British Cuisine

A hundred years of British food, how come!

“There is no good food in Britain,” many netizens will joke. But in fact, popular British dining is spread all over the world, and many of the so-so-sounding meals originated or developed from the UK.

Fish and chips

Speaking of British food, many people will think of fish and chips for the first time. It is a must-order dish for tourists to Britain, and fish and chips restaurants are all over the streets.

Originally sold in inked newspaper to cut costs, fish and chips were a working-class snack. Cheap and offering warmth and energy in cold and wet weather, fish and chip shops were popping up all over Britain by the 1860s, becoming a popular street food.

Traditionally, fish and chips are served with lemon or malt vinegar (which is brown), which has a sour taste that helps to enhance the flavour and reduce the greasy texture of the fry. French fries are usually made from potatoes with a higher starch content and less water content, which tend to have a softer, waxy texture and more bean flavor. Cod or haddock can be used as an ingredient in a special flour coating (different recipes use different flavors of flour; some use milk, others beer instead of water). After frying, the fish’s delicious juices will be locked in the crispy skin, crispy outside and tender inside! Many shops across the UK have their own special curing secret to take fish and chips to a new level.

According to incomplete statistics, until today, there are 10,500 fish and chip shops in the UK, far more than the number of fast food restaurants (McDonald’s, KFC), selling more than 167 million servings of fish and chip every year, 80% of British people go to fish and chip shops at least once a year.

Haggis

Haggis, also known as haggis, is a dish unique to Scotland. It consists of lamb liver, heart and lungs, minced and seasoned with ground beef, oats, Onions, peppers and other spices. Haggis is packed into the sheep’s stomach and cooked.

The origins of Haggis are shrouded in mystery — no one knows when, where or by whom it was researched. Haggis was originally made from pork and gradually evolved into lamb offal as a filling. It has been suggested that Haggis was probably an ancient way of preserving meat during hunting. During the hunting season, it was not easy to preserve fresh food in the wild, so people simply chopped up animal innards, salted them, stuffed them into their stomachs and cooked them. Although it’s not pretty to look at, this way of cooking can keep food fresh in the short term.

Of course, not everyone is comfortable with the recipe for lamb offal. So along with people’s changing eating habits came the all-vegetarian haggis — a filling made from a mix of fresh vegetables, beans, oatmeal and spices that looks healthy based on the recipe.

Steak Wellington

Steak Wellington is a classic British dish known for its juicy, layered, tender texture. It’s made in a way that’s iconic in culinary history — the whole filet mignon is slathered in mushroom sauce and bolognese, then wrapped in buttered pastry and baked. While this dish may look sparse, it is anything but simple to make. Even now, with all the tools available, it’s easy to get the heat wrong.

The origins of the dish vary, but the name of the dish is closely related to the Duke who designed the wellies! Yes, it was him again — Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. He is famous not only in the design world, but also in the history books for winning the Battle of Waterloo.

The steak Wellington was named after the Duke’s admiration for the dish. Rumor has it that the chef cooked it to celebrate the Duke’s victory at Waterloo. The Duke was so pleased that he named it after himself and put it on the banquet menu. Since then, the dish has been favored by countless people and is still popular today.

Full English breakfast

English people love the full English breakfast.

The traditional Full English breakfast has been around for hundreds of years, with origins dating back to the early 13th century. At that time, breakfast was considered the most important meal of the day, so the gentry would provide a hearty breakfast for visiting relatives, friends and neighbors, with a sense of ritual.

By the Victorian period, the breakfast tradition had been further elevated into an art form. In addition to traditional breakfast ingredients, aristocrats will also go to great lengths to find all kinds of exotic ingredients to create a more luxurious breakfast. Breakfast in this period is extremely rich in dishes, even the dishes and utensils used are very elegant.

The Edwardian era has been called the golden age of leisurely breakfasts and garden parties. Breakfast in this period was close to the modern English breakfast, with the usual bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, roasted tomatoes and toast, served with jam, tea or coffee, etc. Because of its convenience, the English breakfast began to creep into every kitchen.

In the 20th century, the tradition of the English breakfast gradually spread from the middle class to the working class. Restaurants serving the English breakfast were everywhere, and the English breakfast was no longer the preserve of the upper class. Interestingly, there is no one standard recipe for an English breakfast, as each region has its own cuisine and ancient ingredients are not easy to find.

Afternoon tea

When did afternoon tea become a ritual? Anna Maria Stanhope, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, invented afternoon tea and pioneered the aristocratic idea of English afternoon tea around 1840. Afternoon tea, unlike evening tea, was held between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and was reserved for aristocrats.

Although the English began drinking tea in the 17th century, the tradition of afternoon tea developed about 200 years later. In the 18th century, people gradually delayed their evening meals, and even in the early 19th century, meals were served at around 7 to 8:30. The Duchess of Bedford often frets about the long gap between lunch and dinner, and gets hungry around 4pm. So she asked a servant to bring her matching Darjeeling tea and meals to her room to fill her hunger pangs.

After having afternoon tea, she felt refreshed. The Duchess also fell in love with this way of life and gradually invited her friends to join her in the afternoon tea, which gave birth to the sense of ceremony. Gradually, afternoon tea became more than a delicious food to fill the stomach. It gradually became a social event for the nobility to show their status. British people brought this ceremony to the world, different countries according to the custom and taste of the improvement, all popular afternoon tea, spread to today.

sandwich

The sandwich originated in England and is said to have been created by an 18th century English aristocrat, Earl John Montagu. Sandwich is also a British place name! It is also the domain of this earl. The count loved cards so much that he often played them day and night. To make it easier for the count to eat with his hands while playing cards, he had his servants put ingredients such as meat and vegetables in bread. The Earl called the dish “Sandwich”, and his fellow poker players were inspired by this convenient and tasty treat. People followed suit, and the sandwich is still popular today.

Sandwiches can be found anywhere in the UK, with nutritious fillings, such as Greggs, Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero, M&S, Tesco and many other popular coffee shops, fast food restaurants and supermarkets. There is also a Sandwich association in the UK, and British Sandwich Week is held at certain times of the year to celebrate the glorious history of this little food and its contribution to the economy.

Having seen so much British food, which one do you like best?

 

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