There are certain 'truths' I keep having thrown at me whenever I get into conversations with Americans about being from the UK.
The top 2 are:
- British people have bad teeth.
- British food is bad.
Grumble, grumble, grumble (I'm actually doing an impression of Muttley here but I don't know to spell any of the sounds I'm uttering).
The teeth thing is a whole separate argument for another day, though in brief I dispute it, there's a difference between having 'natural' teeth and having 'bad teeth'.
But the food thing...
I've heard American comedians do whole routines about how bad British food is (although they usually say English because lots of Americans don't understand the difference between England and Britain....but again, that's a whole other grumble for another day).
On Saturday night I went out for a fantastic meal at a Brazilian restaurant here, only to have the mickey taken out of me about my nation allegedly thinking the height of cuisine being a blood pudding...
It's beginning to wear thin.
Then this morning, I saw a BBC America trailer that told the USA:
"We lost our Empire, we suck at tennis, our food is lousy. But our television sure kicks ass"
WHAT?! BBC?! The BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation - you're ours. You're supposed to be on our side, promoting our wonderful country...but instead you're perpetuating a stupid myth about our food being bad? I despair.
Well, it's a whole load of tosh!
Yes, there are some places that don't cook food well, where they boil the living daylights out of the vegetables and use the microwave to finish anything else off that boiling didn't manage...
Yes, there are some people who would eat meat and two veg and never try anything else because they know what they like and and they like what they know...
But you CANNOT write off ALL British food as BAD!
We're actually a nation who care passionately about our food and are constantly trying to improve our skills and recipes.
If you ever pop to the UK and turn on the tv, you'll find wall-to-wall food programmes extolling creations that can be achieved in the average kitchen and striving to find the very best of culinary expertise that we can aspire to - MasterChef, Great British Menu, The Hairy Bikers, Something For The Weekend, everything Delia's done, The Great British Bake Off, Come Dine With Me, River Cottage, Heston's Feasts, Ramsey's Best Restaurant, Hell's Kitchen, Britain's Best Dish....and this is just scratching the surface. (It's quite interesting that two of the biggest British stars on American tv at the moment are Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver).
Cookery books are constantly in the bestseller lists (Jamie Oliver's latest book 'Jamie's 30-Minute Meals' in currently in the amazon.co.uk Top 10 bestsellers and it's not even out yet! That's just on pre-orders).
Throughout the country there are food festivals showcasing the very best of British food.
Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck is the 3rd best restaurant in the world according to S.Pellegrino's World's 50 Best Restaurants list, (with the first American restaurant not appearing until 7th place). More and more restaurants throughout the country are gaining Michelin stars:
"Britain's place as one of the world centres of gastronomy has been enhanced by the influential Michelin guide, which has awarded more stars to the nation's restaurants than at any time in its 35-year history" - Harry Wallop, Daily Telegraph, 15 January 2010
Aaanyway, what I want to say is....British food isn't bad, it might have taken a knock during the war with rationing making meat and two veg part of our staple diet...but that was nearly 70 years ago! The UK is actually obsessed with good food and good cooking, my mouth is beginning to salivate just thinking about lancashire hotpot, steak and kidney pie, cucumber sandwiches, queen of puddings, bubble and squeak, afternoon tea scones, cornish pasties, toad in the hole, syllabub, baltis (yes, I'm claiming those as we anglicised them), beef wellington, treacle tart, gooseberry fool, spotted dick, summer pudding, custard, baked apples, porridge, eaton mess, fish and chips, welsh rarebit, rhubard crumble, the full english breakfast, roast parnsip and chestnut crumble, neeps and tatties, shepherd's pie, christmas pudding, bara brith, coffee cake, cauliflower cheese, bread and butter pudding, flapjacks, yorkshire puddings...
British food is good. So nerrr.
What do you reckon? Am I right, or are my rose-tinted ex-pat spectacles playing tricks on me? What are you favourite British foods? Click on the comments link below and let me know.