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We made a little joke the other day about British cuisine. An innocent little joke.

And the emails keep coming…

MNB user Kerry Bamberger, who, it should be noted, works for British Wholesale Imports, wrote:

While it's good to know that "You Say Tomato" is now open and doing its part to make British foods available to the starving hordes in Northern California, it might be worth noting that there are already over 40 wonderful stores in the Bay Area that have been doing precisely that for many, many years. In fact, those stores and other local grocers account for more than $1 million in annual sales of British Foods. So, while it's nice to know that there is yet another source, there certainly has been no lack of British Food or British Food stores in the area for a long, long time.

As far as quality foods are concerned, it's a bit surprising for an American to offer any disparaging comments regarding the gourmet status of the Brits. The U.S. is now known worldwide as a country where half the population is overweight from over-eating fried everything and where the test of a good restaurant is anyplace that can serve up an entire meal within 30 seconds. So we are hardly in a position to criticize. Anyone who judges English cuisine based on a two day trip to London that begins with a visit to Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and ends with a pub crawl probably felt their finest meal was eaten at Wimpy's or the free continental breakfast at their cut-rate hotel. If so, they're missing the point – and also a lot of terrific meals. Not only are some of the finest chefs in the world conceiving and preparing brilliant dishes that have made London a leader in culinary delights, but throughout the British Isles even traditional grocery stores now offer a display of take-out food that puts most American Two Star restaurants to shame.

On the other hand, if Twinkies, Oreos and Frosted Flakes represent the high water mark of fine in-home dining, then it's certainly true that most English packaged foods don't compare. But if world famous chocolates, biscuits, jams, marmalades, teas, and hundreds of other items are to be judged, there can no question that the foods of Britain have it all over the junk that Americans consume on a daily basis.

It was a joke!

Another MNB user wrote:

Considering the state of American supermarkets, convenience foods, restaurants and fast food outlets these past few decades, I think those of you living in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones.

We were kidding. Really.

We love all things British…including the food. We’ve had wonderful meals in London and would choose a vacation in London over almost any other option.

But in case we can’t get there, MNB user John F. Welsh Jr. had some suggestions:

I buy British and Irish food items on the Internet. and have a satisfactory inventory, reasonably priced, and they ship promptly. I was well satisfied dealing with each of them. UK Goods even called me personally on the phone to suggest I change my shipping choice on Cadbury’s Rose's candy for Christmas, making certain it would arrive in the best condition. Both sites are a good substitute source if you don't live in the San Francisco area.

We’ll put in our order ASAP.

Going back to the subject of whether retailers should have a policy of carding everyone who buys booze or tobacco, MNB user Glen Terbeek had an excellent point:

Feargal Quinn of Superquinn, known around the world for customer service, has a sign saying:

"If you are so lucky to look under 21, then surely you don't mind if we ask to check your ID.”

It is all a matter of how it is done!

KC's View: