Traditional English cuisine is best known for its simple ingredients and flavors. With a complex history, England is still the master of techniques and flavors when it comes to their cuisine. Over time, foreign influences permeated their cuisine, trying to create a more versatile food culture than ever.
The History of English Cuisine
16th and 17th centuries were the time when English Protestants were called the Puritans. They were averse to bold ingredients like garlic and strong flavors owing to Catholic Continental influence. As a result, English cuisine achieved a distinct simplification. The conservative ideas of the Puritans followed them when they moved between Wales, England, Ireland, and Scotland.
After the Second World War, England witnessed an influx of various nationalities and cultures. Chinese, Indian, and North American immigrants flooded the borders and brought along the flavors of chili, garlic, sauces and much more. Today, the English menu includes Thai, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese influences.
Conventionally, English cuisine uses beef, lamb, chicken, fish, and pork as a mainstay. Meat preparations come in various forms with one vegetable and potatoes.
Traditional English Cuisine includes dishes like:
- Roasted Beef, a popular preparation
- Yorkshire Pudding is a dense pudding baked and served with roasted beef and gravy
- Fish and chips is another popular dish that goes well as a snack as well as dinner
- Toad-in-the-Hole is a preparation of sausage using the same batter that makes Yorkshire pudding and is served with onion gravy
- Ploughman’s Lunch is a typical pub lunch made up of gherkins, pickled onions and served with fresh bread
- Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie are an exotic variety of mash and mince pies
- Lancashire Hotpot is a classical meat casserole topped with potato slices and baked
- Gammon steak with egg is a famous dish of England
- Bubble and Squeak is a dish prepared from leftover vegetables of a roast and mixed with mashed potatoes, shallow fried until brown and served with cold meat
- English Breakfast is a full course menu comprising bacon, grilled or fried tomatoes, eggs, sausages, fried mushrooms, and toast. It is traditionally served with a cup of tea, now replaced by hot coffee
- Bangers and Mash is a dish including mashed potatoes and sausages and served with gravy. This is a staple meal of the mainstream working class for decades and is a traditional favorite
- Trifle is a layered sponge cake made of jelly, jam, custard, and cream. Variations of the dish include tinned fruit and alcohol
- Black Pudding is a dish comprising of sausage that is made of blood and filler – fat, potatoes, suet, and bread becomes congealed when cooled
- Spotted Dick is a steamed pudding with dried fruit and suet, served with homemade syrup and custard
- Semolina pudding is a popular creamy dessert made with milk, sugar, and eggs, and served with jam and raisins
- Sunday Roast comprises of roast beef, roast vegetables, potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. It is a complete English meal
Even though English Cuisine is much touted to be bland, it has gained international esteem due to traditional flavors. Dishes like Fish & Chips, Apple Crumble, Pasties, and Pies have many variations to satiate the taste of modern times.
Amidst worldwide cuisines all over the UK and takeaway culture in the rise, traditional English cuisine is losing its popularity among the new generations in the UK. Nevertheless, if anyone looks for traditional food, they are available around the corner. There are plenty of restaurants still serving authentic British recipes for generations. Maybe a walk in the back streets or asking a senior citizen can help. Or you can spot the traditional eateries and walk-in or order online a takeaway whichever is convenient.