For a long time English cuisine has been mocked for being “non-existent”. That’s probably because Britain, in its imperial times, had access to many different cultures and picked up a lot from them, including culinary trends, with native ones retreating into the shadows. Yet there is such a thing as English cuisine, and here are five of its most delicious staples:
1. Yorkshire Pudding
This super simple dish may not look like much but it’s very versatile, since it goes equally well with the main course — which is why it’s a traditional part of the classic English Sunday lunch — and with jam. Here is one good recipe for a Yorkshire pudding if you want to give it a try.
2. Fish and Chips
This one is a true classic, the English version of fast food, since people rarely make them at home, probably because of all the frying. Typically, the dish includes some fish fillet — haddock, cod, or plaice — that is deep fried in batter (yes, quite unhealthy, indeed), and the most ordinary French fries, here called chips, sprinkled with vinegar. Here is one recipe with a fancy batter.
3. Shepherd’s Pie
The English are big on pies but some of these are not exactly what you think of when you hear “pie”. This one, for instance, a traditional dish, has no crust at all but instead features minced lamb that is stewed with vegetables, covered with mashed potatoes, and then cooked in the oven for a while. Here is one classic recipe, or – if you’re interested, here is a vegetarian version.
4. Bubble and Squeak
The dish with this definitely amusing name is actually made from leftovers, as proof of the prudence of the English people. It’s often made around holidays such as Christmas, when leftovers are almost guaranteed. It’s basically a vegetarian dish, though you could add some bacon, as demonstrated in this recipe.
Finally, something sweet. Yet not too sweet on its own, actually, because scones are traditionally eaten with butter and jam. They are very quick to make, and they welcome any improvisations you’d like to make, such as adding fresh fruit or cream. You can choose a recipe from here.
Celebrity chefs have become a major export of Britain, but the traditional food of the people who live in the middle of the island has taken a back seat for some reason. As you can see, it deserves attention, so go ahead and try some of it!