British Food & Gift Shop

Month: January 2013

Lost in translation

It’s no secret that the meaning of certain words and phrases is often lost during conversations between Americans and Brits, and  The British Connection is no stranger to this.

Seeing as we are located in America, many of our customers are American.

So if you’ve ever been in the store and wondered what the heck we are talking about, here are some basic translations of the most commonly misunderstood words:

Pudding = Any dessert

Pudding in America often refers to a dessert with the consistency of mousse or thick custard (ex. Jello pudding cups), but in Britain a pudding can refer to any sweet dessert. For example, items such as Sticky Toffee Pudding and Spotted Dick are essentially just moist sponge cakes and bear no resemblance to a “pudding cup.” Yorkshire puddings, however, are intended to be savory and served with a roast dinner.

Sweets = Candy

If we direct you to the shelves with the “sweets,” we’re just letting you know where you can find the chocolate, fruit chews, toffees, mints, etc.

Crisps = Chips 

When we say crisps we means chips. The most popular brand of crisps in the UK is “Walkers,” which comes in flavours that non-Brits might find peculiar (Roast chicken!? Prawn cocktail!?). And if we ever say chips we mean fries.

Biscuit = Cookie

You wont find any American biscuits in our store. While an American biscuit bears a close resemblance to a traditional English scone, a biscuit in Britain simply means a cookie. They’re often hard, rather than chewy, making them perfect for dunking in a cup of tea.

Gravy = Think turkey gravy, not “biscuits and gravy”

Our gravy is not as thick as the gravy that would accompany an American biscuit. We sell “gravy granules” (in chicken, beef, or veggie flavours) for you to mix with hot water and serve up with your Sunday roast. Easy!

Bangers = Sausages 

When you see “bangers” in our freezer section, you’ll see that they are just sausages. You’ve probably heard of the British dish “bangers and mash,” which simply refers to a meal of sausage, mashed potato, and gravy. Very traditional.

Tea towel = A nice dish cloth

Tea towels are kept in kitchens for drying dishes and hands. They are not intended for cleaning counters. Brits love their tea towels, which come in all sorts of patterns making them a decorative kitchen accessory. Linen is the most traditional material for a tea towel, and we sell plenty in different designs (in both linen and cotton)! Great for your home or a gift for someone else.

These are just some basic definitions of commonly misunderstood British words, but if you ever hear us say something else that you don’t understand, please don’t hesitate to ask us to translate!


The Legend of Spotted Dick

For such a popular, well-known British pudding, the meaning behind its name is surprisingly mysterious.

The first documented recipe of “spotted dick” was found in Alexis Benoist Soyer’s 1849 book, The Modern Housewife or Ménagère, suggesting that Brits have been enjoying this dessert for hundreds of years.

Yet while the recipe has been passed down through generations, the origins of the name seem to have been lost.

Often igniting giggles from unsuspecting Americans who find the dessert in the “international” isle of supermarkets, Brits actually have a difficult time explaining and justifying the name.

According to the Huffington Post, here’s what we do know:

  • “Spotted” refers to the dried fruit (such as currants and raisins) in the pudding.
  • “Dick” may be “corruption of the last syllable of pudding,” a “corruption of dough,” or a reference to the German meaning of “dick” (thick or viscous).
  • In the 19th century, other than referring to its usual connotation, “dick” was also associated with abbreviations for dictionary, apron, policeman, and a riding whip.

So make what you will of spotted dick, because it appears there is no one agreed upon meaning for its name.

What we do know, though, is that it is a beloved British pudding. It has a place in popular culture, in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and a place in many homes in the UK.

So if you fancy trying the pudding for yourself, head over to The British Connection and pick up a can of Heinz or Aunty’s Spotted Dick. There’s only a limited amount left!

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try to make your own?

Ingredients vary depending on the recipe, but no matter which one you choose, we’ll help you get started with a few products: Shredded suet, currants, and brown sugar.

Both BBC Good Food and Epicurious have their own recipes.

Finally, whether you’re trying a pre-made or homemade version, it wouldn’t be complete without Bird’s Custard. Enjoy!

Heinz Spotted Dick

Heinz Spotted Dick


If you’re a serious spotted dick fan, we sell spotted dick t-shirts and badges! Perfect for gifts.







Recipe of the day: Flapjacks

Looking for an indoor activity for these gloomy Washington afternoons? Baking is a great way to stay occupied and fight the winter blues (not to mention it has a delicious outcome), so head over to The British Connection and pick up a couple ingredients!

Today’s suggested recipe is flapjacks (the British kind of course). They’re easy to make and serve as a great on-the-go snack or lunchbox treat for kids.

The British Connection has two products to get you started: Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Tate’s Demerara Sugar.

Lyle's Golden Syrup

Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Tate's Demerara Sugar

Tate’s Demerara Sugar

Here’s the full list of ingredients and the preparation method:


  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 175g/6oz golden syrup
  • 175g/6oz muscovado sugar (you can use demerara sugar as a substitute)
  • 350g/12oz porridge oats
  • half a lemon, finely grated zest
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and grease and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, lemon zest, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the over for 40 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.

This recipe is an adapted version of Lorraine Pascale’s.