Tickling your taste buds
The English have maintained a certain decorum for the food they eat. And discounting mash which you seemed to have at every single meal of the day, excluding breakfast, you tend to have, after a while, a certain liking to it.
I am sorry to say British food is not exactly associated with the excitement as it is with say French cuisine, Indian curries or a Chinese with the latter two becoming part and parcel of the British eating culture.
Actually I am not sure about this, and it probably depends on which people you are talking to but judging from the extent of these restaurants and eateries in Britain, I am bound to say, yes they are part of the British food culture.
But nevertheless the English have maintained a certain decorum for the food they eat. And discounting mash which you seemed to have at every single meal of the day, excluding breakfast, you tend to have, after a while, a certain liking to it.
First on the list must be the traditional fish and chips with the aroma of salt and vinegar and the extra mushy peas. The whiff in your nostrils, is a mile long, with you waiting to tuck in and enjoy a plateful. Fish and Chips have long become part of the British culture, not the eating culture, but the whole way of life as you must have the chippy in practically every corner of your neighborhood.
An Englishman/woman wouldn’t be seen without his fish and chips. And there is a certain British tradition in that—going to the chippy in all hours of the day, getting the nosh wrapped up in a newspaper or a pale looking white paper, going home and not bothering to have a plate, eating out of the wrapper with sprinkling of salt, and dash of more vinegar. It’s wonderful.
The next best thing is the Sunday lunch. I can still smell the roast beef, roast potatoes, the cauliflower, cabbage and carrots, and oh yes, I forgot the Yorkshire pudding that seems a delicacy of its own. This is really the traditional best. Of course, we mustn’t forget the gravy, mint sauce and the cranberry sauce at the side of the very large plate.
The roast, a joint leg of beef is left in the oven for goodness knows how long, only the lady of the house would know that, I suppose a good few hours, when its put on the table a 1 o’clock sharp where the family get together and the head of the household begins carving slices of meat. It actually sounds like a ritual.
Aside from this and something that can be eaten during the week is the famous shepherds’ pie which is not really like all the other pies the English love to have, the meat-and-potato pie, chicken pie, the cheese-and-onion pie. No, the Shepherds’ pie has a class of its own, especially in wintertime when its freezing outside.
And don’t ask me about where the name came from either. I am only concerned about eating the pie. All I know is its made of mince meat, carrots, probably onions and coated in thick layer of, yes guessed it, mash potatoes and put in the oven for the top to glow. When served of course there is the gravy, cabbages and carrots. So you can tuck!
Another delicacy I remember, which reminded of home was stew and dumpling. It was served with mash potatoes and the usual boiled carrots variety. Vary taste is the stew, and you kept coming back for second helpings. It had meat in it and the usual vegetables that included carrots and of course if you wanted to go out of your way and sound really original then you have rabbit stew.
Again you had stew when it was really cold, it was supposed to warm your different body-parts. I think somebody told me, it was a bit like Hungarian Goulash but since I didn’t know what that was I couldn’t compare.
Finally the bangers and mash sort of thing, not really a delicacy, but it’s what ordinary people eat. With that you can add a fried egg and maybe some baked beans, a quick luncheon for any time of the day with no need for any particular elaboration.
This is good old wholesome British food, not ecstatic but very good for the stomach, the heart and possibly the mind. Of course outside, the five dishes you can maybe add the rump stake, chips and mushrooms. All grease, yummy, yummy, and happy eating.