To celebrate British Food Fortnight we have taken a look at the history of the best of British and how our favourite, traditional meals came to our plates. From Mrs Beeton’s famous cookery books, helping us create family favourites, to the love of the fourth meal (a British creation, not the recent phenomena it currently is) we have and still are championing good grub.
A rich history encases our cuisine with influence taken from the Empire and now Commonwealth. With spices being introduced into our dishes from an early era, when the Frankish Normans invaded and brought cinnamon, saffron, mace, nutmeg, pepper and ginger.
With this spice influence we created our own spicy flavours, with ketchup, mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce and devilled sauce. And have made curry a national dish.
British food favourites today make up our staple diet and are well known around the world.
The Great British Breakfast
The famous breakfast, found around the world, is a British champion. Invented in the 19th century, the breakfast is a much loved meal of the day. Now not regularly eaten on a daily basis, the British Breakfast has become a weekend treat, or more than often the go to hang over cure.
Consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast, with extras including black pudding, hash browns (an American influence) and even chips, we continue to indulge in this classic.
Proof is in the statistics, with the UK annual consumption of 450,000 tonnes of bacon, 5,000 tonnes of sausages and millions of eggs!
The Sunday Roast
Traditionally roast beef, referred to as a ‘joint’, is served with roast potatoes, two types of vegetables, Yorkshire pudding, gravy and horseradish. The roast has remained popular due to its cooking technique. Where the dinner could be placed in the oven before church and be ready for the family on their return.
The roast is now a pub classic, with many adopting the carvery style of presentation, incorporating industrial stoneware and forge oven to table dishes. Restaurants have modernised the Sunday classic with alternative meats, like pheasant or venison and vegan/vegetarian options, and interesting presentation styles, incorporating colour into their crockery.
Fish and Chips
The long standing fast food favourite of Britain, long before McDonald’s appeared on our shores. This dish was traditionally eaten out of newspaper. This heritage can be seen today with the presentation styles used within restaurants and pubs, opting for newspaper printed grease proof paper to add a touch of nostalgia to the dish.
Yes, that’s right we did invent the sandwich. The Earl of Sandwich invented the much loved, go to lunch option so that he could continue to gamble and not have a meal disrupt a game.
And with around 11.5 billion sandwiches a year eaten in the UK, it’s clear this invention has become a national favourite.
Regularly found on pub grub menus the sandwich is continually adapted to please the palate. With the options of presentation endless, from boards, plates of all sizes and even take away style tableware, the sandwich lets you explore with not only taste but style.
So here’s a big cheer for British Food and celebrate it this fortnight.