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A short list of "traditional" British food.

Updated on January 7, 2013

What's in a name?

What exactly is "Traditional English Food"? I'm sure everyone is familiar with our love of Fish & Chips or Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding, so I thought I'd put together a list of traditional but rather more unusual English foods. I don't think we eat anything that weird or exotic, but I do think we have some odd names for things, so just in case you're visiting England anytime soon, here's some clarification for you.

Home made are best, but failing that these'll do.

They're not usually sideways but the pic thingy seems to be having an off day....
They're not usually sideways but the pic thingy seems to be having an off day....

The truly silly names.

Faggots: I'm calling this a British food but it's much more common in the midlands and the north. Faggots are large meatballs made of offal - which doesn't really make them sound all that tasty does it? Maybe it's one of those things you have to be bought up with to truly appreciate. Home made are best, but failing that Mr Brains will do. Can also be found in most chippies.

Spotted Dick: You don't get a more traditionally English food than this. A shool dinners favourite. Spotted Dick is a steamed sponge pudding containing dried fruit (the spots). Best served on cold winter's evenings with lashings of custard.

Bubble & Squeak: We're having that tonight actually. In a nutshell it's fried leftovers and is often eaten on Boxing Day. The essential ingredient is mashed (or crushed) spuds (potatoes) with any spare veg and bits of meat left from the day before. Tastes better than it sounds...

Toad in the Hole: No reptiles will be harmed in the making of this dish! When it comes to British food you don't get much more traditional than this. Sausages baked in a batter pudding. The sausages need to be good quality and the pudding batter needs to be light and crispy. Perfect when served with home made onion gravy.

The slightly strange.

Bangers 'n' Mash: A traditionally English autumn/ winter treat which is quite simply sausages and mashed potatoes. Any pub claiming to serve "Traditional British Food" should be struck off if they don't serve this. Again, requires home made onion gravy.

Jam Roly Poly: Another school dinners favourite and another steamed suet pudding. This time the sponge is laid out flat, spread with jam (preferably strawberry) then rolled up and steamed. Sliced and served with mountains of custard this is hard to beat.

Piccalilli: What sort of a name is that? I promise you that despite its name this truly is a British food. We are known for our love of chutneys and pickles and in my book this is the king of the pickles - a mustard based vegetable pickle that MUST include cauliflower. I'll agree that it's lumpy yellow consistency doesn't make it all that visually appealing, but it's sharp taste is perfect with cold ham and pork pies.

The slightly misleading.

Mince Pies: A misleading name because this British food these days contains no meat, although it apparently did in the past. Today it is traditionally eaten throughout the christmas period and is a small pastry pie containing a sweetened dried fruit mix. Best served warm with a big dollop of thick fresh cream.

Yorkshire puddings: Often just known as "yorkies". Misleading because they're not served as a pudding. Purists in Yorkshire will serve them as a starter with a little gravy and the rest of us will have them with our roast beef. Uses the same batter mix as for Toad in the Hole and cooking them perfectly is a fine art leading to many "my granny makes better yorkies than yours" competitions.

Food for thought?

Well I can't claim these traditional English foods are the healthiest foods on earth, and most of them are best suited to our long cold winter evenings, but they're top notch tasty comfort foods and you'd do well to try some whenever you're over here.


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    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      I have heard most of them but I like the minced pie. It´s yummy for me. Thanks for sharing your traditional food. Have a nice day!

    • Just History profile image

      Just History 6 years ago from England

      How about Bread and Butter pudding? Great hub with lots of ideas to make the tummy rumble!!

    • Carmen H profile image

      Carmen Beth 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these useful information. This is a hub one should read before visiting Britain.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      great hub - voted up etc

    • Beth Pipe profile image

      Beth Pipe 6 years ago from Cumbria, UK

      Thanks guys - glad you like it. I love foods from around the world and love British food too - even if it is a little odd sometimes. Judi, I agree ham & Branston is divine with bubble & squeak!

    • LadyLyell profile image

      LadyLyell 6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Thanks for the list of favourite foods in England.Australians cook much like the English so it must be the influence going back to the early settlers.

    • Kristin Halsted profile image

      Kristin Halsted 6 years ago

      Thanks for the explanation! I had seen spotted dick in a specialty store and always wondered what it is! I love the British names and that there's nothing really equivalent in the US. I can't wait to get to England some day and try them all! Great hub! Voted up!

    • shadowprancer profile image

      shadowprancer 6 years ago from Washington

      I've heard of spotted dick and mince pies, but the rest I've never heard of. I like the interesting names.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 6 years ago from UK

      I love Bubble and Squeak - can't imagine why we always leave it to Christmas to make it! Perfect with ham and Branston pickle - or at least I think so!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I've heard of a few of these and I make mince meat pies and tarts every year at Christmastime. The first two made me laugh...Faggots and Spotted Dick.