For the past two weeks, I have been leading an English conversation group, which is made up of diverse, interesting and well-educated people. This week's group included an older gentleman who had lived in England and spoke "rather good English". You can tell that he was older (not quite elderly) from the fact that he used the word "rather" in conversation. I describe him as a gentleman because when I asked for his opinion of British cuisine, he first asked, "What kind of answer do you want?" and because on being told that I wanted an honest answer, he replied that it was sometimes very good.
He then said, "What I liked the most was the eggs. You can eat eggs every day in England."
Now, I have spent a long time trying to explain British/Scottish food to foreigners. I often tell them that we have nice roast meat and delicious baking for afternoon tea. Recently, I have started mentioning to Italians that our butter is better than theirs. I think I will add the story of the old man and the eggs to my armoury.
I also mentioned to the group that, because I work in an English language establishment, I also have trouble finding opportunities to speak English in Milan, especially as all the Italians I meet want to practise their English. The same gentleman told me, "You should insist on Italian. Tell them that they have to pay for English." My opinion exactly, but having heard it from such a nice, well-mannered gentleman, I will now have the confidence to put it into practice.