Articles  >  Imagine  >  What They Eat: United Kingdom

What They Eat: United Kingdom

Author: 15.08.2016 | What They Eat
Cuisine of the United Kingdom is a nightmare for nutritionists, gourmets and other healthy food experts. A typical Englishman doesn’t honor art of cooking much and for the sake of saving time often grabs a snack on the go with fresh vegetables and fruits present in the diet purely technically. But should you put some effort into it, it is possible to acquire bright gastronomic impressions on the Albion, too – if you know what and where to look for.

Prior to a trip to the United Kingdom, forget everything were told at school during English classes. Quotable bacon and eggs are only served in hotels to play along with expectations of tourists and iconic phrase “Oatmeal, sir!” can be heard in winter alone: popular belief is that to have hot porridge for a summer breakfast is strange at the very least. Out of “primordial British” dishes, anthemised by Soviet books, fish and chips as well as toast with orange marmalade are still treated with affection by an average Briton.

Truth be told, national cuisine doesn’t exist in the United Kingdom at all. In daily diet of the British grim cocktail of fast food with Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Tai and Latin American delicacies reign. Few gourmets relieve their hearts at Italian, French and Greek restaurants. Trademark of multi-cultured diet of a modern Londoner is now represented by chips and sandwiches richly seasoned with curry – Kipling would have been pretty surprised to learn that East and West get along perfectly within one particular plate. All that proponents of Victorian morals have to console themselves with is the idea that famous five o’clock is still alive in folk memory though recently evening tea has begun drifting smoothly into dinner.

It isn’t customary to do magic over a stove. In weekdays many make do on ready-to-cook food and takeaways postponing traditional family dinner till Sunday. Most popular breakfast in London is sausages with beans in tomato sauce or even just flakes poured over with milk. Place of old-fashioned lunch with broth and rusks has been taken be folded sandwich with fish, ham and pate, baked buns with meat and tikka masala chicken – grilled slices of marinated chicken fillet in hot tomato sauce.

For Sunday Roast they serve cold starters, vegetable soup and substantial meat dishes replacing bread with puddings made of grains and grated vegetables. Thermal treatment of products is reduced to minimum: true English beefsteak oozes with blood while vegetables are sent to stew half-raw. Boiled rice with tomato sauce serves as a garnish for beefsteak more often than not but sometimes ladies don’t mind indulging their home folk with Yorkshire pudding made of whipped-type dough with addition of spicery.

Roast beef plays first fiddle during meals – delicate fillets of beef baked in oven with potatoes, grated carrot and cabbage; and juice of fried pork and beef mixed with spices and simmered onions turns into mouth-watering gravy sauce. Also, bake made of ground meat enjoy popularity: Shepherd’s Pie with lamb meat and mashed potatoes and Beef Wellington – beef with mushrooms wrapped in dough. Selection of spices is behindhand in diversity however it doesn’t lack distinction: it is believed to be routine practice to season pork with apple jam and pork – with mint sauce. At that veal with ground horseradish strikes home!

Against the background of unified tastes of eternally rushing city dwellers, old countryside recipes stand out with juicy local color. Cornwall is famous for its pies stuffed with chopped meat, potatoes and carrots, a native of Yorkshire cannot resist blood sausage smoked on fire and ineradicable habit to ground mashed potatoes with vegetables and onion gives away the Irish. In Scotland they like veal rumen stuffed with inners, shortbread cookies, clap bread and eggs boiled in cured fillet or chopped meat. Should you feel like trying some fruit bread or crispbread made of red algae, your road is the one to Wales.

Though a true gentleman would never admit affection to sweet dishes, a true lady would always take care of a desert. Favorite delights of both children and adults are plum pudding, muffin and trifle – layered sponge cake with cream, custard and berry jelly.

Practical mindset of the British manifests eloquently in attitude towards food, too. Why throw away remains of a past feast if you can cook bubble-and-squeak – finely chopped meat, fried in a pan together with whipped eggs? And an intriguing name toad-in-the-hole harbors a revived sausage past its freshest, sautéed in oil with mashed potatoes that resembles a toad’s head sticking from beneath a snag, indeed.

Flipside of everyday austerity of ordinary British are fantastic culinary experiment in vogue establishment, turned into vanity fairs. If a bill of at least three hundred pounds sits fine with you, pay a visit to iconic Fat Duck restaurant, awarded a chain of prestigious prizes for achievements in the field of molecular cuisine. Permanent chef Heston Blumenthal is tireless about shocking clients with eccentric novelties, offering them to try venison in chocolate or ice-cream made of scrambled eggs with ham.

From gastronomic point of view combination of pigeon flesh with pistachios is curious and was previously regarded as unacceptable until the master came up with the idea of using pancetta bacon as a transition link. Truth be told, conservatives still confine themselves to familiar delicacies of beau monde and order grapevine snails salad, pumpkin risotto with hazelnut and rosemary, crabs in fois gras and oyster ravioli with goat cheese year after year. Fidelity to traditions is an exceptional privilege that one should be proud of.

It will be interesting:
Bolivian cuisine is the diversity of flavours, mostly inherited from the ancient Indians. Only in Bolivia, you can enjoy authentic dishes cooked according to their indigenous recipes, not influenced by European trends. After a hearty dinner of banana puree with alpaca meat, sitting comfortably in a rocking chair with a mug of the traditional Mate drink, you will feel perfect enjoying the stunning sunset above the mountain slopes.
What They Eat: Malaysia
It is easier to try teasing odor of Malay cuisine than to describe it. Give a shot at throwing into a boiling kettle a thimbleful of India and a pinch of China, spice it up with pungent infusion of Indonesia and sultry spirit of Morocco, add a couple of drops of Siam and stew on slow fire for several hundred years watching scattering of Portuguese influence melt in checkered amalgam of culinary traditions of peoples of Malaysia – and you will taste bliss.
Gastro-tourism is the most important part of any trip to the Caucasus, as food for local people is culture and national code, the same significant as architecture, mentality and folk art. Today it is turn for Armenia to enrich our section dedicated to the cuisines of the world;here are some authentic Armenian foods you cannot afford to miss.
What they eat: Albania
Flavorous Çömlek, refreshing Tarator and warming Skanderbeg – what is it that we’re talking about? If Balkan countries are far from you and you didn’t spend your latest vacation by Adriatic Sea, today we’ll fill in the gaps and invite you to Albania but not for a simple tour but to the kitchen so if you manage to come back without extra kilograms, you can be safely awarded a self-mastery medal.
What They Eat: Peru
We continue publishing travel essays of our reader Ia Zaitseva, that are dedicated to Peru. Today she shares her impressions of Peruvian cuisine that is rightfully considered one of the most diverse and delicious in the world.
What They Eat: Latvia
It is commonly believed that Latvia is all about Riga’s seashore, ancient cozy cities and perfect climate. All of it is true, but somehow many forget local cuisine. Having visited the country, Outlook cannot but share a story of delicious and sometimes very unusual dishes.
What They Eat: Belgium
There is no other country in the world that has suffered so much from restaurant critics as Belgium. Riding superficially on waves of French-Italian mainstream, glossy publications scold Belgians mercilessly for their provincial tastes and universal cult of potatoes. Just think of it: to chase seafood with vulgar French fries and serve potato pudding as a main dish!
What They Eat: Algeria
Outlook launches new column where we’ll be telling about world’s national cuisines. These texts will be interesting not only for gourmets and chefs but also for those who like to keep up and learn new stuff. Today we’ll have a look at Algerian kitchens and tell about traditional and most popular dishes from this great country.
Outlook facebook page