Party Like the Brits, Sort Of

Last night I attended a Lithuanian friend’s birthday party.  She recently spent two weeks doing archival research in London, so the theme of her party was “Great Britain.”  My contributions — Cadbury’s chocolates and a bottle of real English cider, produced in Birmingham, which I found in a local grocery store.  We ate shepherd’s pie and drank gin and tonics and listened to British rock music (with some American and Lithuanian music in the mix).  I don’t know if this is how the average Brit would celebrate a birthday, but the Lithuanians and lone American felt we were doing quite well at things British.

Mostly importantly, I brought to the party a knowledge of deep fat frying.  Growing up in the American South, I spent years watching my grandmother fry chicken and shrimp.  While I have rarely fried foods in this way, I at least have a passing experience of how to do it.  My friend was determined to serve fish and chips at her party.  She had even purchased a deep fat fryer for the occasion.  Despite reading up on the internet, she was concerned that she didn’t really know how to fry fish and chips.  So I strapped on an apron, told her to add more flour to the batter, and got to work.  The chips were easy because she had bags of pre-cut fries.  I was quite pleased with how the fried fish turned out — and the guests seemed to be also since they ate them all.  So if the Ph.D. job market continues to be horrible, I guess I can move into the fast food industry.

I tried to convince them that, if this was a British party, everyone should speak English with me.  But instead, I had an evening of Lithuanian immersion with only a few English-speaking breaks — good language practice!

About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

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