English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!!

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the ancient mariner
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2006/01/01 12:36:29 (permalink)

English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!!

Just finished reading a couple of Jack Higgins' books and in them he mentions bacon sandwichs quite often. It would appear that is what the British armed forces lived on during WW2. Because I love bacon and had not had a bacon sandwich in many, many years I was forced to buy a loaf of bread a make one. It was great. Got me to thinking about British food, or the lack thereof.

In one of the books Higgins (or is it 'iggins) quotes Somerset Maugham, who said something like "if you want to have 3 good meals a day in England you must eat three breakfasts".

I have found some good English food like --- fish and chips, Sheppard Pie, bangers and mashed, but not much in the way of fine dining. Other than Kean's Chop House in NYC I can not recall another good restaurant, their mutton chops were super.

How is the food across the pond ?????? I have never been there, am I missing anything? And is Kean's the one and only ???
#1

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    mr chips
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 13:28:32 (permalink)
    English food is better now that there are so many curry shops and Indian restaurants available.
    #2
    ScreenBear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 14:04:37 (permalink)
    Ancient,
    Thanks for giving me the idea to go into Keen's one of these days to try that mutton chop. Some say it's a must.
    The Bear
    #3
    Greyghost
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 16:31:56 (permalink)
    For a peek at the current status of British food you may enjoy BBC - Radio 4 - The Food Programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/foodprogramme.shtml

    The Food Programme is a weekly radio show that investigates all aspects of food in the UK.
    Many previous shows are archived as well.
    #4
    Tedbear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 17:17:48 (permalink)
    Things change! The stereotype of consistently bad English food is just that--a stereotype, and an outdated one at that. I would suggest that those who continue to believe in this myth have either never been to The UK, or have not been there within the past 20 years. This oft-repeated canard is inaccurate as a result of many years of international influence, first in London (perhaps the most cosmopolitan city in the world), and then in the hinterlands.

    Would you want food in the US to be judged on the basis of what existed in the 1950s and before? If we were to go back to that era in our own country, there was virtually no international cuisine available in The US, and both restaurant and home menus consisted largely of an overcooked hunk of beef, accompanied by overcooked vegetables, or perhaps fried chicken, accompanied by greasy, badly cooked french fries. Just as cuisine in the US has evolved, so has the food in The UK.

    While I will grant you that many of the best meals that I have had in The UK were in Indian or Chinese restaurants, I have also enjoyed world-class gourmet food of other types in that country. Even the pubs typically offer a nice variety of international/healthy/gourmet items. Like I said, the people who spout this concept are undoubtedly those who have not dined on the other side of the pond in many years.
    #5
    Gizmolito
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 17:47:29 (permalink)
    Here's a link to a neat article concerning a British chef who was tapped by the government to prepare and oversee several meals for EU ministers from member states. The mission was to highlight U.K. foods, and use both tradition and innovation in the process!
    http://www.waitrose.com/food_drink/wfi/foodissues/foodtrends/9808076.asp

    "It was a success. The Best of British was on show and the guests tucked in with enthusiasm. The French had praised the cheeses, the Germans adored the venison and the Italians were enchanted by the chutneys. Mission accomplished."
    #6
    Jimeats
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/01 20:56:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by the ancient mariner

    Just finished reading a couple of Jack Higgins' books and in them he mentions bacon sandwichs quite often. It would appear that is what the British armed forces lived on during WW2. Because I love bacon and had not had a bacon sandwich in many, many years I was forced to buy a loaf of bread a make one. It was great. Got me to thinking about British food, or the lack thereof.

    In one of the books Higgins (or is it 'iggins) quotes Somerset Maugham, who said something like "if you want to have 3 good meals a day in England you must eat three breakfasts".

    I have found some good English food like --- fish and chips, Sheppard Pie, bangers and mashed, but not much in the way of fine dining. Other than Kean's Chop House in NYC I can not recall another good restaurant, their mutton chops were super.

    How is the food across the pond ?????? I have never been there, am I missing anything? And is Kean's the one and only ???
    That's how the revelouition started on this side of the pond. old King George threatened to send the chefs from England over here, and the good people of the New World said nothing doing. Thats one of the main reasons why we left CHOW Jim
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    Tedbear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/02 07:41:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jimeats

    quote:
    Originally posted by the ancient mariner

    Just finished reading a couple of Jack Higgins' books and in them he mentions bacon sandwichs quite often. It would appear that is what the British armed forces lived on during WW2. Because I love bacon and had not had a bacon sandwich in many, many years I was forced to buy a loaf of bread a make one. It was great. Got me to thinking about British food, or the lack thereof.

    In one of the books Higgins (or is it 'iggins) quotes Somerset Maugham, who said something like "if you want to have 3 good meals a day in England you must eat three breakfasts".

    I have found some good English food like --- fish and chips, Sheppard Pie, bangers and mashed, but not much in the way of fine dining. Other than Kean's Chop House in NYC I can not recall another good restaurant, their mutton chops were super.

    How is the food across the pond ?????? I have never been there, am I missing anything? And is Kean's the one and only ???
    That's how the revelouition started on this side of the pond. old King George threatened to send the chefs from England over here, and the good people of the New World said nothing doing. Thats one of the main reasons why we left CHOW Jim



    Thank you for illustrating my point about the archaic nature of this concept. I tend to think that a few other things may have changed since the 1770s, in addition to culinary techniques.
    #8
    Adjudicator
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/02 09:10:41 (permalink)








    #9
    Pwingsx
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/02 16:01:34 (permalink)
    Thanks, Adj. I have had the flu for the past five days and that picture literally made me gag.
    #10
    meltedcheese
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 11:33:25 (permalink)
    I don't think that mushy peas as pictured is any worse than a lot of american stuff we eat. I would agree that the whole thing about british food being bad is really outdated. I have family over in the north of england and travel over there 2-3 times a year. Its just like anywhere - there's great food to be found, fine dining or roadfood, all over the place, its a case of knowing where to find it. We found the best kind of good roadfood was to be found in pubs that do english food using local products and a small menu - if the menu was too big and featured a big mishmash of things then you could guarantee it would all be out of the deep freeze. Also small town bakeries are always good for fresh eats on the road, sandwiches as well as pies, pasties & sausage rolls fresh out of the oven, great stuff. I will try and remember the names of some of the places we go to for recommendations but all I can remember right now is Bettys Tea Rooms !

    The family always do at least one big real Yorkshire high tea when I am over there, thats not the little sandwiches and tiny cakes that people imagine but almost like a buffet, with baked goods and breads and different meats and pies and salads and of course a bottomless pot of steaming tea !! its like a real old fashioned farmhouse meal. Last time they introduced me to potted shrimps which was DELICIOUS !!! shrimps there are tiny little critters not like our huge ones, and these are cooked in butter spiced with mace and cayenne pepper and anchovy sauce, and served on hot toast. They taste so good and I'm gonna try and make my own version here.
    #11
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 12:32:41 (permalink)
    Here is a great London thread that helped me quite a bit last year:
    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=9668
    #12
    Old No.7 Brand
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 14:22:49 (permalink)
    I tend to prefer American foods to British, but that's just because I'm English, and immature, and the thought of foods we never seem to get over here never gets boring. There are times when there is nothing quite like a good Meat Pie or Apple Crumble, but I'm not going to defend British foods, because you're right, if not done well, they're boring and horrible.

    Personally, I was never one for the "Full English Breakfast", but there's no denying that it is a mammoth invention. I just much prefer the more appreciative approach Americans take to breakfast in particular. Speak to almost any Brit, and they will tell you that waffles and pancakes, all of these "exciting" foods are something they would only dream of getting here - And it sucks.

    First post here by the way, you all seem really nice.
    #13
    rjb
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 14:31:08 (permalink)
    English food (not to be confused with international cuisine as prepared/consumed in England) seems to represent a contradiction to what's going on here and in many other places, i.e., that in the old days (before chains & fast food) the cooking and ingredients were better. Seems like many "authentic" English roadfood-ish standards, such as pie & mash, jellied eels, mushy peas, greasy pub food, boiled everything, etc. have been superseded by cooking with a more international twist. Interesting contrast to the resurgence of interest here in more traditional dishes, cooking techniques and ingredients.

    NB: I'll try most anything, but draw the line at jellied eels.
    #14
    linus
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 14:31:30 (permalink)
    I grew up on english food here in the states and truly, even back then the food my mom made was fantastic. she was roasting root vegetables long before it got trendy, and she makes a wonderful pork chop curry.
    Fish and chips with malt vinegar, english country ham, roast beef with horsradish and yorkshire pudding and gravy, trifle, tarts, scones, and who can say enough about the greatness of english cheese?
    We loved having teas, afternoon teas with the little sandwiches and tarts, scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, and the teas melted cheese mentioned that are whole meals, ham and egg pie is often served along with pickled onions, chutney and all sorts of delightful little sides.
    English candy is awesome too, Cadbury is some of the best chocolate in the world.
    And the english breakfast of eggs, ham, bacon, fried tomatos and mushrooms can keep a person full and happy all day.
    As James Beard once wrote, the english have access to some of the best food in the world, including things like dover sole and farm raised lamb and beef.
    BTW, I love a bacon buddie. Try it using a nice crusty hard roll.
    We closed our traditional english christmas dinner this year with stilton spread on Jacob's water crackers and a nice port. What's not to love?
    Just joking here, but if you can eat " pork Rinds", you can probably handle mushy peas. They're great with plenty of butter, salt and pepper.
    #15
    Tedbear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 15:18:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by linus


    English candy is awesome too, Cadbury is some of the best chocolate in the world.


    Linus--I hope that you have read my earlier comments in which I have tried to dispel the archaic myths that people love to repeat about English food. If you read those comments of mine, then you will know that I agree heartily with everything that you said. Well, almost everything. I can't agree with your comment on English candy.

    When chocolate connoisseurs talk about outstanding brands, Cadbury is not one of the brands that they normally mention. As I recall, the sugar content of Cadbury's chocolates is much higher than what is found in the superior chocolates from The Continent. Also, Cadbury chocolate seems to be of the "milky variety", which invariably has a lower cocoa solids content than dark chocolate. Lower cocoa solids=less chocolate taste.

    There may be high-quality dark chocolate made by Cadbury, but all that I have ever seen is stuff like Milk Tray and the other milky varieties with nuts and fruits, and these are not prized by chocolate afficianadoes, I have to tell you. Also, English ice cream is not usually considered to be of good quality in comparison with that of other countries.

    Please be aware that, as a dedicated Anglophile, it pains me to make these observations, but I feel that they are accurate all the same.
    #16
    linus
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 15:39:52 (permalink)
    Tedbear Yes, I agree with your post. As far as the chocolate, I admit it's no doubt because I grew up eating it. You know, a childhood comfort type thing..
    I was also thinking too, in support of your statements food has changed here too from the fifties and sixties, just go to the gallery of regretable food and see what we americans use to eat!

    http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/index.html
    #17
    meltedcheese
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 18:45:40 (permalink)
    Green & Blacks is a famous brit organic chocolate brand that is very good quality and has high cocoa solids %age, its very popular and sold in supermarkets etc. But even Cadburys has a higher cocoa solids input and less sugar than Hersheys etc. Also Loseleys is a very good brand of traditionally made ice cream and some of the best I have ever eaten. If you eat brands like walls then yes they are no so good. Again there is an up and coming artisan movement for dairy products like cheeses and ice cream that is producing good results.

    I've found greasier more poor quality food over here in many mom and pop places including the ever pervasive use of powdered mash potatoes and not real ones, that I have in the UK. tmiles I don't think its the actual food for tourists as such more like the places that serve it, as in anywhere around the globe. There will always be personal likes and dislikes to food anyhow, even within the states there is passionate partisanship about certain items. So I don't think it can be blamed on the country. Old no 7 brand, yes food from other countries will seem exotic even if it is ordinary to the country itself :) and mirroting that it could be said that the US fast food and convenience food influence has had a bad affect on various cuisines inc. British.

    #18
    tacchino
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 19:42:44 (permalink)
    My experience with British food is limited, only studying there for a few months two years ago, but I found that there was a variety of foods served, and that much to be found was very good (in particular, I liked the whole gastropub phenomenon; very good food in more upscale pub settings).

    My only issue with the British food scene is that, like much of anything else in Britain, I found dining out (and grocery shopping, incidentally) to be too expensive; and this goes for even the "ploughman's lunch" options in average pubs. Guess the American dollar still has a way to go...
    My own experience living and working on the European "continent" is that you can still eat better, and cheaper, in more places in France, Spain, and Italy, than you can in Great Britain. It is also still easier to get a bad meal in Great Britain than in those countries.
    #19
    Tedbear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 20:28:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by meltedcheese

    Green & Blacks is a famous brit organic chocolate brand that is very good quality and has high cocoa solids %age, its very popular and sold in supermarkets etc. But even Cadburys has a higher cocoa solids input and less sugar than Hersheys etc. Also Loseleys is a very good brand of traditionally made ice cream and some of the best I have ever eaten. If you eat brands like walls then yes they are no so good. Again there is an up and coming artisan movement for dairy products like cheeses and ice cream that is producing good results.

    I've found greasier more poor quality food over here in many mom and pop places including the ever pervasive use of powdered mash potatoes and not real ones, that I have in the UK. tmiles I don't think its the actual food for tourists as such more like the places that serve it, as in anywhere around the globe. There will always be personal likes and dislikes to food anyhow, even within the states there is passionate partisanship about certain items. So I don't think it can be blamed on the country. Old no 7 brand, yes food from other countries will seem exotic even if it is ordinary to the country itself :) and mirroting that it could be said that the US fast food and convenience food influence has had a bad affect on various cuisines inc. British.





    I do occasionally buy Green & Black's Dark Chocolate, but I don't identify it as a British brand. The packaging on the product that is sold in the US bears an address for Green & Black's in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In addition, it is manufactured in Italy. Remember my comment about "superior chocolates from The Continent? I think that the packaging bears out my statement. Perhaps the company is British in origin, but I have difficulty identifying it as such.

    As to Hershey's, I have previously stated in other parts of this site that I consider Hershey's to be "kiddie chocolate", due to its very high sugar/low cocoa solids content. So, please don't assume that I like Hershey's. Personally, I would rather go without chocolate than to take away some little child's supply of it.
    #20
    ScreenBear
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/03 23:27:45 (permalink)
    Belgian chocolate is to chocolate what Ferrari is to cars.
    The Bear
    #21
    MacTAC
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 03:00:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Old No.7 Brand


    First post here by the way, you all seem really nice.
    Hi Old No.7 Brand. Very nice here on this thread. Some others can get a little scary though :-) Welcome...
    #22
    meltedcheese
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 09:05:33 (permalink)
    Tedbear : yes it is a British brand. It was started back in the beginning of the 90's in the UK by the guy who ran Whole Earth wholefoods ( yes he is an American ! ) Like many brands the world over you will find manufacturers away from the country of origin. And companies source their products from many different places, after all you would expect cacao beans to be grown in the UK ? Also where did I assume you liked Hersheys I was making a general statement not a personal one ?
    #23
    Nemis
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 10:27:05 (permalink)
    I was at the book store the other day and found a book on the history of British food, might even be called " The history of British food" or something quite close. Also Williams and Somona have new cookbooks that are themed on certain places and the "London" cookbook is great, lots of great location and food pictures.
    Try jollygrub.com for mail order brit food as well.
    Check out any cookbooks by Gordon Ramsey as well.
    I know someday my husband and i will visit England and i can't wait for a proper afternoon tea at the Ritz.
    #24
    Old No.7 Brand
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 15:34:23 (permalink)
    Nemis, if you're looking forward to proper English Tea, get yourself to the Yorkshire area. Forget this Devon Scones and clotted cream deal. Yorkshire is renowned for it's Tea and Cakes/Pastries.

    http://www.pbase.com/orac/great_british_food - Some pictures of more well-known British foods, including one of my childhood favourites, the humble Vanilla Slice. These are so great, the top pastry part has a sticky Icing, designed to glue the top section to your fingers, and the Custard in the middle is firm enough to stay put, but always squeezes out of the sides, forcing you to eat the whole thing from the middle, outwards.
    #25
    linus
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 16:22:04 (permalink)
    Old No.7, Beautiful, now I'm dying for a meat pie with some Branson pickle.
    Do you also remember Victoria sponge? That was so good, a simple white cake cut in half, filled with jam and sprinkled with sugar.
    I also wondered if you have the thin pancakes with lemon juice and sugar on shrove tuesday.
    and, apple pie with hot Birds custard on top.
    #26
    Old No.7 Brand
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 17:14:54 (permalink)
    Haha, yes I know all of those very well. I'm only 18, but, like it seems you did, I grew up with these things.
    Which Lemon juice did you use on your Pancakes? We tended not to use actual Lemons for some reason (probably my tight-fisted parents) - Instead we used that juice in a bottle shaped to look like an actual Lemon - Size, colour and all, it was magical.

    I used to and still do, like a dish of Custard. No pudding, no sponge, just a bowl of custard.
    #27
    linus
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 17:55:14 (permalink)
    Well, goodness, you're young enough to be my little brother!
    We always used the real lemons and I grated a little of the peel into the sugar.. Did you ever notice you could eat those things for hours on end and still want more?
    Custard is a beautiful thing.. hot or cold, yes.
    And I forgot, marmite on hot buttered toast. I think my record is six pieces.
    #28
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 18:04:21 (permalink)
    Well lads, I thank you one and all for setting me straight on the matter of English food. It would appear that there is plenty of wonderful eats to be found across the pond. As I mentioned before, Kean's and pubs were my only experience and their food was great, but then, I had always heard about the plate of cold mutton and that didn't turn me on. I guess I read too much Dickens.

    It is nice to hear from you ---Old #7 Brand ---- are you just visiting? going to school? or are you here to stay? And what does your name mean ???

    Well cheer-o, pip pip, and all that rot !!!!!!! Don't forget your umbrella !!!!!!! Stiff upper lip, what-ho Watson !!!!

    #29
    linus
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    RE: English Food, old boy !!!!!!!!! 2006/01/04 18:12:07 (permalink)
    "Well cheer-o, pip pip, and all that rot !!!!!!! Don't forget your umbrella !!!!!!! Stiff upper lip, what-ho Watson !!!!"

    Yo yo yo, word!
    Mr.Mariner, get thee a nice beef roast, make yorkshire pudding, creamed onions ( both ridiculously simple to make) roast some potatoes in with the meat, and make whatever root vegetables appeal to you.
    Finsh the next day by frying up some shredded cabbage, onions, the leftover potatos and meat in the meat grease. This is the bubble and squeak , I bet you'll love it. Apple pie with cheddar cheese for dessert. Happy cooking! hope you enjoy the experience!

    #30
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