Do Try to Speak as We Do...

Scotch Egg by Sam Breach 2
Scotch Egg by Sam Breach 2

This, my friends, is a Scotch Egg.  Look at it.  It's exactly what you think it is:  a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded, and then fried. (Are you clutching your heart?)

No, I did not make this one.  I have never made one.  It's possible I shall someday but Scotch eggs strike me as overkill - the sort of thing that sound wildly delicious and then you eat a quarter of one and think, "OK.  Done."  It also seems to me like they must be eaten piping hot...once these babies go cold they probably get pretty lurid.  Just my opinion.  If anyone knows how to make them or swears by them, please do set me straight.

And why am I bringing them up in the first place if not to eat them? must be a READS post!

I first heard of Scotch eggs when I read a book called Do Try to Speak as We Do: the Diary of an American Au Pair, by Marjorie Leet Ford.  It's a little formulaic:  a cross between Bridget Jones and The Nanny Diaries, but a good, light and entertaining read.

Synapsis from Library Journal:  "Reeling from a recent layoff and the possibly permanent postponement of marriage to her longtime love, Melissa takes a position as an au pair to an upper-middle-class English family. It seems like the perfect job. The children are well behaved, the wife sounds charming over the phone, and the husband is a member of Parliament. Melissa's visions of tea, lawn tennis, and elegant parties quickly dissolve upon her arrival in England, when she is handed the tasks of a scullery servant, impossible working hours, children forever on the brink of disaster, and a constant whirlwind of packing and unpacking as the family bounces between their home in London and their crumbling estate in rural Scotland. A faux pas lurks at every turn as Melissa strives to hone her British speech ("Do try to speak as we do!") and manners and to overcome the polite but frigid anti-Americanism of the family's friends and relations. In addition to her other tasks, she must teach three-year-old Claire, who is deaf, to speak the Queen's English. Melissa describes all these trials and tribulations with wit and charm in her letters home."

The food in Do Try is tantalizing:  luscious descriptions of banquets and teas and the aforementioned Scotch eggs abound.  Plus there is a little gem of a book referenced within the book:  Fattypuffs and Thinifers, by André Maurois, which the English children's mother reads to them on picnics.  Written in 1930, it concerns the imaginary underground land of the fat and congenial Fattypuffs and the thin and irritable Thinifers, which is visited by two brothers, the plump Edmund and the thin Terry. The Fattypuffs and Thinifers do not mix, and their respective countries are on the verge of war when Edmund and Terry make their visit.

This sounded like a great book to read to Pandagirl so I took it out from the library.  Turned out to be just a little over her head (this was some years ago) but I went on and read it myself.  It was charming! I think I recommend it just a little more highly than Do Try, and a lot more highly than Scotch eggs.