The traditional food of England has long been recognised for its simplicity of ingredients and flavour. However, England has a complex history and has featured as a major global player. This has meant that people from all over the world have settled in this country, bringing with them flavours and techniques.
Over time, these foreign influences have permeated the English cuisine, creating a more multifaceted food culture than ever before.
Steak and kidney pie with peas and carrots.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, English Protestants formed a group called the Puritans. These ones were averse to strong flavours and bold ingredients (such as garlic, for example) as these had Catholic Continental political references. This led to a distinct simplification of English cuisine. As the Puritans moved between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, they took their conservative ideas with them.
Then, after World War II, England saw the influx of other cultures and nationalities. As North Americans, Indians and Chinese immigrants flooded across the border, they introduced the locals to garlic, chilli, exotic sauces, and much more. Today, Thai, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French influences have also been incorporated into the English menus.
Traditionally, English food uses lamb, beef, pork, chicken and fish as its feature item. The meat is then accompanied by potatoes (in various forms) and one vegetable.
Because all of these products are sourced within the country, they are of the best quality. Fruit and vegetables are amply available and of superior condition.
The following dishes are considered to be traditional in England:
•Yorkshire Pudding (a dense batter that it baked and served with roast beef and gravy)
•Toad-in-the-Hole (sausage in the same batter used to make Yorkshire puddings, served with onion gravy)
•Fish and chips
•Ploughman's Lunch (a pub lunch that is made up of cheese, gherkins and pickled onions and served with chunks of fresh bread)
•Cottage Pie & Shepherd's Pie (mince and mash pies)
•Gammon steak with egg
•Lancashire Hotpot (a meat casserole topped with slices of potato before being baked)
•Bubble and Squeak (the vegetables that have been left over from a roast are mixed with mashed potato and shallow friend until both sides are brown. This is usually served with cold meat)
•English Breakfast (a full English Breakfast comprises bacon, eggs, tomatoes (fried or grilled), fried mushrooms, sausages and toast. This is traditionally served with tea, which is often replaced by coffee nowadays)
•Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potato, served with gravy. This dish was the staple meal of the working class for many decades, but has become a traditional favourite)
•Black Pudding (a sausage made of blood and a filler – fat, suet, potatoes, bread, etc... - that becomes congealed when cool)
•Spotted Dick (a steamed pudding with suet and dried fruit, served with custard or a home-made syrup)
•Trifle (layers of sponge cake, jelly, cream, jam and custard. Sometimes, alcohol and tinned fruit is added)
•Semolina pudding (a creamy dessert made with eggs, milk and sugar, served with raisins and jam)
•Roly-poly (pastry dough smeared with jam or fruit, rolled into a wheel and baked)
•Sunday Roast (comprising roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire Pudding)
•Pies and pasties
Although English cuisine has had the reputation of being bland and predictable for many years, it is gaining international esteem as chefs develop these traditional dishes and flavours. “Fish ‘n chips” is no longer limited by its title, but can be made using a variety of game fish and other seafood, for example. This has meant a complete turnaround in the global perception of the food of this age-old country.
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