Particularly British Foods

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
24,052
482
126
I'm always on the search for new foods that I haven't tried before. Living in the southern US, food is often local comfort variety or typical restaurant fare. When I travel, I always try new things in case I'm missing out on something.

I was watching a YouTube channel with this guy that put Worcestershire sauce and black pepper on an avocado. He was British and claimed it was the best way to eat one. I really like Worcestershire sauce and use it all the time when grilling...but I always buy the cheapest stuff I can. So naturally, I picked up the good stuff today to experiment. The other thing he suggested was Marmite on toast.

The smell of Worcestershire sauce isn't very appealing to me when it's cold, but the flavor on the avocado was legit. Wasn't a bad combo.

The Marmite was waaaay saltier than I expected. It was like a punch in my taste buds. I checked the label and saw it has onion/carrot juice in it. After the salt taste subsided a little, the aftertaste made me want more. It was an interesting experiment, but I'm going to have to eat more of it to get more used to the shock factor.

What else should I try that I can get in the states....besides blood pudding?
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
24,052
482
126
Thats like saying "where can I find really good whale vomit?"
I see your point. But fish and chips and ales seem to be the main export when it comes to British food. There's gotta be more staples and decent stuff we miss that Brits eat often.

When I was vacationing in the Pacific, there was a cold bar of weird pickled breakfast selections... I'm guessing they were for Japanese tourists. I tried a bunch of things and reluctantly ate them. In lieu of traveling this year, I'd like to learn more.
 

[DHT]Osiris

Diamond Member
Dec 15, 2015
7,583
3,358
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The brits aren't super well known for their cuisine, but I've always been partial to meat pies and their flakey, flakey pastries. There is a reason why Indian food is so prevalent in England though.
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
24,052
482
126
The brits aren't super well known for their cuisine, but I've always been partial to meat pies and their flakey, flakey pastries. There is a reason why Indian food is so prevalent in England though.
True. I'm all about curry too. British pub curry is a lot different than Indian curry.
 

FaaR

Senior member
Dec 28, 2007
923
269
136
When jul comes, christmas pudding with brandy butter.
And mince pies! Baked with butter preferably, and eaten warm.

Foo*in' delish!

They do like to douse their christmas bakery in liqueur over there though... lol Christmas is apparently just an excuse to get incredibly drunk...? *shrug*

Also, ditto on the shepherd's pie, that's scrumptious stuff. And, genuinely made fish&chips. You can find the stuff sort of everywhere really, but it's often poorly prepared. I had some really great fish&chips in Wimbledon, once. (IE, the greater London area of that name, not the tennis tournament... :)) It was head and shoulders above anything bearing the same name I've tried elsewhere. Washed it down with ginger beer, it went down a treat!
 

kage69

Lifer
Jul 17, 2003
15,817
4,292
136
The brits aren't super well known for their cuisine, but I've always been partial to meat pies and their flakey, flakey pastries. There is a reason why Indian food is so prevalent in England though.
Yeah, colonialism. Curry spices did to food what tea and alcohol did to beverages, made them safer for consumption back in the day. Kinda like how we can thank British colonialism for IPA beers. People in general like foreign flavors, the quest for peppercorns played a big role in early world exploration didn't it? The Indian climate is conducive to producing those spices, hundreds of varieties. The weather in the UK, not so much.

A friend of mine was fond of boiled meat jokes at the expense of the brits. I noticed that stopped immediately when he encountered his first Beef Wellington. He doesn't even like mushrooms, but practically licked his plate clean.

Having said all that, I still find black pudding disgusting and have absolutely zero interest in haggis (sorry grandpa).

Btw, saw this recently... 220 year old curry recipe found near Bristol
 
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DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,987
832
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i live here .. or, "there", i should say ..
and i find the food appalling. Of the eighteen countries i have eaten in (not counting multiple cuisines in those countries) the UK has by FAR the worst food and the worst food culture of all of them. Sure, we have such living treasures as Gordon Ramsay, but the average brit can live off of canned beans and white bread toast, and they do.

Marmite is really, really not popular. It exists, and a few people eat it - it's a byproduct of beer brewing, it's not like it takes effort to stock the shelves. The other-brand equivalent, Vegemite, is super-popular in Australia, but here it's just something that a few people will have in their pantry, and spread it on a toast twice a year when they fancy something weird. I, for one, actually like that stuff - it's a very MSG-like taste.

Worcestershire "wooster" sauce is .. not great. It's a mess of molasses, tamarind, anchovies (which i love), and spices. British people don't have a concept of taste as the rest of the world does, so it doesn't relaly matter if it's good, it's just something that you put on food and then "oh, i can taste". That's why brits love curry - the more obscene the amount of spices, the better, never mind if it actually tastes good.

i could start explaining all the dishes that constitute the typical british diet, but really, here food is seen as something you gotta have so you don't die - an annoyance. Commercial fast food is everywhere, and while we don't do burgers as much, we have our equivalent - sausage rolls (disgustingly greasy), "pies" (extremely thick crust salted pie with meat filling), terrible supermarket-fridge white-bread sandwiches with tasteless fillings, such as "cheese" (just cheese), egg and cheese, egg, and the king, egg, cheese and sausage, english breakfast (not a breakfast, but a collection of tasteless, badly cooked sausages, eggs, something called bacon which isn't bacon, whole tasteless mushrooms, and BEANS), and obviously the most british food of all, BEANS ON TOAST, which is made, hooold hold on, let me explain, it's made with beans .. ye, beans ON toast. a piece of toasted bread, with the most tasteless, overcooked beans in a bland tomato sauce on it. No spices, no bacon grease, no onion, no salt, no.

Fish fingers (frozen fish sticks) with thawed frozen peas without condiment is another staple.

Fish & Chips is something that you'd be surprised how badly they get it. You'd think that crispy fried fish fillets with french fries would, you know, TASTE OF SOMETHING. Nope.
The condiment for F&C is "malt vinegar", a watery, tasteless vinegar-like substance that isn't actually real vinegar. If you are thinking balsamic vinegar, or wine vinegar, right now, you are wrong.

Not only do i live here but, i see what these people have in their fridge. The typical, 50yo brit will eat out of frozen bags .. uh, about 10 times a week. If it's not frozen, it's your supermarket ready-meal equivalent. My three adult roommates today had 1. a microwave bag of vegan food (he's not vegan), 2. reheated supermarket chicken pies (not chicken and mushroom, just chicken, bland, tasteless chicken), 3. the guy who fancies himself a chef and has Jamie Oliver books in the kitchen made a pathetic effort at cooking a stew, wound up boiling the meat, left everything watery, put zero spice in it, and happily ate it with a golden glow like he made fucking michelin starred food.
I'm a caveman so i made a futomaki of tamago, avocado and cooked salmon (with kaonbu tsuyu and wasabi), crispied-pita sandwiches of hummus, spiced fresh tomato, balsamic vinegar + olive oil rocket, and some toasted artisanal bread (which i had to re-bake because the supermarket cannot even bake bread) with some fancy vegan-option, no palm-oil, no white sugar Nutella-clone. And tonight i'm making .. uh, haven't thought about it yet, but i've got options - chinese honey chicken, crispy beef, prawns stirfry, or maybe just some simple spaghetti, i can do, i'm italian.

Britain *used* to be a country of good food - particularly game, but even the meat pies used to be great, back when they were made & sold fresh, but now they are not, and really, nobody here thinks anything of eating a pork pie cold out of a supermarket fridge, all the meat congealed, and the pastry soggy and stale. As i nderstand it, things went really bad in the 60s, but i don't really know much about that history.
 

Zanovar

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2011
3,396
218
106
Cornish pasties are great.What i have noticed, fish and chips have gone up im price. Tha past 2/3 years ish.Bastards
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,987
832
126
i need to explain that there's a lot of really, really good things about the UK. Things work. Stuff happens as expected. There's almost zero bureaucratic nightmares, and complaining can change things. The government here works 10x better than it does in Italy .. and i won't comment about the US, not right now.
Wages are pretty darn good, although lfe isn't cheap, but it's no scandinavia.

The food is bad, the houses are bad, the rent is too high, and the people are boring. And the weather is miserable. But my taxes are done faultlessly through my payslips, the trains run on time, and i have not been murdered by a po .. ugh, never mind.
 

Zanovar

Diamond Member
Jan 21, 2011
3,396
218
106
True story...
i need to explain that there's a lot of really, really good things about the UK. Things work. Stuff happens as expected. There's almost zero bureaucratic nightmares, and complaining can change things. The government here works 10x better than it does in Italy .. and i won't comment about the US, not right now.
Wages are pretty darn good, although lfe isn't cheap, but it's no scandinavia.

The food is bad, the houses are bad, the rent is too high, and the people are boring. And the weather is miserable. But my taxes are done faultlessly through my payslips, the trains run on time, and i have not been murdered by a po .. ugh, never mind.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
17,501
1,456
126
i live here .. or, "there", i should say ..
and i find the food appalling. Of the eighteen countries i have eaten in (not counting multiple cuisines in those countries) the UK has by FAR the worst food and the worst food culture of all of them. Sure, we have such living treasures as Gordon Ramsay, but the average brit can live off of canned beans and white bread toast, and they do.

Marmite is really, really not popular. It exists, and a few people eat it - it's a byproduct of beer brewing, it's not like it takes effort to stock the shelves. The other-brand equivalent, Vegemite, is super-popular in Australia, but here it's just something that a few people will have in their pantry, and spread it on a toast twice a year when they fancy something weird. I, for one, actually like that stuff - it's a very MSG-like taste.

Worcestershire "wooster" sauce is .. not great. It's a mess of molasses, tamarind, anchovies (which i love), and spices. British people don't have a concept of taste as the rest of the world does, so it doesn't relaly matter if it's good, it's just something that you put on food and then "oh, i can taste". That's why brits love curry - the more obscene the amount of spices, the better, never mind if it actually tastes good.

i could start explaining all the dishes that constitute the typical british diet, but really, here food is seen as something you gotta have so you don't die - an annoyance. Commercial fast food is everywhere, and while we don't do burgers as much, we have our equivalent - sausage rolls (disgustingly greasy), "pies" (extremely thick crust salted pie with meat filling), terrible supermarket-fridge white-bread sandwiches with tasteless fillings, such as "cheese" (just cheese), egg and cheese, egg, and the king, egg, cheese and sausage, english breakfast (not a breakfast, but a collection of tasteless, badly cooked sausages, eggs, something called bacon which isn't bacon, whole tasteless mushrooms, and BEANS), and obviously the most british food of all, BEANS ON TOAST, which is made, hooold hold on, let me explain, it's made with beans .. ye, beans ON toast. a piece of toasted bread, with the most tasteless, overcooked beans in a bland tomato sauce on it. No spices, no bacon grease, no onion, no salt, no.

Fish fingers (frozen fish sticks) with thawed frozen peas without condiment is another staple.

Fish & Chips is something that you'd be surprised how badly they get it. You'd think that crispy fried fish fillets with french fries would, you know, TASTE OF SOMETHING. Nope.
The condiment for F&C is "malt vinegar", a watery, tasteless vinegar-like substance that isn't actually real vinegar. If you are thinking balsamic vinegar, or wine vinegar, right now, you are wrong.

Not only do i live here but, i see what these people have in their fridge. The typical, 50yo brit will eat out of frozen bags .. uh, about 10 times a week. If it's not frozen, it's your supermarket ready-meal equivalent. My three adult roommates today had 1. a microwave bag of vegan food (he's not vegan), 2. reheated supermarket chicken pies (not chicken and mushroom, just chicken, bland, tasteless chicken), 3. the guy who fancies himself a chef and has Jamie Oliver books in the kitchen made a pathetic effort at cooking a stew, wound up boiling the meat, left everything watery, put zero spice in it, and happily ate it with a golden glow like he made fucking michelin starred food.
I'm a caveman so i made a futomaki of tamago, avocado and cooked salmon (with kaonbu tsuyu and wasabi), crispied-pita sandwiches of hummus, spiced fresh tomato, balsamic vinegar + olive oil rocket, and some toasted artisanal bread (which i had to re-bake because the supermarket cannot even bake bread) with some fancy vegan-option, no palm-oil, no white sugar Nutella-clone. And tonight i'm making .. uh, haven't thought about it yet, but i've got options - chinese honey chicken, crispy beef, prawns stirfry, or maybe just some simple spaghetti, i can do, i'm italian.

Britain *used* to be a country of good food - particularly game, but even the meat pies used to be great, back when they were made & sold fresh, but now they are not, and really, nobody here thinks anything of eating a pork pie cold out of a supermarket fridge, all the meat congealed, and the pastry soggy and stale. As i nderstand it, things went really bad in the 60s, but i don't really know much about that history.
Yikes! Remind me to never visit Britain! But seriously, I've heard traditional British food was pretty forgettable. Which is strange because Britain was always wealthy country. Wealth = leisure, food, and travel so they had exposure to all kinds of different cuisines and had the resources to source all kinds of ingredients. France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are all close by with great food culture. Why did it not rub off on Britain?
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
6,215
1,775
136
Yeah, I wouldn't suggest you go out of your way to find it. I'll go along with Brit self-regard about comedy, or even music, but food? Not really. It's not our speciality. It's just fuel - with lots of added sugar, salt and fat.

The most I'd say is that it's not quite as much of an outlier in it's awfulness as is sometimes suggested - insofar as a lot of other countries - particularly northern European countries- have cuisine you wouldn't seek out. I reckon fermented herring is even more of an 'acquired taste' than is marmite.

Yikes! Remind me to never visit Britain! But seriously, I've heard traditional British food was pretty forgettable. Which is strange because Britain was always wealthy country. Wealth = leisure, food, and travel so they had exposure to all kinds of different cuisines and had the resources to source all kinds of ingredients. France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal are all close by with great food culture. Why did it not rub off on Britain?
What I heard was it was precisely _because_ Britain was wealthy. The idea, apparently, is that the French and Italians had to invent sauces and fancy cooking methods because they couldn't afford the sheer quantity of meat that Britain could.
 

KillerCharlie

Diamond Member
Aug 21, 2005
3,654
52
91
I've taken a dozen month-long work trips there with a limitless corporate card so I've eaten a lot of food.

Tuna + sweetcorn - I've seen that everywhere. From baked potatoes to Cornish pasties to Subway to pizza... even Papa John's.

And don't get me started on English ale. Lukewarm, stale, and 4% ABV. I usually make a trip to the Bermondsey beer mile to get something good.

My colleagues told me that the Indian food in England was great... Many years ago. I've been to probably 12 Indian restaurants in southern England, and none of them were better than the worst Indian restaurant I've been to in the US. It's so greasy and overcooked, and loaded with tons of sugar.

I do love a good sticky toffee pudding, but it can be hard to find a good one

We have had some great food, but that's because we have corporate cards and have been going there for 30 years. It feels like we've been to every pub in Surrey and Hampshire. The ambience of some pubs is spectacular, especially old ones in the countryside!

Even with a corporate card it can be hard to find good variety.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,987
832
126
Why did it not rub off on Britain?
I do not know *exactly*, but have some speculations; (it's probably a combination of these)
1. there never really was a Roman occupancy. The troops stayed for about 100 years, but the aristocracy never settled in.
2. Britain was, until even a few years ago, a country where everyone got out at 6am and back to bed at 10pm. It's cold and favours really heavy breakfast foods, and alcohol at night.
(that's also why mild, slightly cool ales were much more popular than cold beer). Also, not having the mainland's sweltering heat, refrigeration wasn't something your everyday man needed as much.

It's amazing how many brits drink, of social classes where nobody else would. Your typical MOM would go to the pub and get smashed. Elsewhere in europe, alcohol is seen a a vice, even if a mild one, but here it's seem as a common commodity that everyone consumes. Very few people "do not drink", and as such drinking has taken a chunk out of the interest for food. Also, visiting the pub is a social activity for brits, so much so that people will go to the pub at 8am to have coffee and breakfast.

3. Brits "love food" but, as said before, not really in the same way everyone else does. They love curries, and, well, Britain has the same activity around food businesses that other countries do - it's just that "taste of food" isn't really a major concern.

Frankly, i cannot blame them. Think about this, it's as if, i was someone from a country where everyone smokes, and went to Sweden and complained because "oof, nobody smokes".
It turns out that if you simply cram something edible in your mouth, you'll be absolutely fine, and you don't need for food to be delicious to live. But, in the Roman countries, food represents more than just survival. In fact, the european mainland was extremely good at producing food, during ancient times, rivaled only by Egypt (who then produced mostly just wheat), and a major factor in europe becoming so stable and advanced during the bronze age, was just how much fucking food we pumped out. (and yeah, the fact that we had Tin and thus could make bronze, ergo the name Bronze Age).

The mediterranean sea is a calm, warm sea. Our climate is mild and ideal for animals, without terrible cold or exhausting heat. There's water coming out of the ground practically everywhere in europe. Food was something we could be proud of, as a matter of fact, "have you eaten" and "what did you eat" are phrases which enter every conversation a Euro would have. Having good food is the way we keep ourselves happy, so we are very particular about the quality and taste of our food. Here in the UK, you can put of food at your restaurant that would get thrown at your face everywhere else, and nobody will complain. Taste, is not something that they are really concerned with - service is.




I think that what failed the UK is ... i think there are two main factors at play, here.

First, the UK has had nearly 200 years of wealth. The UK was the center of the industrial revolution, and - until about 30 years ago - the average brit had more money than any Euro to spend, they were developing at a furious rate, and they never really needed to find satisfaction in "stuffin'yo face with treats".

Second, i can see the remnants of, while not a great food culture, at least great food. What i think really happened, is the "fast-food-ization" of the UK.

Go anywhere in europe, walk along the street, and you will see tons of privately owned shops. Shops which all have slight variation in what they make / sell.
Here, you can go to any a UK city, and you will have a hard time to tell which city you are in, because all of the UK looks absolutely identical. There are only chain brand stores, selling all the same products.

see the photo posted above of the cornish pasty? that is a pastry from The West Cornwall Pasty Company. They make cornish pastries with the intent of being as profitable as possible. They never were a single-shop owner who has had to contend with other shop owners, and whose tactic to be successful was to "make them better than everybody else's".

Britain has a much cooler climate than the mainland; there is an abundance of game, hogs, pheasant, duck, deer, and the game pie (a salty pie of mixed game animal meats) was extremely popular, and i went to some tiny town in the forgotten north, and had a slice of game pie made by a local butcher, and WANTED TO MOVE THERE.
Good food existed at some point, but it got rendered tasteless by the process where nearly every shop now belongs to a chain. Go to some rural town, and you can still eat well, Euro-style.


TLDR:
food isn't just food, it's happiness. Brits get their happiness from other things.
 

JulesMaximus

No Lifer
Jul 3, 2003
73,972
535
126
My son went to the UK a few years ago and discovered bangers & mash, a dish that he loves. He always loved fish & chips, who doesn't, but it is hard to find decent fish & chips here for some reason. He also discovered Indian food while he was in the UK as they have some of the best Indian restaurants in the world there.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,987
832
126
update:
roommate n1, the guy who isn't vegan but eats mostly vegan burgers, opened a 4-pack of raw chicken breasts right in front of me, and threw them in the oven *like that*.
he did not butterfly them or otherwise do anything about the chicken breast being thicker on one side.
he did not beat them to flatten them.
he did not salt or pepper them.
he did not add oil.
no spices were harmed during the cooking of these chicken breasts.
 

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