicated to me. I think Vicki and I will just go to Mexico instead. Skype.....?? I dunno...I'll look at it. I've been busy playing a woman at the Gaslight.

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Head Monkey said...

Copy and paste

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, i have to comment. i have a wonderful idea that will save you money. send me 5 bucks a year and i will pay the shout when you get an ace. i will also fly to NZ and screw any sheep you wish on main street at high noon with or without a smoko...


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