WTF is a crumpet? No, but really. I recently found myself trying to answer this question when I realized I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Everything that had come out of my mouth was a lazy, half-witted attempt to sound knowledgeable. My words were right out Modern Jackass’ food section, the imaginary publication featured on This American Life filled with “experts” who speak confidently about things they know nothing about. After eating my pride, I decided it was time to actually go eat some crumpets and find out what they are. 

For the first episode of WTF Is A, I visited New York’s honorary British embassy, Tea & Sympathy, and asked its owner Nicky Perry, “What the fuck is a crumpet?” She said, “They are similar to English muffins, but have a much softer, yeasty feeling.” As she pointed out, there’s really not anything quite like it on the American market. 

The top of a crumpet looks like the surface of the moon, and the bottom resembles a perfectly browned pancake. Once toasted, the exterior becomes crusty, while the interior stays soft and almost gooey. Crumpets can be covered in peanut butter, jam, and Marmite, but I favored the most common topping, butter. Pro tip: Wait until the butter melts through the top’s pores and pools in the crumpet’s center for ultimate glutenous greatness.

And if you don’t know, now you know.