Thursday, August 26, 2010

At least now I don't have to worry about being a nanny

Time for the very last British grocery item I'll be trying (at least for now).

It's something called "Barley Water".

Have you ever seen Mary Poppins?
Y'know the part where the two kids are singing about what kind of nanny they want, and one of their criteria is that she shouldn't "smell like barley water"?

I never understood that.
I remember asking Mom what it meant, and she didn't know either. Her best guess was that it referred to some kind of alcoholic beverage, and the kids were saying they didn't want to smell booze on the nanny's breath.

This sort of made sense, until I saw an actual bottle of barley water in the British aisle of the supermarket.

According to this, it's made by boiling barley (like you would if you were making barley soup) and using the leftover cooking water as the base for the beverage.

It tastes... strange. I involuntarily made a "yuk" face after I tasted it. Then I made another "yuk" face, except that one was totally voluntary.

I tried it diluted in water (as per the directions on the bottle), and also tried it diluted in Sprite.

My advice: Save the barley for soup, and throw out the cooking water.


Subby said...

You can dilute it any way ya wanna...castor oil tasted better!

Try a Kosher section next ( just lookin' at Gelfilte fish makes me wanna hurl! )

nonamedufus said...

Heard of swamp water and toilet water but barley water? Hey, maybe they're all one in the same!

00dozo said...

I'd say 'yuk' too! The only thing I'd do with that water is use it for making gravy. It must be an 'acquired' taste to drink it.

@Subby: Don't knock gefilte fish - yeah, it looks awful, but it isn't really that bad. It tastes better with red or white horseradish, too!

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...

It's interesting how much growing up with things influences how you feel about them. I drank a lot of barley water when I was a kid, because I'm half British as you might recall, and I still like it now. Same thing for steak and kidney pie, which is pretty repulsive when you stop to think about it.

Recently, though, I saw a show about Thai kids who stop at fried grasshopper stands after school to snack on--you guessed it--baskets of fried grasshoppers. Salted, of course, because all crunchy foods need to be salted. They eat these things like we eat Freedom fries, picking the legs and stuff out of their teeth with toothpicks.

I'm so glad I'm not half-Thai.

Subby said...

@00dozo, we-eelll, ya di' mention horseradish :P and I'll try anything once ;)

Anonymous said...

I love their Lemon barley water, not keen on the orange flavor.

Anonymous said...

Steak and kidney pie mmmm, jellied eels too are a favorite.

PattiKen said...

Bleccchh pretty much sounds like an apt reaction. Sounds gross.

I'll miss your tour down the British shopping aisle. I don't remember, did you try vegemite or marmite? It is SO up your alley, creatively speaking.

Janna said...

Subby: It was pretty nasty stuff, that's for sure. :(

nonamedufus: Now it all makes sense!

00dozo: It might be decent in gravy.... maybe. I guess I'd taste it, in the interests of fairness. :)

MikeWJ: There are fried grasshopper stands? I wonder how much each grasshopper costs. I wonder if I could muster up the courage to try one. And yes, I too am glad that I'll probably never have the opportunity. :)

Subby: Gacccgghh! :0 I hate horseradish. :)

miksplace: The lemon is less repulsive? Interesting...

miksplace: I've done an excellent job of living 40 years without eating anybody's kidneys. I'd hate to ruin my perfect record.

PattiKen: I chickened out on the Marmite. I am a 100% Marmite-Coward. And glad. :)

Anonymous said...

Marmite is nasty unless in very small quantities on toast. Vegemite is the Australian version.


Janna said...

miksplace: The closest I'll ever get to either one is listening to that song by Men At Work. ("Lala laaa laala Land Down Under... la la laaa vegemite sandwich...")