Learning English

British Cuisine

Some people criticize English food. They say it's unimaginable, boring, tasteless, it's chips with everything and totally overcooked vegetables. The basic ingredients, when fresh, are so full of flavour that British haven't had to invent sauces to disguise their natural taste. What can compare with fresh pees or new potatoes just boiled and served with butter? Why drown spring lamb in wine or cream and spices, when with just one or two herbs it is absolutely delicious?

If you ask foreigners to name some typically English dishes, they will probably say "Fish and chips" then stop. It is disappointing, but true that, there is no tradition in England of eating in restaurants, because the food doesn't lend itself to such preparation. English cooking is found at home. So it is difficult to a good English restaurant with a reasonable prices.

In most cities in Britain you'll find Indian, Chinese, French and Italian restaurants. In London you'll also find Indonesian, Mexican, Greek... Cynics will say that this is because English have no "cuisine" themselves, but this is not quite the true.

With the exception of breakfast meals in England are much the same as in other countries.

The usual meals in Great Britain are breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. The English are very fastidious about their meals and keep to their meal times strictly.

Breakfast time is between 7 and 9 a. m. Many people like to begin it with porridge. English people eat porridge with milk or cream and sugar, but the Scots — and Scotland is the home of porridge — never put sugar in it. Then comes bacon and eggs, marmalade with toast and tea or coffee. For a change you can have a boiled egg, cold ham or perhaps fish.

The two substantial meals of the day, lunch and dinner, are more or less the same. Lunch is usually taken at one o’clock. Many people, who go out to work, find it difficult to come home for lunch and go to a caffee or a restaurant, but they never miss a meal. Lunch is a big meal — meat or fish, potatoes and salad, puddings or fruit are quite usual for it.

In the afternoon, about four o’clock, the English have a cup of tea and a cake, or a slice or two of bread and butter.

Tea is very popular with the English; it may be called their national drink. The English like it strong and fresh made. Tea must be brewed as follows: one teaspoon for each person and one for the pot. They drink it with or without sugar, but almost always with milk. It is important to pour tea into milk, and not vice versa. Their “high tea” at 5 o’clock is very famous. Tea is accompanied by ham, tomatoes and salad, bread and butter, fruit and cakes.

Dinnertime is generally about half past seven or later. In some houses dinner is the biggest meal of the day. They begin with soup, followed by fish, roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables, fruit and coffee. But in great many English homes the midday meal is the chief one of the day, and in the evening they only have light meal, for example, bread and cheese and a cup of coffee or cocoa and fruit.

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