I have lived in Arizona, the land of scorpions and regular melanoma checks and being able to carry guns in a grocery store, for over 50 years now. Of all the strange and unusual traits I have picked up over the years (Star Trek nut, genealogy enthusiast, basset hound buff, Philadelphia Eagles fan [in all fairness, on that last one it should be noted that I have never punched a horse]), the most unlikely thing about me is a bad case of Anglophilia.
Like all good obsessions, it crept up on me over the years.
It was inevitable, I guess. When you’re a little girl nicknamed Bess in a world where all your peers are named Jennifer or Linda, you might notice and then start to identify with someone famous nicknamed Good Queen Bess. Throw in a growing love of history, Harry Potter, and Alan Rickman and pretty soon you’re stashing your fish and chips takeaway in the boot while you stop for some petrol as you run some errands as a favour for your mum.
When you have a fascination with the British Isles you don’t just have one hobby. The world is your kipper, so to speak. If history is your thing, look no further than over a thousand years of wars, monarchs, petty squabbling and familial strife. Celebrity gossip? Well, the royal family has been referred to as "state-funded Kardashians" with the public feuding and tell-all books to support it. You like science fiction? I give you 60 years of Dr. Who and I’ll throw in a few seasons of Red Dwarf for good measure. True crime more your thing? I give you the Princes in the Tower, who may have been murdered by a scheming uncle hungry for the crown, and whose bodies have never been found.
Speaking of hunger: British food isn’t just tasty, it’s also a language lesson. “Cookies” become “biscuits,” and “eggplants” are “aubergines,” and a “hamburger bun” is a “bap.” The homely “zucchini” is elevated to a “courgette” and we get all confused when we’re told that a “scone” is a “biscuit” because didn’t we just get told that a “biscuit” is a “cookie” so by the transitive property does that make a “cookie” a “scone?"
And then we come to the British concept of “pudding.” I’ve spent enough weeks lying on the couch watching a baker’s dozen’s worth of Great British Bake Off (or Baking Show, if you’re concerned about the Pillsbury Dough Boy cartel) to know that “pudding” is a synonym for what an American would call “dessert,” which is a massive category of sweet food that describes something you would serve at the end of a meal. But then I read an article about the Kardashian’s Christmas pudding recipe, and since I presume they are British enough to know this kind of thing, makes me think that "pudding" is not a category but a specific recipe. Toss in the “Yorkshire pudding,” where one of the key ingredients is beef drippings of all things, and I’m pretty sure y’all are just trying to see how much mickey you can make us take, and yes I know what that means.
On a more serious note: I’m not a monarchist, but I have always respected Queen Elizabeth, since the days where I found a fellow "Bess." She managed to stay away from the reality show and conducted herself with grace and dignity. I offer my condolences to anyone who is grieving her loss, and raise a pudding, whatever the heck that is, to her memory.
Elizabeth Evans is a local mother, wife, daughter, sister, former stay-at-home mom, former work-outside-the-home mom, former work-at-home mom and a human resources consultant.