However, what about normal British food? Is that just as good—or even better? With a heritage of producing good ingredients and cooking them simply, perhaps natives to our small island should not ignore food grown on our own land.
My husband's two adult sons came over from California, US, to visit last week. One evening, we ordered fish and chips and they tucked into the greasy food until they were fit to burst. Apparently, American chips (fries) are totally different. They put the texture down to the fact that the UK potatoes were grown in very cold soil. While they were staying with their sister, they ate all sorts of exotic food. But, what they longed for was real English food. At midday before their flight, we ate our last meal together at a local pub, offering a roast dinner at a very cheap price. Too much food filled the large plate. However, they made a good effort at eating it, saying they would take away a fond memory. How can roast meat and the accompaniments be so different from American food?
You may not know England's original fare, so I'll set them out for you to explore.
British food has traditionally been based on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and generally served with potatoes and one other vegetable.
The staple foods are meat, fish, potatoes, flour, butter and eggs. Just recently, we are advised that high cholesterol food like eggs and butter are no longer a danger to health. Sigh! I wish experts would make up their minds.
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is served for a traditional Sunday lunch, which is a family affair. Beef is eaten with hot white horseradish sauce, pork with sweet apple sauce and lamb with green mint sauce. Yorkshire pudding, made from flour, eggs and milk, is an oven-baked batter which forms a well in the center. Substitutes for beef could be pork, lamb or a whole chicken; sometimes duck, goose, gammon, turkey or game. Also along with their roast dinner, the 'boys' plate contained a small sausage wrapped in bacon.
Fish and chips. Fish (cod, haddock, huss, plaice) deep fried in flour batter with chips (fried potatoes) dressed in malt vinegar. Fish and chips are usually bought at the 'chippie'.
Ploughman's Lunch is served in Pubs. You get a piece of cheese, a bit of pickle and pickled onion, and a chunk of bread.
Shepherds' Pie is made with minced lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potato.
Cottage Pie is made with minced beef and vegetables topped with mashed potato.
Bubble & Squeak is made from cold vegetables left over from a previous meal. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. The ingredients are fried in a pan together with mashed potato until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. The name is a description of the action and sound made during the cooking process.
Traditional English breakfast: Eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, mushrooms, baked beans. And we can't leave out black pudding which looks like a black sausage, but is made from dried pigs blood and fat.
Other dishes include:
gammon (ham) steak with egg.
Lancashire hotpot—a casserole of meat and vegetables topped with sliced potatoes, pie and mash which comes with a sauce known as liquor which is a curious shade of green and non-alcoholic. Jellied eels are a delicacy often sold with pie and mash.
Red meat hasn't been in my diet for over twenty years. Born in Australia, I wouldn't eat many of these old English dishes, but the fresh fruit and vegetables grown in this green and pleasant land are second to none. We cook all our food from raw ingredients, whereas our American visitors always eat out—something that wouldn't be possible with the prices charged in restaurants here.
What about you? Do you eat your native fare? Or do you like a mix of different cuisines?