U S of A versus the Great British Isles
If you were in England over the weekend there is probably a very big chance you or someone you know was watching the football. Not just any run-of-the-mill match, it was England’s opening game in this year’s FIFA World Cup Tournament. And it was against the US. Not a problem for most people but in our house it was made complicated by the fact that my OH is English and I am, yes you guessed, American.
Most of the time, we manage to combine our allegiances to get the best of both worlds. Like spending Christmas in Florida and our summer hols in Devon (okay we have only achieved this once but you get my point). The kids have followed suit with their love of pancakes with maple syrup for breakfast and egg, chips and beans at tea time. They are happy to describe themselves as half and half.
So the few international sporting events (try Wimbledon and the Olympics) in which the countries are on opposing sides can cause a problem or two. There is no question in my OH and son’s mind which team to support. Yeah, England. On the other hand my daughters can be swayed either way. They have other criteria: cute players are a big factor. And me? I just can’t help myself. Yeah it’s USA all the way folks. In the case of international football, this is, in the mind of my OH and son, a sure way of backing the losers. Or at least they thought.
See the two teams drew. It was one all. But perhaps you already knew that.
Just to prove that there was a posse of American supporters actually watching it in the US, my sister texted me three times during the game. She was in a bar in NYC with her fiancé. Apparently the walls shook when the US scored. I can promise you it was pretty still over here when they got that goal followed by a lot of groaning and sighing and shaking of heads. English men do not take kindly to having their team draw with a team that can honestly say “it’s not our national sport”. (I am pretty sure that’s something men from both sides of the pond have in common.)
All this sports competition stuff is done in pretty good humour I might add. I could chant “USA all the way,” every now and again without losing too many friends. Of course when I mention things like “that’s British Petroleum isn’t it?” well then I might have crossed the line (right Karen?). That’s the other little dent in our otherwise harmonious household: Obama’s recent speech emphasising what BP use to stand for.
Good time to keep your hand down then, if rolling your “r’s” is easier than clipping them.
It’s a tight balancing act keeping the peace between the two nations. Sometimes I feel the scales weighing down heavily towards one side and hope that whatever the tensions are causing it quickly dissipates. The thing is I love both places. I swear I was born with a twin, one that calls England her homeland, the other America. Guess it wasn’t a draw for nothing.
So what’s all this got to do with Cinnamon Swirl Bread? Well, when I hear those three words spoken together there is only one thing I think of and that is America. Next week’s post will be decidedly English. I promise. It’s our village fete this weekend and victoria sponges need to be made.
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
This week Susan from Food.Baby picked Cinnamon Swirl Bread from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours. You can find the recipe over at her’s. The ingredients list several optional items, some of which I choose to leave out. I wanted a pure cinnamon sugar taste so I omitted the raisins and orange zest. I also doubled the amount of sugar and cinnamon needed and only used one teaspoon of the unsweetened cocoa powder. Just to complicate matters even more I used brown sugar instead of white. What’s not to completely adore about brown sugar and cinnamon swirled inside the confines of a sweet doughy bread? It was so good that I had two pieces toasted with butter for breakfast. I could have eaten more but that little voice in the back of my head held me back (for once!).
I know homemade bread can seem a little daunting, time-consuming and not worth the trouble now that there are so many options available at the local supermarket. However, I would say although there is a time element when it comes to the rising, the other steps are quick and fairly straightforward. Some will be put off by the yeast but, in this case again, it’s simple. Just make sure the milk is warm while still okay to touch. The other great thing about this recipe is you can make the dough and put it in the fridge over night. So in the morning you can wake up and bake it fresh for breakfast.
There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread rising its way to perfection inside your oven. So go on, let a little sunshine in to your life and bake yourself a loaf.
And in case you want to see a recap of the two goals, here’s a lego version courtesy of http://www.legofussball.eu