5@5 - What you don't know about British food
June 30th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

By Jove, British food isn't exactly the most popular kid on the culinary block.

Many associate the traditional fare with heavy roasts, bangers and mash, beans and toast, and lots and LOTS of puddings (sweet and savory) - with nary a salad in sight.

Chris Rendell, the Executive Chef at Mary Queen of Scots in New York City, is here to set the colonials straight - just in time for William and Catherine's royal tour of California.)

What You Don't Know About British Food: Chris Rendell

The past 10 years has seen a dramatic increase in the quality of British foods and restaurants. Not only through great chefs on home soil such as Fergus Henderson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal and Brett Graham, but also abroad with the like of April Bloomfield, spreading their love for good honest cooking. These are a few things from its past and present that make it great.

1. The joy of the local
"On a cold rainy day, there is nothing more enjoyable than heading down to the local boozer and getting stuck into some good honest food.

No foams, no emulsions or deconstructed dishes. What we enjoy today has been fueling the population for centuries. Nothing can compete with a great Welsh rarebit, Lancashire hotpot and a good roast joint on a Sunday afternoon."

2. Good things come to those who wait
"What we take for granted in most of our daily eating actually stems from the British Isles. Next time you are sitting back enjoying your Bloody Mary at brunch and reach for the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce to add that little extra kick, take a moment to think where and when it all started.

What started out as a mistake from two chemists, after a few years sitting in a barrel and fermenting at the back of a shop, became one of the world's most well-known and used sauces."

3. The sophistication of afternoon tea
"Yes, it all sounds very posh but what self-respecting hotel would not have afternoon tea? The roots may stem from Imperial Britain but its skill and taste are from the chefs of another era.

Silky smoked salmon, coronation chicken, homemade piccalilli between two soft pieces of snow white bread (crusts removed, of course!) and a cup of boozy tea, takes you back to a simple time when conversation was all the rage and not ‘checking-in’ and updating your status every two minutes."

4. The Golden Age
"Yes, people do deep-fry Mars Bars believe or not! Why? Well that’s another set of questions all together - but what does belong in that deep fryer of love are chips and pieces of fish battered to golden perfection.

From what started out as a workman’s fill has filtered its way across the pond into most pub and local restaurants menus. I believe that this is one British staple that cannot get a bad rap.

The evolution of the fish and chip shop from fat-filled environment to healthy oils and sustainable fish has hit leaps and bounds from its origins. A meal that can stand the length of time without any real change is a winner in my books."

5. Four seasons in one day
"For a place that has been known in the past for its poor quality of food and dismal weather, the seasons never fail to excite the local chef. You know by the time Wimbledon comes around that strawberries are in full swing; locals are out picking berries and asparagus is in every store on the high street.

Before they even get a chance to finish, they are thinking about the wild birds and game about to hit their tables in a few months time. Home cooks are steaming Christmas pudding before the clocks are moved back for daylight savings and the short days of winter.

From pickling to salting, the seasons have dictated a culture rich in history, war and travel. That can surely not be classified as tragic."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • British • Cuisines • Think

soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. samuel welsh

    not big on brittish but european and japanese food are great.

    July 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • ICBS@sam welsh

      you don't even like your own namesake?

      July 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  2. aughra

    When I was there a month ago, the tour guide joked that if it was deep fried or boiled for an hour, it was British food. If you wanted to check out a pub, it's reputation could be made or broken based on the shepherd's pie. Ask the locals how the shepherd's pie was first. And finally, the Brits go out for Italian these days.

    In my own experience, except for the Italian or Indian food, I found it all bland. I felt like a fiend asking for the salt, but that often didn't really help. And I dove into Mexican food when I got home!

    July 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  3. saudiwoof

    Let's face it, there is good food in Britain but it will take a long time for the bad reputation that British food had built up to totally fade away. Even looking at shows like No Reservations on the Travel Channel only did so much ro ease that rep. But as stated there is good/excellant food to be found anywhere in thw world all one has to do is search for it and have an open mind.

    July 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  4. deadbuggy

    It's true that Britain does good basic things, like roasted meat and roasted potatoes and nice gravy. But I lived there and my husband is English so I know the deeper truth. British people also eat chip butties (sandwiches filled with french fries), salad cream sandwiches (sandwich of only salad dressing), ketchup sandwiches, Golden Syrup sandwiches, jam sandwiches, Pot Noodle sandwiches. The vegetables are all boiled until dead. The hamburgers all have gristle - even the gourmet ones. Any food that is ethnic is prepared blandly, with some kind of creamy additive, and is lacking in most of the original flavors. I could not get good Mexican or Italian to save my life. But I did have amazing roast lamb and roast beef. It's not exactly a major contribution to world cuisine, though. And it's funny that this chef/author talks about Worcestershire sauce like it's a universal gift to the world of food. Frankly, old Roman garam and its more current counterpart in Asian fish sauce has made more of an impact on world cuisine. Bottom line is, native British food is just boring, or a relic of war rationing.
    p.s. I live in San Francisco now, and it's the best food city in the world!

    July 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Brit Paul

    I'm actually amazed by some of the comments on here. Some I'd say are pretty xenophobic. Comments about teeth are just laughable and I'm sorry how many of you have actually been to the UK. So what if you can taste dishes from all around the world in the UK most American food also has influence from abroad as well Its a global economy and because most Brits travel extensively they get a taste for different cultures and food. I've lived in both the US and the UK and yes american probably has more flavouring added to it but you don't know whats in half the stuff thats added to the food. I'd say that service is better in the US and the portions are bigger but quantity isn't necessarily better.

    I do wonder where some of you eat when you come over here. I love the fact that I can go for an Italian, Thai, Indian (which are mainly ran by people originally from Bangladesh) and mix that in with Fish and chips and a roast dinner and a full english breakfast after a night out...for instance you actually get some bacon when you buy bacon in the UK not just fat like in the USA. I know very few people that eat spotted dick and don't ever remember ever seeing it served anywhere restaurant wise. Black pudding isn't exactly something people eat that often and can equally be seen served up in Ireland but you don't see people giving the Irish abuse.

    What some of the comments show are that a lot of people have a boring anti-english mentality and have probably either not been or if they have been they have only gone to London. Is like me making a comment about the USA after visiting LA. When you come to England visit other place other than london!!!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Ginger

      I have to agree with you BritPaul please do not judge anyone in USA because of LA! I personally love a great Yorkshire pudding! I still recall my very first one, and she was a ex british mother in law, who knew how to do Yorkshire proud! Anyhow alot of people here are hard core Britisg fans of food and your country. I love pot roast, fish and chips, HP sauce, where would this country's jambalaya be without Worcestshire sauce? As a kid I still can taste fish and chips wrapped in newspaper from the food court by the shore. Most people don't even realize or give thought to where there food comes from here, it can get ignorant (which just means lack of facts) not much is said or taught in households these days about who's granny came from where and her cultural influence upon food in thier homes.

      September 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
      • Ginger

        If you ever stop by here again BritPaul, could you please tell me about Picallili? I have pal who lives in Cornwall, she's never heard of it. And, I have two pals live in London, her hubby is from Britain and he doesn't help either. Also, what's the deal with Twinings Tea? Appreciate help on Picallili between bread.

        September 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Eric

    Love what the British Isles have done with beer and whiskey, but food... Sorry chaps, not so much. Sure Americans will deep fry anything you can put on a stick – yuk but haggis? blood pudding? jellied eels, scotch eggs, nope.. some things you just shouldn't eat.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • AleeD@Eric

      WTH is wrong with scotch eggs?! First time I had them was at a renaissance festival and they were like heaven in your mouth. Paired with they pro-offered honey mead – to DIE for!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
  7. AleeD

    Fish 'n' chip w/vinegar – love it! I'd love to visit The Isles and go castle hopping and sample all the local cuisines. That's one of my dream vacations. Now all I need is about 8 weeks off work ..... LOL!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  8. parvo

    British food isn't "misunderstood" - it's crap.

    This coming from a Brit.

    But, at the same time, realize this:

    We don't care all that much that it's crap. And, for the most part, we don't care that other countries think it's crap either.

    The staples of British food originated from sheer survival. Broths; soups; hearty, stodgy, fill-your-boots puddings. Looking back many, many centuries, the priority was simply to cram a metric crap-ton of nourishment, energy and warmth into your body from cheap, easily-obtainable ingredients, in order to fortify the body as best you could against the country's unreasonably miserable climate and near-constant state of invasion or internal strife.

    And it stuck. While the closest thing the English have seen in hundreds of years to a band of marauding Vikings was ABBA, food has remained more a means than an end - a way to get through the day rather than a way to celebrate it - pretty much the reverse of the US stance.

    Food is an obsession in the US. Quality, variety, availability and cost all have significant importance in the general mindset (much more so than most native to the US would realize). It's simply not the same situation in Britain. Sure, good food is always nice, but food and eating in general have nowhere near the same significance in the enjoyment of day-to-day life as in the US. That's just part of the culture and mindset.

    Much like the live-to-work versus work-to-live lifestyles, Britain in general follows more of an eat-to-live mindset, with the US having a greater tendency toward live-to-eat. I've lived in the US for almost a decade and, while I can definitely see that the live-to-eat concept has been impressed upon me, the clear difference in eating norms between the two countries never fails to stand out to me.

    Hence Britain hasn't had much reason or inclination of the years/centuries to make marked improvements in its standards of cuisinse. And hence, too, Britain's concern over the crapness of its food is generally less than the concern from foreign visitors!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • deadbuggy

      That's a good point - the eat-to-live vs. live-to-eat differences. Britain definitely doesn't have the same kind of food-centric culture that, say, the French and Italians and Spanish do. Those countries are obsessed with cuisine and it's a ritual and pervasive part of the culture, but in Britain it's just not.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Alfy

    Boiled beef with mint sauce and warm beer, or Foie Gras with a Sauternes, let me think.....

    July 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • parvo

      Roast beef is the English staple, not boiled.

      Mint sauce is eaten with lamb, not beef.

      The beer isn't served "warm", it's just not iced to death per the American preference - which allows you to actually taste the drink, rather than hoping that you can freeze every last drop of that "icky alcohol taste" out of your Bud or Miller.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  10. Conrad Shull

    Well, if the comparison is against pretentious, auteur junk like "foams, ...emulsions or deconstructed dishes" and county fair fun, goofball treats like "deep-fry Mars Bars", I guess you have the thread (barely) of an argument, but that's like arguing root canals are fun, because they're better than getting your legs amputated.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  11. @patrickk

    I'm sure your judgement was based off of McDonalds.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Matt

      ...scr ew you Shirley...

      July 1, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  12. Binky42

    I lived in England for 15 years, and I did enjoy the food. I think most Americans have a problem with it because it's different, and so many Americans aren't used to anything outside of their daily norm. It's all about the taste you get used to. I've heard many Americans complain about the portion sizes too, and the lack of free soda refills. Guess what? That's why Brits are typically not as heavy!

    That being said, I didn't eat "wild birds and game" one single time. It's not something people typically eat – not for the last 125 years anyway.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • gworker

      where was this? I scanned through the comments and I was not ably to find a reference about the size.or drinks. but I guess it's a nice add-on in order to shift blame...... true some of comments might be from people who don't like change or those who only spent a weekend in the UK on travel but for those of us like my self who spent 20+ years overseas to include 4 years in London I am open to change and adaptability and I will still say that except for pub food most of the dishes from England are bland , tasteless and just plain nasty. This is unlike Ireland and Scotland were one can find many wonderful dishes that are quite tasty not to mention the Whiskey and Scotch ( highland) .... so basically for food England sucks and Ireland and Scotland rock......................................

      July 1, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  13. DerekSmythe

    90% of these comments are from people who have visited the UK for a few days and done the typical tourist circus, tasting nothing more than the 'gift shop' reheated fare that is never going to be up to snuff. For those in the know, who stay off the tourist path and are willing to venture into the establishments that the locals love and know, they would have a radically different opinion. Have you eaten the food at parrot Jungle or say the Miami Zoo...do you expect that to represent the food in the US?....or any of the other US tourist attractions?....besides, as mentioned, the best US food is food created by other countries and more often than not, re-created and served by a foreigner.

    July 1, 2011 at 9:05 am |
    • Beth

      I agree, to an extent. I've been to England once and Scotland once. Both times I was visiting with residents instead of a tour group. I fell in love with the food. Yes, it has different spices that some might call bland but they were just different. The dishes werent lathered in sauces or salt . I loved The Station pub in Horsham and Taybanks pub in Taybanks Scotland (near Dunkeld). I did go to a fish 'n chips shop in Gosport but the rest of the time the food was either a favorite place of our host or homemade. Even now, 6 years later, I still miss Devonshire cream and cottage pie and Leichester sausage and real roast with Yorkshire pudding.
      The food there, if made the right way and eaten with an open mind make one feel like they're home. At least they did for me.

      December 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  14. NODAT1

    I was working in Richmond and Feltham area for over a year and British style of cuisine would not not be my first choice, except for the local pub food, or street venders, It's is the best food. Most of the food in the restaurants is just bland and tasteless, would it kill them to add a spice beside curry powder to the dishes, stick to imported/ introduced foods that have there own unique tastes. Skip breakfast how could they ruin breakfast??? stewed tomatoes, pork&beans eggs that look like they have been cooked under a heat lamp and that nasty nut spread that you put on toast forget the coffee, skip the "normal" breakfast and go with the cheese and deli meat platter for Bfast.

    but I must omit that I had a great time in the UK, do to contract I was only required to work 4 day out of the week, plenty of time for travel, the underground public transport system is simple to understand and fast stick around in August for carnival!!!!!! and take a trip to Calais Fr

    July 1, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  15. shanna

    VOTE RON PAUL 2012! IF you vote for Ron Paul we might have some money left over in 2014 or 2015 to show the Brits some good home cooking like HAM/ SCALLOP POTATOES! CHILI and CORN BREAD!! STUFFED PORK CHOPS with GREEN BEANS!! YUM

    July 1, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • sonas76

      Or really ANY kind of food you'd eat after smoking a lot of pot...put CORN CHIPS!! and DORITOS!! and WHITE CASTLE!! on that list.

      Honestly, this is a food article in the section for food articles. Go soap box in the POLITICAL section.

      July 1, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • Ron Ballz

      Vote for my ballz!

      July 1, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • Boy George

        I'll vote for your ballz if you tumble for my ballz.

        July 1, 2011 at 7:43 am |
      • Richard Simmons

        I have a spotted dick,want to play pocket pool?

        July 1, 2011 at 7:49 am |
      • I got dat gold!

        U can have all da ballz cuz I got all dat gold!

        July 1, 2011 at 8:06 am |
    • SouthernCelt

      No Thank You. I believe in The Constitution of The United States just as it is (preserve, protect and defend, remember that U.S. Service men?). NO libertarians, and a better breed of Republicans and Democrats as the current crop all forgot why they were elected.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  16. Let's Get Something Straight About Curry

    There are so many defenders of English food citing curry as some good English food. I don't care what you think about actual english food, personally I wouldn't even feed it to my dog, assuming he'd eat it in the first place, but let's get something straight: curry is not english!!! Think of something that actually originated on the British Isles before you try to appropriate Indian/South Asian curry. And tea as someone astutely pointed out is originally chinese, and something the brits got by way of India.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  17. miscreantsall

    So funny........this topic. British food has got to be the WORST!!!!

    Spotted Dick?


    Garbage food. Maybe that's why so many of them have bad teeth......just saying......

    July 1, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • jake

      No, it's cos we don't (yet) have such a shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture that you have over there, where 'looks' play such an integral role in society. Plus we probably have fewer Jewish dentists.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  18. robota

    I know I'll probably get a lot of heck for this, but the Sandwich is named after an Englishman, John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich. Also, the Sandwich was introduced to America by an Englishwoman, Elizabeth Leslie. Although the origin of the Sandwich can be argued, it is clear that this great culinary staple is definitely connected to England, and therefore Great Britain. So go ahead and razz me, but I think it counts as a "good thing" about British food.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • wiseone

      @robota. agreed! now go to the kitchen and make me a sammich!

      July 1, 2011 at 5:47 am |
  19. sonas76

    Half of my family is Irish, and I mainly grew up on Irish food i.e. sausages, potatos, heavy bread, potatos, tea, potatos, roast beef and potatos.

    When I left home for college, I couldn't even look at a potato after being served them at least twice a day for 18 years.

    Now at 40, I do make some Irish-type food for my family, but not very often. I do see it's charms (now), but my family really loves the many flavors of Asian cuisine so much more. Given a choice between roast beef and mashed and something like a yakatori grill or spicy stir fry, they will pick the Asian food 9 times out of 10.

    June 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  20. JoePub

    Curvy Nigella Lawson makes British food hot, sultry and sexy. ;)

    June 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
  21. mjh

    everyone has an opinion about food last time i looked at the idea of comparing countries foods was to get ideas not insult oneanother! GROW UP

    June 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Murf

      Finally! An adult with some class and common sense. Thank you!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  22. Victor

    Any Country that names a type of Bread pudding "Spotted Dick" and a nasty fried meatball looking piece of ground who knows what a "Faggot" I would be suspect of.

    June 30, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  23. Love Black Pudding!

    I spent much time in Ireland growing up and I am divided on the food. Irish breakfasts cannot be beat! Black pudding is delicious. I grew up eating it and by the time I learned it was made with blood-didn't care! Their bacon is very lean and tasty, and the sausages are also quite good. The breads, cheeses and milk and very wholesome and delicious, and Cadbury chocolate is absolutely my favorite. Having said all that, it was always very hard to find a "light, fresh" meal for lunch or dinner. After a week or two, I would find myself craving a good salad, and I would seek out Indian restaurants just for some flavor. All the roasts, potatoes and deep frying can get old very quickly.

    June 30, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  24. Dave in Altmar

    Puhleaze....English "cuisine" is dreadful. All one has to do is spend a few days in the UK to realize if it wasn't for all the Tandoori, Thai, Chinese and Italian restaurants, the British would look like white Biafrans in short order, before they all vanished from starvation. I've worked in the UK on and off for decades and frankly *I* would starve if it wasn't for all the non-English options...

    June 30, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  25. Maty

    English food is great, when prepared well and with good ingredients. I love me a curry!! And to the naysayers abroad, if all you know of American food is the fast or chain varieties, and base your opinions on that, you know little! We have a wonderful cuisine.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  26. Jerry

    I have to admit nothing better than a good helping of fish and chips

    June 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  27. willie

    this report did nothing to change my mind, not a single good recipe was mentioned. Fish and chips is fast food; and tea? That's not even English, it's Chinese, Russians were drinking it before the British. Please if you want me to think British food is good, offer something up. Just saying it's good or traditional isn't enough.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  28. Ancient Brit

    Many of the foods called "British" are in fact English, such as black pudding (incorrectly called blood sausage or blood pudding to try and put people off – if you've ever tasted it, you'd know how tasty it is). The best fish and chips come arguably from Yorkshire.

    And fish and chips generally denotes cod and chips, but any decent fish n' chip shop anywhere in the country will list a good dozen or more alternatives – skate, haddock, hake, rock salmon, plaice, whiting, and others depending on the region.

    There are lots of other regional English dishes, too – faggots and peas spring to mind (the West Midlands, specifically the Black Country), which is the favored take-out rather than fish and chips.

    From Scotland there's haggis, and there pancakes replace fish and chips as the favored take-out. From Ireland there's Irish Stew (not to mention Irish Butter). From Wales there's Welsh Rarebit.

    Ask anyone from Cornwall or Devon about their pasties or clotted cream.

    A Ploughman's lunch is seemingly ubiquitous (it's as varied as any other specialty). Cheeses abound – just about every town seems to have its own variety. And sausages – every independent butcher worth their salt has their own recipe, and they're all delicious.

    And this is just a tiny sample of one of many from each of just a few regions. I never cease to be amazed by those who think that there's no such thing as British Cuisine.

    And that's not even considering all the other cuisines from other cultures that have taken root over the decades.

    Look up "X cuisine" in Wikipedia where "X" is English, Cornish, Irish, Scottish, Welsh (or indeed many other regions – note that Devon gets to be Cuisine of Devon rather Devenish Cuisine as I think it ought to be) to get some idea of the variety.

    That's not even beginning to look at age-old favorites such as Yorkshire Pudding (a sweet and a savory in its heyday), Toad-in-the-Hole, bangers and mash, spotted dick, plum duff, venison in all its forms, blancmange, and so on.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Ann

      Don't forget British breakfasts! Broiled tomatoes with eggs – yum. True – you don't want to order coffee (it'll be so weak it looks like tea – just get tea and that will be better).

      Sticky toffee pudding – scones – fish and chips – there's lots of good stuff to eat over there. It may not be what you're used to, but isn't that the point of travel?

      July 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  29. sd

    I actually liked the food there when I visited but I will say they don't know how to do salads. I was craving a good salad by the time I left. (some lettuce darker than iceberg with something in it besides onions and tomatoes)

    June 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  30. Thereals

    Sorry, but I was not convinced. I agree that Worcestershire sauce is good, but... that's just a condiment. British cuisine is not that impressive. I did enjoy the shepherd's pie when I visited Warwick Castle, but I was so hungry that probably anything would have tasted amazing.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  31. Kevin

    Been all over Europe and North America. The British Isles, by FAR, have the worst food. Bland seasoning, too much vinegar, veggies boiled to paste, and tough, terrible-tasting offal.

    Sorry GB residents, you really got the short end of the stick on food. Even the US is great if you avoid chains.

    June 30, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  32. Dover

    I lived in England as a kid (Cambridgeshire) and I can say the best food I ever ate there was cod and chips from The Silver Grid. The walls were greasy, the oil was black, the chips were thick and soggy with grease, but the cod was amazing. I have never seen it replicated in the US (35 years later). Tea is a great custom as well. Scones, the best butter ever, and a cup of tea with cream.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  33. Jeff

    It's good. Just an old stereotype. Plus, they have a lot of the same chain restaurants that you can find all over the world.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  34. roamer

    True American here. Went to England, loved the Sunday roast. Not a fan of seafood but all in all- did not starve. Just wish they believed in ice!

    June 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  35. LouAz

    I don't want any food that has as the first line of the recipe – Beat the pi$$ out of it – Kidney Pie.
    Singularily the worst food in the world !

    June 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  36. beelzebubba

    RE: "Americans have such unrefined tastes..."
    Many Americans who visit London think the city should build a vomitorium on every corner, so I'm surprised you're so sanctimonious. Brit food is the worst on the planet. Everybody knows that. Sheesh.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Binky42

      It's nothing but a stereotype. Just like how most people in the US think British people have bad teeth, which makes no sense since the UK has a universal health care plan including dental, and millions of people in the US can't even afford a dental checkup.

      July 1, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • LivedinLondon

        Lived in London for 2 years, and glorious Edinburgh for a year and a half. During my time in London, what became the most popular British dinner? Chicken curry – Indian food. With the exception of Irish food, British food is terrible. I came to the conclusion that between the weather and the food, no wonder the British conquered most of the world – just to get away....

        If Brit food is so good, why do we have so few British restaurants, and so many Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Spanish, French, Asian...you name it? It is among the worst food in the world.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  37. Tim

    Much of the food we eat in the States isn't really American. It's a tweaked version of foods from all over the world. But some of my favorite foods like hot wings, chicken fried steak, etoufee, gumbo, jambalaya, etc are not commond anywhere else in the world. I'm from Louisiana though so I'm bias. Noone cooks/eats as good as we do.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Binky42

      Is that why I always put on 5 pounds whenever I visit New Orleans? lol

      July 1, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Doodlebug2222

      My father was a chef and would cook us recipies from New Orleans... really amazing flavor. I like to think all food from different regions, different cultures and different countries have something to offer but I do have to admit, if you stray away and wean yourself off the Amerian junk and then go back – you wonder why you loved it in the first place? But some of the fine dining, well that is different they take great pride in making your dinner. I think its a personal opinion in the end, but I have to admit – I love the old school comfort food most.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • RedinAustin

      Actually, chicken fried steak is a tweaked version of weinerschnizel (I'm sure I didn't spell that right and I apologize if I didn't.). It was easier to get beef in Texas (Yes, that IS where it comes from, German communties in Central Texas specifically.) than pork. Thus the chicken fried steak was born.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  38. anone

    Its actually funny that people dis English foods....when Many, MANY of our dishes actually originate there. Honestly...how do you know if something is gross until you try it? The words gross you out? Thats childish. You should NEVER say something is gross until you put it in your mouth and give it a good taste. Blood sausage....ewe sounds so disgusting to some....but have you TRIED it?? Its darn good.
    Point is. Don't look down your nose at something until you try it. You never know. It might end up being the best thing you have ever eaten.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • Sean

      1. Your logic is very poor. Don’t knock something because what we have came from it? If the original was that great there would have been no need to improve it. Who needs an F22 when you have Flyer I.

      2. LOL many, MANY of our dishes come from all over the world. All of which we took and made better by way of the influence of so many cultures and our world renowned obsession with food.

      I’ve been to England twice and the food is horrible.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  39. VampireJack

    British food is awesome (aside from Jellied Eels!).
    You like custard? Thank the Brits.
    You like Apple Pie – that's right, thank the Brits....seems the saying should be as English as Apple Pie....but, I digress...
    Apple Pie and Custard? Yes!
    Yorkshire Puddings – brilliant.
    But not with custard! You want fish fingers with that, but I think fish fingers are American, so, but whatever....
    Fish and Chips. Classic.
    A sunday roast? Wow!
    You like an Indian Curry? Well, actually, the curry was introduced to India by the British...what, you didn't know that?
    Curry is based on an olde english word which means sauce. The Brits introduced the curry to India during the Colonial days. Enjoy a nice curry with a pint of Guiness. Yup , the Oirish may claim it as their own, but Guiness was first brewed in England and was moved over to Ireland.
    Lancashire Hot Pot – kicks the ass of an Italian Lasagne.
    Shepherd's Pie?
    Strawberry shortcake? Eton Mess? Eccles cakes?

    Seriously – you can put the best of British food against the best of any other countries food and the Brits will do well.

    Just ignore black pudding! Yoikes.....

    June 30, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Kelly

      All that stuff sounds great!

      June 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Dover

      Don't tell me, they invented borscht, larb gai, sushi, pozole, canoles and seafood gumbo as well, right?

      June 30, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • yUK

      With the exception of fish n chips (which unsurprisingly is the least "british" dish as it contains no gelatin, gravy, or pie crust like damn near everything else) I would not take ANY of that crap over the food from most other countries. British food sucks, other than African food I cant think of a grosser menu.

      June 30, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • sandi

      ahh ahahaha haaa, thanks for the laugh, just too funny, Vampire Jack

      And I love the hilarious bit about the Brits introducing curry to India .. very droll!

      As for the article writer, I think he conveniently forgot to mention that Worcestershire Sauce started out in India and was taken to Britain ... I would the world owes India a huge vote of thanks cuisine-wise (pssst, the Brits just borrowed it!)

      ps. you obviously haven't tasted English school lunch custard, or mashed potatoes, or fries ... gag, shudder, ick.

      June 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      I've been there, tried the food, don't care for curry – sorry, and was overjoyed when I found a Chili's in Canary Wharf with a Waitress from Virgina. No. No decent food in England, or anything else for that matter. Do you know why the Sun never set on the "British Empire"? Because God knew they couldn't be trusted in the Dark!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:45 am |
      • jake

        Go back to your hole and don't pester us down here – you weren't invited anyhow.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • springmorning

      how can u be so dumb! curry introduced to Indians by British..Gosh! crawl back under the rock u came from.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
      • jake

        You tried curry in India? If you haven't, then you'll have to take my word for it that 'British' curry is different and significantly improved enough to be classed as 'our' own, imo.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  40. unknown11

    Cole, I know what you are saying. It is hard to compare comfort foods. There are generally big differences in how there are prepared for one thing. And comfort food does not tend to be the most flavorful foods. If you grew up with it, it is comforting. If you try some of these foods as an adult, without that comfort background, they can sometimes be bland and seem unimspired.

    Or, is is like a hamburger. Good ones are great, but you usually get a mediocre one.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  41. Lila

    I used to live in London, yeah the food is pretty bad. Luckily there are plenty of Indian restaurants and pubs with great beer on tap.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
    • jake

      I'm sorry, but when were you over here? Thirty, forty, maybe fifty years ago? There is an incredible choice of restaurants in London, it's about the most cosmopolitan city in the world after all. How the f could we not have good food?! Even our own admittedly less than imaginative dishes can turn out ok in the right hands.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  42. TI

    seriously Patrick, get off your high horse.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • just sayin'@TI

      His name is actually Patrickk...two K's. It's a british thing.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  43. unknown11

    ricky, you are a bad excuse for a eurosnob. Such stupidity.

    June 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  44. Cole

    But, I knew all of these things!

    A question did come to mind: What's the perfect/classic fish and chip? Most foods get watered down, but it's still not too hard to find a version done right. But, I can't say that I've ever had a classic plate of fish and chip. Sure, the outsides should be crisp and the insides moist, but what beyond that? Is there a type of potato that's favored? A condiment? What should the batter be based on and how is it spiced?

    June 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Why Use Facts

      They should be fried in beef drippings and the preferred condiment is malt vinegar.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  45. Patrickk

    The very worst you can get on the continent is still by far, better than the best the stattes have to offer. Americans have such unrefined tastes.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • unknown11


      June 30, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Lars

      I can smell your pretentiounees through the computer screen.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
      • txrbt

        They think that by being pretentious it will hide their lack of physical attractiveness. But the Brits are Ok, really, all they need is a good smack in the mouth to adjust their attitude.

        June 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
      • Delta@txrbt

        wow. up your meds please. your neuroses are showing.

        July 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • unknown11

      He has no clue of what he writes. Just spewing crap.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Ohyeah?

      Two words. Blood sausage.

      June 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
      • DLS

        Actually, it's Black pudding, there is also white pudding which is more popular in Ireland.

        June 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • B=Dog

      Yeah... nothing like Veggies boiled until they are beyond dead.... steak and kidney pie.... and some blood pudding! yummy lol

      June 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • bill

      Your right, us Americans have some of the worst eating habits in the world, but I've been to England and the food is disgusting.

      June 30, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
      • Doodlebug2222

        True – I am from where Lunch is Monday-Friday, the mid-meal, because it is simple. On Saturday and Sunday it is Dinner (a nicer sit down with family meal) and in evening is Supper. A nice meal, relaxing and old school. But the rush rush rush – well even at work I find myself looking for the instant this or that. My stomach now suffers and I can no longer eat the grease, drink the cola or any spice. I am back to simple meals that take some prepration time, nice delicate early grey tea and simple, but rounded out meals. It actually is nice... I miss diners with the meatloaf, homemade gravy and mashed potatos and other simple meals that hit the spot.

        July 1, 2011 at 10:05 am |
      • Food lover

        I've been to the UK 4 times in the last 10 years. During the first trip, I was disappointed in the veggies and the choices on the menus. After that, I found the food quality and choices improving. I have had some wonderful, healthy meals at pubs in some of the small villages. I do like some of the traditional food on occasion – fish and chips.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • yUK

      Ironically the only american food that sucks is the food based off of british food. American food based on italian, mexican, and original american food like BBQ is world famous and loved by all.

      June 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
      • Conrad Shull

        "HOLD YOUR CARDS, WE HAVE A BINGO!" You are EXACTLY right!

        July 1, 2011 at 10:12 am |
      • K

        Food based on Italian is still called Italian food, and not American!! I must say the BBQ part is good, although I'm not sure about it being world famous and loved by all, but still not bland like British food.

        July 1, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Rod C. Venger

      Unrefined? If you define "refined" as a willingness to eat garbage, then ok, I guess I'm unrefined.

      June 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Pablo

      Where are these stattes you speak of? English cooking as always been the joke of the civilized world.

      June 30, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Heather

      You made the same sort of comment about a wine article and I will repeat what I said there – You're impressing no one but your own self and anyone who's traveled is seriously rolling their eyes at you.

      June 30, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Steve

      I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

      June 30, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      We had taste enough to separate from you!
      It's an Island after all. Not enough cows to leave a decent steak or even a hamburger in the whole country. Bangers and mash? Mashed potatoes and a tube of cholesterol is no breakfast. Name one English meal that can compete with anything created in the U.S. When Scotland finally declares independence (Please, God!) you won't even have whisky! There is nothing you have that I want, I have no desire to set foot on your soil, God Bless America and Alba go Bragh!

      July 1, 2011 at 9:37 am |
      • Chris

        Apple pie.

        July 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • truefax

      Go eat your blood pudding, and be the h3ll quiet.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      Don't worry, Patrickk, we know you are by far the worst that Europe has to offer, and nobody wants to eat you either.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • truth2power

      Having lived and worked all across Europe I agree.
      In fact, the general quality of life for the average European is shockingly better than what we have in the USA.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Max

      Patrickk's post is total rubbish. It's dead easy to get a dreadful meal in the UK, especially if the English are involved in it. It's fairly easy to get a bad one on the Continent. In either case, it will be overpriced and served with surliness.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • saudiwoof

      You don't get around much do you Patrickk? I've probably been to more resteaurants while visiting England then you ever did if and when you visited America. Oh and by the way probably being cheap isn't the way to go when you want to eat!

      July 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
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