British cuisine: Wikis

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Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding
Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of the United Kingdom.
The custom of afternoon tea and scones has its origins in Imperial Britain.

British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom. Historically, British cuisine means "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it."[1] However, British cuisine has absorbed the cultural influence of those that have settled in Britain, producing hybrid dishes, such as the South Asian chicken tikka masala, hailed as "Britain's true national dish".[2]

Vilified as "unimaginative and heavy", British cuisine has traditionally been limited in its international recognition to the full breakfast and the Christmas dinner.[3] However, Celtic agriculture and animal breeding produced a wide variety of foodstuffs for indigenous Celts and Britons. Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savory herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest introduced exotic spices into England in the Middle Ages.[3] The British Empire facilitated a knowledge of India's elaborate food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs".[3] Food rationing policies, put in place by the British government during wartime periods of the 20th century,[4] are said to have been the stimulus for British cuisine's poor international reputation.[3]

British dishes include fish and chips, the Sunday roast, steak and kidney pie, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has several national and regional varieties, including English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine, which each have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cheshire cheese, the Yorkshire pudding, Arbroath Smokie, and Welsh cakes.

Contents

History

Romano-British agriculture, highly fertile soils and advanced animal breeding produced a wide variety of very high quality foodstuffs for indigenous Romano-British people. Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques and the Norman conquest reintroduced exotic spices and continental influences back into Great Britain in the Middle Ages[3] as maritime Britain became a major player in the transcontinental spice trade for many centuries after. Following the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries "plain and robust" food remained the mainstay of the British diet, reflecting tastes which are still shared with neighbouring north European countries and traditional North American Cuisine. In the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Colonial British Empire began to be influenced by India's elaborate food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs", the United Kingdom developed a worldwide reputation[5] for the quality of British beef and pedigree bulls were exported to form the bloodline of major modern beef herds in the New World.[3]

During the World Wars of the 20th century difficulties of food supply were countered by official measures which included rationing. The problem was worse in the second World War and the Ministry of Food was established to address the problems. See Rationing in the United Kingdom during and after World War II. Due to the economic problems following the war rationing continued for some years afterwards. Food rationing policies, put in place by the British government during wartime periods of the 20th century,[4] are often claimed as the stimulus for the decline of British cuisine in the twentieth century.

In common with many advanced economies, rapid urbanisation and the early industrialisation of food production as well as female emancipation have resulted in a highly modern consumer society with reduced connection to the rural environment and adherence to traditional household roles. Consequently food security has increasingly become a major popular concern.[6] Concerns over the quality and nutritional value of industrialised food production led to the creation of the Soil Association in 1946. Its principles of organic farming are now widely promoted and accepted as an essential element of contemporary food culture by many sections of the UK population, and animal welfare in farming is amongst the most advanced in the world. The last half of the 20th century saw an increase in the availability of a greater range of good quality fresh products and greater willingness by many sections of the British population to vary their diets and select dishes from other cultures such as those of Italy and India.

Modern British cuisine

Modern British (or New British) cuisine is a style of British cooking which fully emerged in the late 1970s, and has become increasingly popular. It uses high-quality local ingredients, preparing them in ways which combine traditional British recipes with modern innovations, and has an affinity with the Slow Food movement.

It is not generally a nostalgic movement, although there are some efforts to re-introduce pre-twentieth-century recipes. Ingredients not native to the islands, particularly herbs and spices, are frequently added to traditional dishes (echoing the highly spiced nature of much British food in the medieval era).

Much Modern British cooking also draws heavily on influences from Mediterranean cuisines, and more recently, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. The traditional influence of northern and central European cuisines is significant but fading.

The Modern British style of cooking emerged as a response to the depressing food rationing that persisted for several years after the Second World War, along with restrictions on foreign currency exchange, making travel difficult. A hunger for exotic cooking was satisfied by writers such as Elizabeth David, who from 1950 produced evocative books whose recipes (mostly French and Mediterranean) were then often impossible to produce in Britain, where even olive oil could only normally be found in chemists rather than food stores. By the 1960s foreign holidays, and foreign-style restaurants in Britain, further widened the popularity of foreign cuisine. Recent Modern British cuisine has been very much influenced and popularised by TV chefs, all also writing books, such as Fanny Cradock, Robert Carrier, Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsay, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, alongside the Food Programme, made by BBC Radio 4.

Varieties

British Cuisine title.jpg
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British cuisine

Varieties:
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Anglo-Indian cuisine

See Anglo-Indian cuisine See also Balti (food)

English cuisine

See also Cuisine of Devon and Cornwall

English cuisine is shaped by the climate of England, its island geography and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China and southern Asia during the time of the British Empire and as a result of immigration.

Gibraltarian cuisine

See Gibraltarian cuisine

Northern Irish cuisine

See Irish cuisine

Scottish cuisine

Scottish cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with Scotland. It shares much with British cuisine, but has distinctive attributes and recipes of its own. Traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis and shortbread exist alongside international foodstuffs brought about by migration. Scotland is known for the high quality of its beef, potatoes and oats. In addition to foodstuffs, Scotland produces a variety of whiskies.

Welsh cuisine

Welsh cuisine has influenced, and been influenced by, other British cuisine. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is best known for its sheep, and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.

Dates of introduction of various foodstuffs and methods to Britain

Prehistory (before 43 AD)

Roman era (43 to 410)

Sub-Roman period to the discovery of the New World (410 to 1492)

1492 to 1914

After 1914

See also

References

  1. ^ UKTV. "British cuisine". uktv.co.uk. http://uktv.co.uk/food/item/aid/532951. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  2. ^ BBC E-Cyclopedia (20 April 2001). "Chicken tikka masala: Spice and easy does it". bbc.co.uk. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_report/1999/02/99/e-cyclopedia/1285804.stm. Retrieved 28 September 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Spencer, Colin (2003). British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231131100. 
  4. ^ a b Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska Austerity in Britain: Rationing, Controls and Consumption, 1939-1955, Oxford Up (2002) ISBN 978-0199251025. For general background, see David Kynaston Austerity Britain, 1945-1951, Bloomsbury (2007) ISBN 978-0747579854.
  5. ^ http://www.greatbritishkitchen.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=52
  6. ^ see Steel, C. (2008) Hungry City: how food shapes our lives Random House ISBN-13 9780701180379
  7. ^ a b c d "Bread in Antiquity", Bakers' Federation website
  8. ^ http://archaeozoo.wordpress.com/2007/08/23/diet-and-romano-british-society/
  9. ^ "Unearthing the ancestral rabbit", British Archaeology, Issue 86, January/February 2006 [1]
  10. ^ a b "Cooking by country: England", recipes4us.co.uk, Feb 2005
  11. ^ "Chives", Steenbergs Organic Pepper & Spice
  12. ^ "Coriander", The Best Possible Taste
  13. ^ Grieve, M. "Mints", botanical.com - A Modern Herbal
  14. ^ Hovis Fact File (PDF)
  15. ^ a b c d "Food History Timeline", BBC/Open University
  16. ^ Lee, J. R. "Philippine Sugar and Environment", Trade Environment Database (TED) Case Studies, 1997 [2]
  17. ^ Stolarczyk, J. "Carrot History Part Two - A.D. 200 to date"
  18. ^ Turkey Club UK
  19. ^ DeWitt, D. "Pepper Profile: Cayenne", fiery-foods.com
  20. ^ "Properties and Uses: Parsley", Herbs and Aromas
  21. ^ a b "Fruits Lemon to Quince", The Foody UK & Ireland
  22. ^ Coleman, D. "horseradish", Herb & Spice Dictionary
  23. ^ Dunlop, F. "Tea", BBC Food
  24. ^ Forbes, K. A. "Bermuda's Flora"
  25. ^ "Coffee in Europe", The Roast & Post Coffee Company
  26. ^ The History of Ice Cream canalmuseum.org.uk.
  27. ^ "Vitamin C — Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts", Your Produce Man, April 2005 [3]
  28. ^ Cox, S. "I Say Tomayto, You Say Tomahto...", landscapeimagery.com, 2000 [4]
  29. ^ a b "The history of the "ethnic" restaurant in Britain", Menu Magazine
  30. ^ "National Rhubarb Collection", RHS Online, 2006
  31. ^ "Marmite", Unilever brand page

External links


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