April 27, 2011

A Brit’s guide to the Royal Wedding

This week, I knew Royal Wedding fever had finally caught on in the Bluegrass State when the frenzied excitement (shared by a few when they would hear my English accent) reached a new cheesy level. Yes, thanks to Louisville’s Papa John’s, the world could see the future king and queen of England on a deep-pan pie. “Royal Wedding fever is sweeping the world, so we couldn’t resist having some fun and creating our very own pizza portrait of Kate and William to celebrate their forthcoming marriage,” said Andrew Varga, Papa John’s chief marketing officer. Now, thanks to Kentucky’s very own pizza people, we can see Kate resplendent in a veil made from mushrooms and a cheese dress, and the handsome groom wearing a suit of salami and peppers. How romantic!

Perhaps it’s only fitting that Kentucky is getting excited by the nuptials across the pond. After all, our state is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite places to visit, as she keeps horses here. I’ve lived in Louisville for more than two years now, and I can’t help seeing the resemblance between my country of birth and my new home: The English and Kentuckians share a love of the countryside, beer, bacon and having a good time. We also share a deep adoration for tea, although you strange Americans will insist on putting ice and lemon in yours, of course.

If, on the morning of Friday, April 29, you are compelled to share in a bit of history and celebrate with the rest of the globe, I suggest preparing an English-style breakfast at home and then following the events as they unfold live on YouTube, CNN, TLC, BBC America (for the best, uninterrupted coverage) or many of the other network channels beginning at 4 a.m. Yes, it’s an early start — but you really need to be able to gasp in delight/horror as Kate emerges from her Rolls-Royce outside Westminster Abbey at 5:50 a.m. … and a sexy sighting of David Beckham in a suit is always worth getting up for — even when it’s still dark outside.

Plan your libations and fuel in advance: The Celtic Store on Baxter Avenue has a delightful array of Brit treats to keep your sugar levels high, and various Krogers around town now stock proper English baked beans, biscuits and tea bags. If you’re feeling inspired the day before, track down Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay recipes online to recreate the sort of sustenance you’d find in Blighty. Scones are always good. As are treacle puddings, apple crumbles and the delightfully named “Spotted Dick,” a sponge cake filled with raisins and drowned in custard.

After you’ve witnessed the kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at around 8 a.m., you’ll have time to take a nap — or get a few hours of work in — before taking your celebration to the bars. By lunchtime, the atmosphere in The Pub or The Tilted Kilt should be raucous enough to warrant a public, rousing rendition of “Rule Britannia,” “Hey Jude” or anything by Adele. Then head to the Blind Pig in Butchertown, prop yourself up at the bar with the handsome prince’s namesake, Billy the barman, order a few pints of Old Speckled Hen English ale, soak it up with their delicious fish and chips (the most authentic in the city, I’ve discovered), and finish up your day of celebrating with a tipsy viewing of “The King’s Speech” at home, sipping Scotch whisky from a Union Jack mug while doing a James Bond impression. That’s what I plan on doing anyway.