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Stupid Britain, sweet Britain

It’s not funny, you guys. Somebody got hurt, you guys.

Did you see this? Some kid in Essex got hit in the face with a flapjack, so his school has banned triangular food. I dunno. Sharp edges, I guess. Insert “assault snack” joke here.

Flapjacks are a kind of ancient British granola bar: oats, honey, raisins and butter baked together. They’re nice. And chewy. And LETHAL.

Eh. Palate cleanser. This lady is the widow of one of the actors who recorded “Mind the Gap” for the subway system. His recording was used on her local line. Sometimes, she went to the station just to hear his voice, after he died.

The last round of computer upgrades changed to a different announcer. So she got in touch with Transport for London. They not only gave her a CD of his recordings, but they’re going to put his voice back in her local station, just for her.



Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 25, 2013, 10:29 pm

Serious, you guys. Food kills. Stop eating & you won’t die.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: March 25, 2013, 10:29 pm

Well, obviously guidance is needed, and the Essex County Council isn’t giving any.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 25, 2013, 10:39 pm

Square food is for them dumb L7s out in the burbs.

Comment from Redd
Time: March 25, 2013, 10:44 pm

Mind the Gap: Okay, that made me a bit weepy.

Comment from AndStatistics
Time: March 25, 2013, 11:07 pm

so. someone was hurt, presumably by a pointy end, of a flapjack, sooo…. they require flapjacks to have *more* corners? *blink*

also, the only context I’ve heard of “flapjacks” in the US is as a sorta archaic word for pancakes. That’d be an interesting etymology to trace, from granola-bar-thing to pancake.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 25, 2013, 11:27 pm

Yes, yes, clearly the problem is the shape of the food, not discipline. It can’t be that the kids are out of control and the school isn’t controlling them, its the FOOD!

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: March 25, 2013, 11:39 pm

Pretty soon, the powers that be will require every one to be wrapped in cotton batting and food must be well blended before being allowed out in public. Ack.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 25, 2013, 11:54 pm

Oh, thanks for that, AndStatistics. When Uncle B was surprised we didn’t have flapjacks, I told him that’s what we used to call pancakes. And then had a moment of self doubt.

Of course, what they call pancakes are more like crepes.

And the triangular flapjack story was silly enough that the BBC was reporting it with a sneer, so…

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 26, 2013, 12:53 am

My mother called them hotcakes—pancakes that is. I still use her recipe, which dates from the 30s—and uses real butter. I make them every weekend for my dearly beloved husband, who eats them the same way he did when he was a child—layered with lots of peanut butter and too much syrup (Log Cabin, please).

The recipe for the “English” flapjacks reminds me of those Quaker Oats no-bake oatmeal-chocolate drops, of which the Essex school might approve, since they are roundish—no pointy ends. But I will have to try flapjack recipe—Sweet, buttery and chewy is always a hit in my house.

Comment from p2
Time: March 26, 2013, 1:17 am

“mind….thegap”…. I used to love hearing that. Especially with it’s sequel, “stand clear of the doors, please…..” Didn’t know it was an actor tho. Just figured it was some geezer with a halfway decent voice and the ability to enunciate. It’s cool that they brought him back tho. very unstiff-upper-lip of ’em!

Comment from Gromulin
Time: March 26, 2013, 1:40 am

Drunken greeting from La Familia Gromulin, live from Las Vegas. Time to go out for dinner and play my favorite Vegas game: Hipster or Homo? Lots of crossover, so hard to lose. Bartender?

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: March 26, 2013, 1:56 am

They were pancakes in the family of this northeastern USAmerican born to Southron parents–but “flapjack,” to me, is pancake, not granola squares, probably because of childhood reading. Well, actually, we didn’t get to have them all that often–my mother was diagnosed with non-tropical sprue (translation: celiac disease) when I was 7. So stuff cooked in our kitchen with wheat was a relatively rare event. I mean–I though it was DIFFICULT to cook pasta!

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: March 26, 2013, 2:56 am

Well, I for one, have to completely agree with the school management. You think that those flappy jacky thingies are just innocent little food items….

Well, there ARE people out there trying right now to weaponize seemingly harmless biscuits. You and my doctor may just think I’m being paranoid again, but I have PROOF this time:


I rest my case.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 26, 2013, 3:12 am

In America, we’d have lawsuits unless “Mind the gap” was also stated in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and French. And multiple voices reflecting the great diversity of the world. Thats why we don’t do subways very well here.

OK with me. I prefer my own car which I share only with family and friends. No creepy gang bangers scratching their gang logo into the glass. No winos or druggies vomiting in the aisles. No pink/green haired girls with pierced tongues and rings in their noses. etc etc etc

Comment from Dan
Time: March 26, 2013, 3:21 am




[f. flap v. (sense 4 a) + jack.]

1. a.1.a A flat cake, a pan-cake. b.1.b An apple turnover or flat tart, an ‘apple-jack’.

   c 1600 Day Begg. Bednall Gr. v. (1881) 114 My Mother‥could have taught thee how to a made butters and flap⁓jacks.    1620 Taylor (Water-P.) Jack-a-Lent B ij, A Flap⁓iack, which in our translation is call’d a Pancake.    1641 Brome Joviall Crew ii. Wks. 1873 III. 376 Flapiacks, and Pan-puddings.    1825 J. Neal Bro. Jonathan I. 272 Like a flap-jack in a fryin’ pan.    1842 Hawthorne Amer. Note-bks. (1883) 303 We had a splendid breakfast of flapjacks, or slapjacks, and whortleberries.    1871 M. A. Barker Christmas Cake in Four Quarters 294 We told Munro we’d have his flap-jacks for second course.    1945 A. P. Harper Camping & Bushcraft in N.Z. i. 21 To make a flap-jack, mix some flour and baking powder into a thick paste.

Comb.    1872 C. King Mountain. Sierra Nev. vii. 135 Longhurst came upon the boards as a flapjack-frier.

c.1.c A biscuit usu. containing rolled oats, syrup, etc. (Not known to some correspondents in S. England.)

   1935 M. Struan Pop. Home Cookery 234 Date Flap⁓jacks.‥ Cream the butter and sugar and when they are soft work in the rolled oats. Press half the mixture in a well-buttered tin, and spread with the dates.    1942 Radiation Cookery Bk. (ed. 24) 149 Flap Jacks. Ingredients. 6 oz. butter or margarine. 8 oz. rolled oats. 6 oz. Demerara sugar. Pinch of salt.    1950 Good Housek. Tea-Time Fare 34 Syrup Flapjack.‥ Melt the margarine, sugar and syrup together, add the rolled oats‥and bake it in a moderately hot oven. When the flapjack is golden-brown, remove it from oven.    1962 Guardian 17 Nov. 12/6 A proper recipe for genuine oats-and-treacle flapjacks.

2. a.2.a A kind of hydraulic machine (see quot. 1842). b.2.b dial. The lapwing.

   1842 Taylor in Proc. Inst. Civ. Eng. II. 102 For low falls [of water] there were many machines‥for instance‥the old ‘flap-jack’, with a reservoir of water at one end of a beam and a pump at the other.    1847 Halliwell, Flap-jack, the lapwing. Suffolk.

3.3 A vanity case for face-powder.

   1934 Punch 16 May 553/3 A flapjack with a powder⁓puff Might well be indiscreet [as a present].    1941 S. Gibbons Rich House vii. 75 Slowly opening her handbag and taking out her flapjack.

Comment from francis
Time: March 26, 2013, 3:25 am

So… if I wanted a nice fluffy Denny’s style pancake in England, what would I ask for?

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 26, 2013, 4:35 am

I thought Denny’s had opened “restaurants” in England already. You can’t beat their Grandslam breakfast. Taco Bell is there too, right?

Alas, no In-n-Out or Chick-fil-A. I wonder what UK fast food I’m missing?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: March 26, 2013, 4:49 am

I’m pretty sure no one human wants to eat English fast food.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: March 26, 2013, 7:24 am

“Did you see this? Some kid in Essex got hit in the face with a flapjack, so his school has banned triangular food. I dunno. Sharp edges, I guess. “

Meanwhile, in another school, teachers will helpfully provide REAL sharp edges

Comment from JuliaM
Time: March 26, 2013, 7:29 am

“Alas, no In-n-Out or Chick-fil-A. I wonder what UK fast food I’m missing?”


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2013, 11:55 am

Francis: eggs, flour, butter, milk and a skillet.

The Brits aren’t really big on fast food chains, as such. The ubiquitous takeaways here would hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants and doner kebab. Doner is like a giant cylinder of lamb spam that sits in the window all the time with heat lamps on it. It seems violently unhygienic.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2013, 11:55 am

Oh, and fish and chips, of course. Those are getting harder and harder to find, though. Seems like young people don’t eat fish.

Comment from Little Black Sambo
Time: March 26, 2013, 12:38 pm

The kind of flapjack made with oats is also called hardbake in some places.

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 26, 2013, 12:51 pm

I love Fish and Chips, but man it is hard to find a place that serves them. “Alfie’s” restaurants are almost extinct and Long John Silver’s is wretched, most of the time. There are four chain “English” restaurants in San Antonio that do a nice fish and chips; the waitresses wear a plaid and skirted version of the Hooters uniform.

Slightly related: my mother-in-law deep-fries fish by dipping the pieces in Pan-Kits pancake batter. Delicious!

Comment from JeffS
Time: March 26, 2013, 1:31 pm

Deborah — it’s not a national chain (AFAIK), but Skippers serves a tasty order of fish & chips!

Ignore the specialty menu items, go for the basics. The clam chowder is decent, for a mass produced recipe.

Comment from Deborah
Time: March 26, 2013, 2:06 pm

Thank you JeffS! Alas, no Skippers in Texas, but if I ever get back to the northwest states, I will look for Skippers.

Comment from drew458
Time: March 26, 2013, 2:25 pm

Doner kebab is awesome! Very much like gyros, it’s roast lamb with spices on a pita/naan bread with a bit of salad veg and some sauce. Yum.

Ok, if your local one has been spinning around for days on end, yeah, pretty icky. But when they are fresh they rock.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 26, 2013, 6:36 pm

Wendy’s says “Take Away” too. Drive-Thru is the best term, of course, but its cool to have different lingo.

I vaguely remembered Wimpys here. So I researched Wikipedia and yes, there used to be Wimpy USA. But they all went belly up. The English Wimpy has some connection with S. Africa too.

Anyways, the pictures of the food are great! Yum! Big fat Bacon chunks, not the strips like Dennys. BUT, whats up with the Heinz Beans for breakfast. Every single breakfast has beans in it. Eggs, Bacon, hash browns, pancakes, and…..beans. ??

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: March 26, 2013, 7:11 pm

Beans are a pretty popular break-fast thing here on the East Coast of our United States. Not as popular as sodomy & a sound thrashing, though*.

*from what I gather

Comment from David Gillies
Time: March 26, 2013, 7:12 pm

Indian and Chinese are more popular takeaway food in the UK than fish and chips these days. Practically the sole compensation for living in Bradford was the curry. A properly made doner is a thing of joy and beauty. We had a superb kebab joint down the road when I lived in Camberwell. Run by a couple of Turkish Cypriot brothers. Loads of lamb, salad and head-exploding hot sauce, all in a pita the size of a rugby ball, for £1.50. That was nearly 25 years ago, mind.

Comment from mojo
Time: March 26, 2013, 8:00 pm

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger to-day.”
— Wimpy

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2013, 8:05 pm

Oh, Tom. Oh, Tom, Tom, Tom. Those beans. Those beans follow me everywhere. Yes, they are a breakfast food here, but not JUST a breakfast food here. They’re everywhere.

We went grocery shopping tonight. In the bread aisle, the big picture on the wall used to illustrate the concept “bread” was two pieces of white toast with a big, wet, sloppy ladelful of Heinz beans dripping over them.

I punched Uncle B in the kidneys and said, “only in England…”

Comment from mojo
Time: March 26, 2013, 8:11 pm

No Spam? Even with the baked beans?

The Vikings are sure to be disappointed…

Comment from Redd
Time: March 26, 2013, 8:55 pm

I think they eat this black stuff that resembles black tar heroin.


What a way to start the day!

Comment from mojo
Time: March 26, 2013, 9:37 pm

Oh, and: “Serious, you guys.”

Comment from mojo
Time: March 26, 2013, 9:38 pm


Me, I blame the Saxons.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 27, 2013, 12:04 am

You have to admire the cheek of weasels.

Americans invent Heinz beans and then blame us for eating the bloody things!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 27, 2013, 12:20 am

We invented a lot of things I wouldn’t want to eat on toast.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: March 27, 2013, 3:15 am

Yes, HEINZ beans. They identify that brand, as if its something great. Whats up with that?

At my supermarket (aka Costco), they only carry BUSH’s beans. Would the average Englishman complain about not having HEINZ? Would he be able to tell the difference if the chef slipped in Bush brand or some 3rd party brand?

Comment from twolaneflash
Time: March 27, 2013, 4:12 pm

Stark, you truly are a prevaricating poseur. Your “gatherings” are perverse. First, having lived and travelled on the East Coast of USA for over 65 years, I can state with certainty that from Maine to Florida, I have never seen a single bean served for, break-fast as you call it, or as we say in America, breakfast. As for your other two fantasies, sodomy and thrashings: your S&M is showing; put it back in the closet.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 27, 2013, 7:01 pm

I brought over some Bush’s baked beans so Uncle B could try them. He thought they were pretty good, but kind of a different food altogether.

I met a woman on the plane once, bringing Heinz beans TO the United States for her British daughter. Who didn’t think the ones in the US tasted right.

I’d call bullshit on that, but it took me years to find a mayonnaise over here I could stand (thanks, Mark!) and even longer to find correct-tasting saltine crackers.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 27, 2013, 8:28 pm

Ackshly, in the end I concluded that Bush’s beans were a bit over-sweetened for my taste. Which saved the poor weasel a lot of extra hand luggage.

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