“What can you tell me about British cuisine?” This question was given to teachers at British Hills who come from the UK, currently, England and Scotland. Their answers were very interesting and insightful. Below is a summary report of the data collected from their interviews.
What is British cuisine?
To begin, how does one define ‘British cuisine’? British cuisine can be defined as any food that is prepared and cooked according to methods commonly credited to Great Britain.
Reputedly, the most common method of cooking is roasting, followed by baking. Both are usually done in ovens. The most typical food items found in British dishes are meat, potatoes, gravy, seasonal vegetables, and bread.
Roasts are usually seasoned with salt, pepper, and aromatic herbs like thyme and rosemary. Baked goods are either bread-based or involve pastry. The standard baking ingredients are flour, butter, milk, eggs, sugar and fat. Often, traditional dishes are described as savoury in taste.
When asked to suggest a dish for visitors to try, teachers from England gave varying recommendations from chicken Kiev, steak and ale pie, to trifle and Sunday roast. However, one dish came up most often: full English breakfast. This dish typically consists of bacon, eggs, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and toast. Additional items can include potatoes, cabbage, black pudding (blood sausages), Yorkshire pudding, and more. The main items are usually fried or grilled and, despite its name, eaten at any time of the day.
Teachers from Scotland recommended local dishes such as Cullen skink (fish soup), haggis (savoury pudding), stovies (potato stew), Arbroath smokie (smoked fish), scotch pie (mutton pastry) and cranachan (dessert). The Scots noted that many of their dishes are soupy in consistency, with hearty, full-bodied flavours.
All teachers quickly noted that the previously stated dishes, while commonly known for their Britishness, are not eaten on a daily basis. Indian, Italian, Chinese and American cuisines had a big presence in their hometowns. Many cafés, restaurants and pubs would serve an array of international dishes such as curry, hamburgers, pizza, noodles, steak, stews, sandwiches and so on. Many claimed that Indian curry was more regularly eaten than those traditional dishes mentioned earlier, and regarded chicken tikka as a ‘national dish’. Chicken Tikka Masala (or Chicken Tikka) was created in the UK by people of Indian descent, and is very popular.
As is the case in many countries, there are certain UK dishes that have very interesting and unusual names. Some of the more notable ones include: toad in the hole (sausages baked in Yorkshire pudding batter), spotted dick (baked pudding dessert), bangers and mash (sausages and mashed potatoes in gravy), faggots (meatballs from pork offal), bubble and squeak (fried potatoes and cabbage), crumpets (small unsweetened pancakes), and rumbledethumps (Scottish baked potatoes, cabbage, onions, cheese). Many of these are simple traditional dishes made from leftover meals.
Try British cuisine at British Hills!
If you visit the UK, please try one or more of the fascinating and delectable dishes from the article. Here at British Hills, you can always visit our Falstaff Pub and the Ascot teahouse, where you can enjoy a variety of British cuisine we have to offer.
Test yourself with the questions below:
The following words were included in the British cuisine article. Can you match the words to their correct meanings?
To have a pleasant smell
A wide variety
Interesting and important
To have a deep understanding
Thickness or texture
According to what people believe
To have an unsweet flavour