Cuisine of Britain
by Kirsten Hawkins
British cuisine has always suffered from bad press. The simple
homespun fare and plain preparation of most traditional British
foods pales when compared to French haute cuisine, and it’s not
uncommon for food critics to sound almost apologetic when
writing about traditional British dishes as if there were
something shameful in enjoying a good, thick joint of beef with
an accompaniment of Yorkshire pudding. If they speak in glowing
terms of anything at all, it is a nod to the clever naming of
British foods, where dishes like bubble and squeak and spotted
dick appear on restaurant menus.
And yet, for all the snickering and apologetic references,
British cuisine at its best is hearty, delicious, simple fare
on which to fuel the nation that influenced the entire world.
There is no other nation in the world that does a roast of beef
to such perfection, nor any better accompaniment to the
succulent meat than a puffed, piping hot Yorkshire pudding
prepared in its drippings, and few cuisines have a dessert that
can compare with the pure heaven that is a well made trifle or
British cuisine is a blending of the practical with the
nutritious. If it is, as some say, unimaginative, that may be
because the food itself needs little imagination to fancy it up
and make it palatable. It is certainly not because the British
mind lacks imagination when it comes to food the common names
for everyday meals sometimes require a translator just so you’ll
know what’s on your plate. A walk through a restaurant take-away
menu offers such dishes as ‘mushy peas’, steak and kidney pie,
fish and chips and bangers and mash.
There are well-known British dishes for eating at each meal.
Some of the most popular include:
A full English country breakfast includes meat, eggs, pancakes
or toast and side dishes like hash and bangers and mash. It’s
hearty fare, the sort that is set on the table for dinner in
most other cultures. It often includes leftovers from last
night’s dinner, diced and fried together with seasonings and
butter, sometimes called country hash.
The tradition of mid-afternoon tea is one that’s been observed
by the British for centuries. Among the most common dishes
served at mid-afternoon tea are finger-foods like crumpets with
jam and clotted cream, dainty watercress sandwiches and scones
with raisins or dried fruits.
The Sunday dinner has a long tradition as being a family
occasion the one meal of the week at which all family members
gathered. A roast joint of meat beef, lamb, pork or chicken
is nearly a requirement, and it is served with a potato and
vegetable, and very often accompanied by Yorkshire pudding.
Puddings and custards feature prominently in British cuisine.
Baked, boiled or steamed, puddings are usually made with suet
and breading, and studded with dried fruits and nuts. One of
the most popular and delightful British desserts is the trifle,
and there are nearly as many variations as there are cooks. The
base is a sponge cake, often left over from another meal.
Soaked in Madeira or port, it is layered in a dish with
custard, jam, fruits and Jell-O and topped with whipped cream.
The end result is a delicious mélange that is features all that
is good about British cookery plain, practical cooking that is
meant to fill the belly and satisfy the taste buds.
About The Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a food and nutrition
expert specializing the Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food.
Visit http://www.food-and-nutrition.com/ for more information
on cooking delicious and healthy meals.