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      Britain's Cuisine Article
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Cuisine of Britain

by Kirsten Hawkins

Copyright 2005

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

treacle tart.

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.

Sunday Dinner:

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 for more information

on cooking delicious and healthy meals.

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