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Letters & Glossolalia
English Food, 2nd Course
from Dean Lenane

First of all, let me start by saying that you are a first-rate humorist, and that you should really submit something to the "Corpse" for publication. If you can craft an extended document with the wit that you demonstrated in your apology to "English cuisine", then you should not deprive the world of your observations. "Derbyshire's premier dog throttler" will now find a place in my lexicon, and be assured, you will be given credit whenever it is used.
     Having said all of that, I believe that you are suffering from certain misapprehensions, and I propose to correct those. My impression is that you believe that I was a tourist in the U.K. and that my opinions of English food were somehow conceived in a slap-dash manner while I was shuffling on and off of the tour bus between the Tower of London and Stratford-on-Avon.
     Nothing could be further from the truth.
     I lived in Europe for most of my adult life. Between the years of 1987 and 1995,1 was regularly in the U.K., often for weeks at a time. I was there on business, the automotive business to be precise, and so my destinations were such garden spots as Peterborough, Coventry, Birmingham, Liverpool and Londonderry. There was nothing "touristy" about this. English management being what it is, there was little reason to visit the U.K. on automotive related business subsequent to 1995.
     I will allow that there is some caricature in my essay. I can only respond by noting that good caricature is generally exaggerated, but requires many immediately recognizable properties consistent with the original. As for ignorance, I can only sadly and dutifully report that my acquaintance with all strata of English society and eateries is in-depth and thorough. I rarely selected an English restaurant myself during all my time there. I was generally subjected to the whims of my colleagues, who were, almost invariably, English.
I would dearly love to be enlightened as to the locations of all five of these good mid-range restaurants you speak of. You may believe me when I tell you that I was looking for them desperately for eight long years. I did not claim that internal organs are inedible; I merely stated that they are not popular in the U.S. As I share no character traits or tastes with Jeffrey Daumer or Hannibal Lechter, I have not "thrilled" to the delights of liver or bone marrow salad. Where I come from, the eating of bone marrow is regarded at best as Sicilian, at worst as merely prol.
     As to eating unhung pheasant, well, as H.L. Mencken used to say, "you may be right", I refuse to eat rotten meat, and if that makes me a sissy, then I stand convicted. All those years playing American Football and the regular fistfights in the inner city bar I managed in Detroit between 1976 and 1979 simply failed to make a man out of me. I guess you had better fit me with a tutu.
     Finally, I would like to address a point where we are in complete agreement. I would almost invariably prefer to drink an English real ale (with the notable exception of "Green King") than any of the unreconstructed bilge waters that my countrymen attempt to pass off as "beer". I thought that I was being complimentary of English ale in my essay, and if this did not come across, then I am indeed correctly admonished.
     In closing, I might offer the observation that while I truly enjoyed your thundering riposte, a quote from one of your greatest authors crossed my mind as I was reading it. To wit: "methinks he doth protest too much".

With Genuine Best Regards,
Dean Lenane


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