Friday, February 15, 2013

Culture Clash: I Like it Hot

   Because America is relatively close to Britain in cultural terms - and getting closer by the day, it's the unexpected little things that throw me.  Like when I'm driving up to the window in Dunkin' Donuts to get my latte.  I make the order and the query inevitably comes back, "Is that a HOT latte?"
  I am stupefied. What kind of idiot question is that? Of course I want a hot latte!  I can't think of anything worse than a cold latte, unless it be a lukewarm latte. But, clearly, Americans like 'em cold to the extent that, in summer, I've started getting a slight complex about requesting a hot one. I have to stop myself going all British and saying, "Well if it's not too much trouble......"
  The same goes for tea. In diners, I've discovered, you have to ask for "hot tea".  There is something called "iced tea", apparently, which is popular among Americans, especially in summer, is available ready made in all kinds of containers and tastes - well, tastes like cold tea. Not for me.
  And while I'm on the subject, my other American tea horror is asking for milk and getting cream. CREAM! Or half-and-half (which we don't, incidentally, have in Britain). Actually IN your tea. Yeugh!  It's possible they have read about something called "cream teas" but these, of course, include cream not IN the tea but WITH it, on scones, with strawberry jam.  But they won't be told, of course. Given half a chance they'll put the strawberry jam in the tea as well.

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