Why We Think Traditional English Foods Get A Bad Rap
While some traditional English foods are not as tasty as some of its southern European neighbor’s food, not all of it is that way and they do offer many great tasting recipes.
English food was supposed to be bland. But English cuisine has made extensive use of spices since the Middle Age introducing curry to Europe, and making use of strong flavorings such as English mustard.
It was similarly reputed to be dull, like roast beef. But that dish was highly prized both in Britain and abroad, and few people could afford it.
The years of wartime shortages and rationing certainly did impair the variety and flavor of England traditional foods during the twentieth century. The nation’s cooking recovered from this with increasing prosperity and the availability of new ingredients from soon after the Second World War.
The Real Truth About British Restaurants
In 2005, 600 food critics writing for the British Restaurant magazine named 14 British restaurants among the 50 best restaurants in the world, the number one being The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire.
The global reach of London has elevated it to the status of a leading center of international cuisine. Meanwhile, the list of United Kingdom food and drink products with protected status (PDO) under European Union law has increased rapidly, with 59 items now on the list.
These include among others: Cornish sardines, Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire forced rhubarb, Fenland celery, West Country lamb and beef, and traditional Cumberland sausage.
What Really Is Traditional English Foods
English cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions, and recipes associated with England.
It has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with wider British cuisine, partly through the importation of ingredients and ideas from the Americas, China, and India. These became popular during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.
Some traditional England foods, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, and freshwater and saltwater fish have ancient origins.
English cooking has been influenced by foreign ingredients and cooking styles since the Middle Ages. Curry was introduced from the Indian subcontinent and adapted to English tastes from the eighteenth century. French cuisine influenced English recipes throughout the Victorian era.
After the rationing of the Second World War, the ‘Book of Mediterranean Food’ had wide influence, bringing Italian cuisine to English homes.
Its success encouraged other cookery writers to describe other styles, including Chinese and Thai cuisine. England continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world.
Some of the public does at times eat some odd food that Americans might think you simply should not eat. Spotted Dick, Black Pudding and others do not necessarily bring up visions of a tasty dish but to be truthful they are great.
To be sure some of their food is not that tasty but in most cases, a bit of salt and pepper will change the whole concept. For great pastries and desserts, the English have a leg up in many countries.
What Are the Best Sausages for Bangers and Mash?
For a really classic Bangers and Mash experience, you can’t go past some big, fat pork sausages. Look for good quality ones that are all meat, no fillers – check the ingredients or ask your butcher.
The only sausages I do not recommend using in these traditional England foods are lean sausages because they won’t drop enough juices and fat to make a truly tasty gravy.
If you use low-fat sausages, I cannot be held accountable for lack of flavor in the gravy!!
It’s very simple to make and no different from making gravy for things like roasts – Roast Lamb, Roast Chicken, and Turkey.
5 FAQ For Traditional England Foods
1. Why are Traditional England Foods Thought To Be So Bad?
English food has a bad reputation. Despite gifting humanity with delicacies such as the Yorkshire pudding, mushy peas, and mince pies, English cuisine receives a lot of criticism for being ‘bland’ or just plain weird.
Americans ridicule English gravy-based dishes, while Europeans joke that English cuisine is overcooked.
2. What Makes Food Bland?
A bland diet includes foods that are soft, not very spicy, and low in fiber. If you are on a bland diet, you should not eat spicy, fried, or raw foods. You should not drink alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them.
3. What Are The Most Common Traditional England Foods?
Well-known traditional England foods include fish and chips, bangers and mash, the Sunday roast, steak, full breakfast, kidney pie, shepherd’s pie, and the Christmas dinner.
People in Britain, however, eat a wide variety of foods based on the cuisines of Europe, India, and other parts of the world.
4. What is Britain’s Favorite meal?
Crumpets, with 81% of Britons saying they like them – putting them at a level with a full English breakfast and bacon sandwiches.
Other top dishes according to the public includes bangers and mash (76%), cottage pie (76%), and shepherd’s pie (75%).
5. What Kind of Food is England Famous For?
Fish and chips. Fish and chips have been around since the late 19th century when it became popular in London and southeast England. Here are some other traditional England foods you will want to try.
a. Chelsea Buns
b. Melton Mowbray Pork Pie
c. Bakewell Tart
d. Red Leicester Cheese
e. Bedfordshire Clanger
f. Stilton Cheese
Easy Recipes for Traditional England Foods To Eat
1. Bangers and Mash – Traditional England Foods
The onion gravy is to-die-for but only requires 4 things: onion, garlic, beef broth/stock, and flour. That’s it! It's what really makes this sausage recipe.
'Bangers and Mash' is the affectionate British slang for sausages and mashed potato served with gravy. 'Bangers' refers to the sausages – named as such because back then, sausages would burst open "with a bang!" when cooked unless you pricked with a fork.
2. Eggs in a Basket – England Foods
3. Classic British Faggots – England Foods To Eat
Traditionally, faggots are made from offal, usually pork, and from the bits of the animal that are generally discarded but now tend to just be the liver and possibly, the heart.
Serve these delicious morsels with a bowl of light, fluffy, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
4. Toad In the Hole – Traditional England Foods
Luckily for us, I’ve made up for any missed toad in the hole opportunities and then some. What’s different about this recipe, you ask? As well as being gluten-free, this one is also grain-free.
So if you have trouble eating grains, now is the time to celebrate. Oh, and one more thing: if you truly want to take this meal up to the next level, I’d massively suggest making the onion gravy.
5. Crunchy Beer Battered Fish and Chips – England Foods
6. Yorkshire Pudding – England Foods To Eat
7. Beef Wellington – Traditional England Foods
8. Traditional British Breakfast – England Foods
9. English Country Bread – England Foods To Eat
By combining boiling water and cold milk, it creates an ideal temperature for the yeast to get to work and the dough rises in less than an hour.
The bread only takes 25 minutes to bake, but that's plenty of time to fill the house with the wonderful aroma of baking bread. I'd recommend the recipe as an easy way to bake bread when you are short on time.
10. Traditional Lancashire Hotpot – Traditional England Foods
I grew up in the North of England, so this Traditional Lancashire Hotpot is one of my staple dinners and this recipe has been tried and tested hundreds of times!
11. English Christmas Trifle – England Foods
Essentially, a trifle needs a sponge cake soaked in sherry (for adults) or fruit juice (for a nonalcoholic version), a thick layer of creamy custard, and a deep layer of lightly whipped fresh cream. The rest is all about personal preference.
12. Baked Potatoes the British Way – England Foods To Eat
13. Traditional Spotted Dick – Traditional England Foods
Tender steamed pudding dotted with succulent currants is drizzled with a luxuriously rich and creamy vanilla custard. It’s heaven! The name may not be appetizing to some people but the foods great taste cannot be denied.
14. Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake – England Foods
15. Nanna’s Beef Stew – England Foods To Eat
16. Shepherd’s Pie – Traditional England Foods
Recipes vary widely but have the same basic structure. There’s a crust of mashed potatoes on the top and bottom. Inside, there’s minced meat.
17. Salmon Patties – England Foods
18. Jam Roly Poly – England Foods To Eat
19. Melt-in-your-Mouth Scones – Traditional England Foods
Baking time will depend on how hot your oven runs so just keep an eye on the scones. When you tap them and they sound hollow, they are ready.
20. Eton Mess – England Foods
21. Lee’s Sponge – England Foods To Eat
This is a fantastic recipe. My mum always made amazing sponge cakes for everyone’s birthdays. Just like mum used to make and everyone love’s it.
22. Cornish Pasties – Traditional England Foods
23. Apple Rhubarb Crumble – England Foods
24. Sticky Sausages – England Foods To Eat
This recipe has become a regular meal in our home and I love how I can come home from work and just prepare in a matter of minutes, place in the oven and forget about it until done.
25. Delicious Steak Pie – Traditional England Foods
26. Beef and Guinness Pie – England Foods
This recipe is perfect for feeding my family a hearty meal in a pie case!
27. Beef Stew with Cheesy Dumplings – England Foods To Eat
28. Chicken and Leek Pie – Traditional England Foods
29. Chicken & Mushroom Puff Pie – England Foods
30. Cumberland Pie – England Foods To Eat
The topping is slightly different on the Cumberland pie. This pie comes topped with cheese and bread crumbs.
31. Cherry & Almond Tarts – Traditional England Foods
32. Roast Lamb with Spring Herb Crumbs – England Foods
33. Easy Treacle Sponge – England Foods To Eat
You might also like some of the articles from our website about recipes from other countries.
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My 15 Favorite Traditional Norwegian Recipes
16 Great Recipes for Scottish Food
14 Truly Great Traditional English Recipes
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