British food has traditionally been based on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish and generally served with potatoes and one other vegetable. The most common and typical foods eaten in Britain include the sandwich, fish and chips, pies like the Cornish pasty, trifle and roasts dinners. Some of our main dishes have strange names like Bubble & Squeak and Toad-in-the-hole.
lets take a look at the ten most common main meals that we eat in Britain.
1. Sunday Roast
The Sunday Roast, or Roast Dinner, is probably the meal England is most famous for. It is eaten in most restaurants and homes across the country every Sunday afternoon and is a meal of pure indulgence. It is basically roasted meat with all the trimmings, including roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, stuffing, and vegetables. You can choose whichever meat you want, depending on your fancy, and each comes with its own special sides:
- Chicken: with bread sauce or cranberry sauce
- Beef: with horseradish sauce or mustard
- Pork: with apple sauce
- Lamb: with mint sauce or redcurrant jelly
The mother of all Roast Dinners for most people is usually served on Christmas Day when a huge turkey (often the size of a small child) is roasted and served with every vegetable, sauce and potato you can imagine.
2. Full English Breakfast (or ‘Fry Up’):
England is famous for its heart attack inducing breakfasts that prepare you for the day in a way no other breakfast can. The list of foods that can be (and often all are!) included in a ‘Full English’ is almost endless: sausages, bacon, hash browns, baked beans, toast, fried eggs, black pudding, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, scrambled egg, fried bread… the list goes on.
3. Pies and Pasties:
In Britain, we love our pies. We fill them with every imaginable ingredient, from steak and kidney, to chicken and leek, to potato, cheese and onion. Cottage pies are also very popular home-cooked meals, and are made from minced beef, vegetables and gravy, and topped with mashed potato.
A pasty (left) is like a pie but shaped differently and with different fillings. The most well known is the Cornish Pasty which is usually filled with steak, onion and potato.
4. Fish and Chips:
I think the name says it all- a meal made up (unsurprisingly) of chips and battered fish. The best place to get a good fish and chips is from your local ‘Chippy’, where you can get a takeaway wrapped in newspaper. Traditionally the fish is cod, and the chips are served with salt, vinegar and ketchup, all for around a fiver (£5).
5. Bangers and Mash:
An odd name for a very simple meal, bangers and mash is simply sausages with mashed potato. Usually served with onion gravy it is great pub food, or easily cooked at home. The British love their sausages and there are loads of different varieties, including Cumberland (peppery pork sausages), Lincolnshire (herby) and more unusual combinations like apple and pork.
6. Roast beef & Yorkshire Pudding:
Despite their name, Yorkshire puddings are actually a savory accompaniment to meat. such as roast beef. They are made simply from batter that is then put in a special tray and cooked in a hot oven, where they (hopefully) rise and become light and fluffy. They are perfect with roast dinners, or can be made into larger puddings and cooked with sausages to make Toad in the Hole (below).
7. Toad in the Hole:
This is another meal that sounds ridiculous but is actually quite simple. Make the batter for a Yorkshire pudding, put whole sausages in it, cook it. There you have Toad in the Hole. Lovely.
8.Bubble and Squeak:
What is it with us British and our odd food names? This meal has very little to do with bubbles or squeaks but is actually a traditional meal eaten on Boxing Day. The leftover vegetables (potatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots, brussle sprouts) from Christmas dinner (or any Sunday Roast) are all put together and fried, and then often served with the cold meat left over from the roast. Waste not, want not eh?
9. Haggis & Black Pudding:
This is probably the most famous dish from Scotland, and probably also the most un-appetizing. You may not believe us, but it is made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet (beef fat), and spices and then boiled in a sheep’s stomach for 3 hours. Sounds nice eh? We dare you to try it.
Closely behind Haggis in the unappetizing sounding foods is Black Pudding. Sometimes called Blood Pudding, it is a sausage made from animal blood mixed with oatmeal or onion, which is then cooked and then left to cool down. It is similar to Blutwurst in Germany or Bousin in France. Its good I promise.
In Britain we probably eat other cultures’ food as much as we eat our own. If you are buying it from a restaurant, a very popular way to do it is to get a takeaway. The most popular ones are Indian curries, Chinese food, Kebabs and pizzas- none of which are exactly traditional British meals!
In fact many people say that the number one British dish is now curry!
Matthew & Becky
Native British Teachers
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