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Currently Browsing: The American perspective

How to celebrate the Fourth of July in London

How to celebrate this very American holiday in London? I’ve been wondering that myself for about a decade. The thing about celebrating Fourth of July is that the enjoyment comes from knowing all your family, all your friends, the entire nation is celebrating too. When I lived in in New York, the Fourth meant cookouts in Prospect Park organised by my friends, legendary party-makers and grillers John Fasciano...

Returning to New York City…as a mother

I spent 10 of my most formative years in New York City — those in my 20s and early 30s, drinking, dining, dating, working and generally becoming what passes for an adult. Then I left for London and a British life with my husband. I love London, but New York is still my spiritual home. That just makes it all the stranger that my kids have never been there. My daughter did make a brief appearance at 4 months...

5 ideas for carving Halloween pumpkins

I love doing Halloween with my daughter here in the UK, especially since it’s still in its infancy. There’s a bit of trick or treating, there are a few parties but the celebrations aren’t over the top, like what can be a consumer-fest in the U.S.  I also find the whole super-gruesome costume thing that adult revelers have embraced creepy in the extreme. But one thing I am glad that has caught on...

Are American men more handsome than Brits?

Now that science has solved the question of the Higgs Boson particle, it can move on to the really pressing questions, like “Who is more handsome – British or American men?” Usually my response to hard-hitting questions like this is, “Gentlemen, please, don’t fight – you’re all gorgeous.” But I happened on a scene this week that made me revisit this issue. A friend...

Point to Point horseracing: an American’s guide

In Texas, when we want to eat al fresco before a big sporting event, we tail-gate: that is, we drive the truck to the stadium parking lot, unload the barbecue grill then fix hot dogs and drink beer on the tarmac. It’s fun, but for the past 10 years I’ve grown to love a British twist on the food/sport: the point-to-point. Point to points are steeplechases that got their name because they would take place...

The latest great American import: the doggy bag

The list of things America has given the food world is substantial: Velveeta, the Hard Rock cafe, the list goes on. But now one of our most widespread contributions has finally gained purchase on English soil: the doggy bag. So simple a concept. After your restaurant meal that you’ve paid for, you take home what you haven’t eaten to enjoy later. That might mean having yummy leftovers after a late-night...

Thanksgiving: it’s not the same for expats

Don’t tell me you don’t know what today is! It’s just the biggest holiday in America outside of the gloriously commercial three months of Christmas. What – you don’t know? Well, me neither. Since moving to England, I’ve found that the fourth Thursday in November comes round just like the first, second and third ones and it’s not until a fellow American reminds me that I...

Why Americans should love Guy Fawkes night

Everybody needs a holiday during which you can squirm with anticipation until nightfall, burn your fingers on spent sparklers, and singe your hair while lighting firecrackers. I grew up celebrating Fourth of July in Texas, but I quite like Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK. Not only does it get darker earlier (hurrah!) but you have that crisp chill in the air and the bloodthirsty backstory. It’s too bad that...

The definitive map of the world according to Americans?

One of the challenges as an American abroad – both living and travelling – are the preconceptions people have about us. You know – childlike, fat, shorts-wearing jingoists. Anyone who knows me, knows this isn’t universally true of Americans. I, for one, hardly ever wear shorts. I’ll leave it up to you to decide the accuracy of this map, sent to me by Sarah Ebner who writes the...

My day on 9/11

“This is so fucked up” “What are you talking about?” “Turn your TV on.” Ten years ago I was sitting on my sofa in Brooklyn when my friend B. IM’ed me on AOL Instant Messenger a little after 8:45. I turned on the TV and saw what so many other people did – smoke billowing, newscasters reporting that a plane had hit one tower of the World Trade Center. The two of us IM’ed back and forth, trying to deduce what exactly...

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