Visitors Guide to traditional Great British food

Now it's fair to say that the concept of 'normal' British food is well open for debate as these days our National dish is curry and with the health conscious nation we are becoming, many of our 'traditional' dishes have been long abandoned in favour of healthier modern alternatives and international flavoursome cooking techniques. Despite the cosmopolitan tastes of the younger generations, a more 'traditional' British menu is still widely available - especially where holiday-makers, visitors and tourists are the main consumers. For those visiting Britain for the first time, our traditional British food can be a little confusing so we've put together a guide for those wanting to sample the most 'British' food possible.

Traditional English Breakfast
breakfastThere is very little difference between the traditional English Breakfast, Scottish Breakfast, Welsh Breakfast and Irish Breakfast, most of which are served as standard in British Hotels, Cafe's, pubs and restaurants which open for breakfast.

The breakfast always includes pork sausages and bacon - usually served fried. Eggs are always included which are usually fried but may be scrambled or even poached. The breakfast often includes cooked tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans in tomato sauce. Bread is always included with the breakfast though this may be toasted or fried, occasionally both. A fried potato such as a hash brown is often included though not essential. The key defining element in a fried breakfast though is a black pudding (occasionally white pudding is also included). This traditional item has fallen out of fashion with many younger Brits due to the pudding being made primarily from pigs blood but for an authentic British taste, a black pudding must be included!

Cream Tea
creamteaA traditional cream tea is not quite as it sounds! During a cream tea a pot of English tea is served along with (usually 2) scones, a pot of clotted cream and jam. The variations on the cream tea include fruit scones (or occasionally other flavours), other types of cream or even butter and various flavours of jam. Strawberry jam is the most common flavour and the scone is eaten in 2 halves with cream and jam spread onto it. The great British debate however is the age old question, do you apply the cream onto the jam, or the jam onto the cream?

Roast dinner
roastA roast dinner is also known as a 'Sunday Roast', a 'Sunday Dinner' or simply a 'roast'. The exact content of the roast dinner can vary somewhat but fundamentally it will contain a roasted meat - traditionally beef but possibly chicken, turkey, lamb or pork along with roasted potatoes. Seasonal vegetables are also included - sometimes roasted and possibly including carrots, peas, parsnips, green beans, cauliflower cheese or cabbage. The potatoes, meat and vegetables are always topped with a gravy and often accompanied by traditional Yorkshire Puddings (a batter made from milk, eggs and flour baked in the oven with a little oil). A roast will often include mash potatoes and stuffing - especially if eaten with chicken or turkey.

Roast dinners were traditionally eaten on a Sunday and still are by many British families. Almost all pub restaurants will serve a traditional roast on a Sunday so this is a great way to sample the traditional British family meal.

Afternoon tea
afternoon teaAn afternoon tea was traditionally taken at 4pm and is associated with the aristocracy and those with significant wealth. These days afternoon tea is expensive and a special treat when visiting an expensive hotel or a manor house tea room. An afternoon tea usually involves a choice of many tea types which is always served in the traditional way using leaves rather than the more modern tea bag.

Afternoon tea arrives along with a tiered cake stand which usually contains at least 3 varieties of small fingered sandwiches. The second layer and third layer usually contains a scone along with a variety of small cakes and buns. An afternoon tea is incredibly filling, usually delicious but very sweet and far from healthy.

Fish and chips
fishProbably the most famous British meal of all, fish and chips is a national favourite and 'chip shops' can be found in pretty much every town and village in England. The 'chips' are always made from potatoes, thick cut French fries and cooked deep fried. The fish is a white fish fillet - most commonly Cod but often Haddock or other fish, coated in a batter and cooked in a deep fat fryer full of hot oil. The fish and chip supper was traditionally served wrapped in newspaper but today it's served in a greaseproof paper. Mushy peas are often eaten along with the fish and chips and they are almost always doused in salt and malt vinegar.


By Ruth Lancey

Date: 2017-11-28 13:13:17