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Monday, October 03, 2005 

Corpulent

#42: Complete and utter lack of buttermilk.

Look, I respect all the cultural differences and adore all of you and blah blah blah. However, if you are going to deny me certain foods, then at least have the decency to provide the general public with the ingredients (i.e. there's little in the way of Mexican food, but I can buy black beans at Borough Market and tortillas, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream dip, etc and make my own Mexican food.) If you people are going to insist that a "biscuit" is, in fact, a "cookie," that's fine by me. I'm down. But then at least allow me to make my own biscuits, which I can't do, because I can't obtain buttermilk (and unlike peanut butter, can't have it imported.)

I've had this conversation at least four times in the last month:

Me: Hey, do you have any idea where I could get some buttermilk?
Hapless Local: Some what?
Me: Buttermilk.
HL: I don't even know what that is, let alone where you could get it. What is it, like.... Butter in milk?
Me: I actually have no idea.
HL: No wonder you Americans are all so fat.
Me: It's not actually butter in milk, I don't know what it is. It's gross, I'd never drink it.
HL: Then...
Me: No, I need it for this recipe. I have this awesome recipe for buttermilk biscuits.
HL: You can buy biscuits...
Me: No no, American biscuits. Big, soft, bread-y, dough-y things. For breakfast, with butter and jam, that sort of thing.
HL: Oh! You mean scones!!

No, not scones. Scones are sweet, scones are afternoon tea. I've hit a wall. They don't even sell biscuits at McDonald's here! And I thought all Mickey D's were about the same, give or take. Lesson learned. I'm willing to bet that the McDonald's home in Maryland isn't selling a McCurry Chicken sandwich, either.

Hey, for many years I struggled in vain for buttermilk, but now I can buy buttermilk at my local Sainsburys (Tooting Broadway) and at the Asda in Roehampton.

And I use it to make biscuits.

Without buttermilk, you can achieve much the same effect with greek yoghurt mixed with a little milk, generally available everywhere.

If you're craving biscuits and can't be bothered to make them, try soda farls, sold in many grocery stores. It's an Irish bread, and it's shaped a little funny, but basically it tastes like a biscuit. And it's made with buttermilk!

I think I have also seen Buttermilk in Sainsbury's. I have seen it in recipes, but never cooked with it. Good luck!

Man, my Sainsbury's Local at Waterloo sucks. They don't even sell strawberries!

Try this link, you can get it online, you might have to buy one or two other things though!

http://www.sainsburystoyou.com/webconnect/index.jsp?bmUID=1128406145496

You can make buttermilk. Take a cup of milk and add some vineagar or lemon juice to it. I'm not sure the exact ratio, but I think it's something like a teaspoon to two cups.

That's really all buttermilk is, milk with something acidic added to it.

Mule

I once bought me some buttermilk, having no idea what it was but thinking I'd try something a bit new.

Blleeeeeeuuuuurgh!

I tried giving it to my cats, but they just looked at me. "Are you taking the piss?"

Might be a bit far, but if you want it that much, take a trip to Wales and ask for 'llaeth enwyn' It's buttermilk - you'll have no trouble finding it there.

Maybe I can get some for you next time I'm home!

Did commenter #1 above recommend SODA FARTS???? I admit I have the wrong glasses on today.

Waitrose, Sainsbury's (some branches - Give Nine Elms, near Vauxhall, a try), Tesco (some branches - Give Earl's Court and Covent Garden a try). Also places like Selfridges food hall and Harrods food hall are likely to have stocks of ex pat esoteria like that and lots more.

When you make them, let me know. I'll pop in and test a few. :-)

Waitrose, Sainsbury's (some branches - Give Nine Elms, near Vauxhall, a try), Tesco (some branches - Give Earl's Court and Covent Garden a try). Also places like Selfridges food hall and Harrods food hall are likely to have stocks of ex pat esoteria like that and lots more.

When you make them, let me know. I'll pop in and test a few. :-)

If you want buttermilk so bad, go back to the states. You can't expect everything to be like it was back home. You've been in London for a year and now you're complaining about no buttermilk? Obviously you didn't need the biscuits that bad if it took you a whole year to decide you wanted some. Maybe you aren't cracked up for a different kind of lifestlye.

Quote-Maybe you aren't cracked up for a different kind of lifestlye.

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I think she's managing perfectly fine. If you were in the states you would probably complain about lets say...not having any chocolate digestive biscuits and probably would want to make your own. You would act in the same way so don't be elitist and act like you have a stick shoved up your bottom. No wonder the USA think were snobby with people like you around.

I've been trying to find biscuits in USA restaurants in London ever since I came back from a trip to the southern states last year.
If anyone knows of a place in london that serves biscuits, decent gumbo, catfish etc please let me know as I've been craving them ever since.
Bodeans in Soho is the closest I've found but they only do mediocre gumbo and cornbread...

If you are still looking for buttermilk, I have an alternative. Buttermilk does not last long in the fridge and I always end up throwing it out before I use it up. I did a little looking and found out that you can buy dry buttermilk in the baking aisle just like you can buy dry milk in the baking aisle. That is something you could probably have a friend or family member in the states buy it and mail it to you. It would last a long time too. Just a suggestion. Good luck. I know what you mean about McDonalds Buttermilk bisquits. AWESOME.

I live in Madrid, (I am Canadian and miss buttermilk pancakes...)
I believe English buttermilk is with butter. American is a bacterial culture, like cheese, that changes the lactose to lactic acid.

You can make american buttermilk REALLY easy. Just mix 1 part of the freshest sour cream or non-butter buttermilk (same bacterial culture done with cream) with 4 parts milk, and put in a warm place. The lactic acid stops the creation of nasty bacteria, and the 24 hours later, you got yerself some sour cream.

You have to start a new batch every two weeks or so, cause the culture will die if you don't change the milk... just reserve one part of the buttermilk to add 4 parts milk later.

I find that kefir also works as a buttermilk sub, and yogurt mixed half half with milk works too, as some people have commented.

Cheers,
Matt Ledding, (Canadian Circus artist in Madrid.)

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