Horror of horrors. Cadbury has been acquired by Kraft! Cadbury, practically the national mascot of Britain, goes to Kraft – an American company that makes cheese. Cheese and chocolate – these are both European domains. The US does not belong in Cadbury. My childhood fantasies are being shattered this very moment.
The Americans need to stick to their strong points: no matter how much you may sniff at wrap-around central heating, once you have tasted of it, you may not want to cling to a lukewarm radiator in the evening. And an American traveler in the U.K. will quickly notice the paucity of clean public toilets/restrooms as well as the relatively inaccessible public facilities. Yet as designers of sink-faucets, Americans can brag about rational design: I have never once encountered a sink that featured separate hot and cold taps, that ensured you froze or burned to death if you tried to make your wudu (ablutions) for prayer.
As for food in general, well, British food was resuscitated from deathly pallor by South Asian fare, and American food has been cast into a coma by KFC and McD’s, so that’s neither here nor there, except when speaking of vinegar-sprinkled British fish-n-chips. Speaking of chips, ‘fries’ that are really toothpicks do not appear to serve much purpose by way of food, and the Americans would do well to mimic how the rest of the world fixes potatoes.
Of course when it comes to connecting a country with a web of punctual trains, the U.S. performs poorly, preferring to let loose armies of square ugly vehicles that crowd the land from sea to shining sea. But the people even in those cars are more likely to exchange pleasantries with you at traffic lights than those hurtling along in the little itty bitty cars in the UK.
Though one should say that Americans certainly beat the British when it comes to smiling – or talking – or laughing – or being nice, or effusive. Maybe this was a strategy to keep more warm-blooded swarthy immigrants away, and to send them to friendlier shores. Indeed, Americans are far better at talking about nothing as well as avoiding talking about uncomfortable subjects than their British counterparts. Watching British television, news or political debate makes Americans feel like they’ve been bruised and beaten.
Compare, for instance, “The Office” (UK) with “The Office” (US). One gives you stomach acid. The other features a series of rather lovable eccentric characters getting into a series of harmless and silly pickles. Viewers accustomed to American sit-coms might find themselves scratching their heads and picking up their dictionaries to watch “Chef!” which isn’t even that complicated.
But when it comes to chocolate, let’s get it straight. Snickers (shudder) is not equal to Mars. Whitman’s Sampler is nothing like Quality Street. Three Musketeers is definitely not Aero. Flake, Bounty, and Galaxy have no equivalent in the US. As for Reese’s, well, in my book, the relationship between chocolate and peanut butter is simply an inappropriate one. Kraft would be krafty to keep its grubby hands off Cadbury’s standards. Keep out the vegetable oils, and leave the dairy and the cocoa in. Stick to sink faucets.