Quintessentially British food

The Staff Canteen
By Rebecca Smith It really doesn't get much more British than the Glorious 12th, men in tweed with guns at the ready we look to see what other foods are quintessentially British along with the glorious grouse. With the ease of sharing food across the world, it’s harder nowadays to find food that is being eaten in one particular country. Despite this we decided to track down the dishes that are most popular in the UK. We love our curries, pasta and noodles, but what are the foods that us Brits eat?

1) Afternoon Tea - scones and crumpets:Afternoon tea - Credit Hotel Café Royal

A typically British ‘ritual’ that has been a highlight of British culture since the 1800s. It is a miniature meal composed of a selection of sandwiches, scones served with clotted cream and jam, cakes, and most importantly tea! Whilst in the early years it was a formal social occasion, nowadays it is seen as an indulgence and done simply to celebrate an event like a birthday.

2) Beans on toast:

This is a basic meal for those Brits who are short of cash (usually students!). The idea is simple…a piece of toast topped with baked beans and cheese as an extra. A strange combination but one that is more popular in the UK.

3) Toad in the Hole:

This wholly British dish contains the best of British. Sausages in a Yorkshire pudding batter served with vegetable and gravy is a classic Brit dish that you'd struggle to find anywhere else. Its name derives from the idea that the sausages stick out of the batter like a toad sticking its head out of a hole.

4) Bangers and Mash/ Pie and Mash:

Pie and mash - Credit to Pastry Pilgrim, Soho, London   These traditional British dishes are of the same theme. Both should be served with a creamy mash and topped with onion gravy. It is a reflection of typical British ‘pub grub’ creations.

5) Cottage Pie/ Shepherd’s Pie:

Whilst a cottage pie is served with beef and the other with lamb, both pies follow the same recipe. Since the early years, the dish was made from any leftover roasted meat and lined with mash potato. The Shepherd and cottage pie is a staple diet in many British homes.

6) Haggis:Scotland Haggis - Photographer Zoonabar

Haggis is a well-known Scottish grub that is considered as Scotland’s national dish. It is commonly known, maybe, for the shocking ingredients that most people are unwilling to try. Ingredients include the likes of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and stock usually encased in an animal’s stomach and simmered for approx. 3 hours. You won’t find anywhere else that would experiment with such an unusual group of ingredients.

7) Spotted Dick:

Spotted Dick   No, it’s not something that you should be worried about. Instead its name derives from the speckled reflection of the dried fruits within the dough. It is a famous British dessert commonly served with custard but not found in any other country (or at least another country that will use the same name!).

8) Ploughman’s Lunch:

Although technically, as it consists of a variety of different foods on plate, it might not be termed as one particular dish. But as a titled meal, it seems the Ploughman’s lunch is something that is only served to us Brits. It is a traditionally cold meal that consists of cheeses, chutney and bread with additional items such as ham and onions.

9. Eccles Cake:Eccles_cakes

The cakes originally derive their name from the English town, Eccles, where it was first created. Other nicknames for the Eccles cake include Fly Cake, Fly Pie and even a Fly’s Graveyard (the flies being the dried fruit within the cake). Whilst you may find variations of the same theme in other countries, the Eccles cake remains on British soil.

10)  Mince Pies:

Mince Pies - credit to Mermaid photography   Despite what you’d expect, these pies are mostly filled with fruit and mixed spices. The only meat you’ll find in a mince pie nowadays is from the suet. Traditionally served as a sweet Christmas pie, it continues to be a British favourite in the holiday season. Any food that you think we've missed? What dishes are quintessentially British to you? See our feature on the Glorious 12th here along with some recipes and some guidance on how to prepare and cook this celebrated bird.
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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th August 2014

Quintessentially British food