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The Great British Food Myths


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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, gfweb said:

spellcheck

 

 I know!

But if I had some marsala, I might try it!

Actually, I've never eaten Chicken Tikka Masala. They will probably cancel my British passport if they find out!

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

 I know!

But if I had some marsala, I might try it!

Actually, I've never eaten Chicken Tikka Masala. They will probably cancel my British passport if they find out!

 

Its tasty.

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Posted (edited)

3. Original Sin

 

So how did this misplaced, undeserved reputation of British food arise?

There are suggestions that it began in the Victorian era, when a strict religious and moral regime warned against the dangers of actually enjoying anything! It is a controversial theory, however. Although food was not consumed with the gusto of say the 18th century, the appetite for good food was never totally subdued.

 

Rather, the two world wars are really to blame. WWI led to rationing being introduced and this was repeated to even more strict and devastating effect in WWII. As an island nation, Britain, which imported around two-thirds of its food, found itself very short of supplies as the enemy were torpedoing supply ships. As a result, people had to make do with what they could get. They did remarkably well, so much so that many medical and nutritional experts believe people were generally more healthy then, than now.

 

On the 8th of January, 1940, bacon, ham, sugar and butter were put on ration, to be soon followed by meat, cheese, margarine, eggs, milk, tea, breakfast cereals, rice and biscuits (cookies). Vegetarians (there were very few of those) could trade their meat allowance for extra cheese. Vegans hadn't been invented yet!

By 1942, almost all food was rationed except vegetables, fruit, fish and bread. (Clothing, shoes, soap and fuel were also rationed.) It should also be noted that although vegetables, fruit, fish and bread were never rationed, the supply was still limited and unreliable. Fish was expensive, too, as the fishermen demanded high returns for what was more dangerous work than usual. Bread and potatoes were rationed, but after the war, in 1946 -1948 and 1947 respectively, due to bad harvests caused by poor weather.

 

uk_ministry_of_food_ration_book.jpg.3cd4799c8c45d17a2731fc95220df261.jpg

Public Domain image

 

And when I say rationed I mean rationed! Everyone man, woman and child was issued with a ration book with tickets which had to be given up at the stores, with which you had to register, in exchange for not very much at all. You had to register with different stores for different foodstuffs – a butcher, a baker, a general grocer etc. There were very few supermarkets, then.

 

The palaver of checking and processing the ration regulations meant that service was slow, leading to long queues at most shops.

 

WWII_Food_Rationing.thumb.jpg.2ed3b569268f84960cedf81ae68bbf75.jpg

British grocer cancelling tickets in ration book - Public Domain Image


Prices were set by government to prevent profiteering. However, black market foodstuffs were traded by what were called ‘spivs’, but penalties were severe if they were caught (many were – usually reported by citizens who saw them as traitors to the war effort.) To call someone a ‘spiv’ is still a strong insult in Britain.

 

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Public Domain


A typical ration for an adult was 4 oz of bacon or ham, other meat to the value of one shilling and two pence (which could buy you approximately two chops or equivalent), 2 oz of butter, 2 oz of cheese, 4 oz margarine, 4 oz cooking fat (lard), 3 pints of milk, 8 oz sugar, 2 oz of tea, 1 fresh egg (plus varying amounts of dried egg, when available. This much-hated egg substitute was imported from the USA on ships which were often the target of blockades by the Germans).

Note that this was the ration for an adult for ONE WEEK, although it was supplemented by 12 oz of sweets (candies) every 4 weeks and 1 pound of jam (usually made from marrows) every 2 months.

Sausages were unrationed, but were usually made with the dregs of the butchers’ tables (and floors) and were highly prone to exploding The term ‘bangers’ was coined during WWI, but was revived by WWII. Game meats such as rabbit and pigeon was also off the ration, but only really available to rural people.

 

Quote

In May 1942, an order was passed that meals served in hotels and restaurants might not cost over five shillings (equivalent to $17 USD in 2019) per customer, might not be of more than three courses, and not more than one course might contain meat, fish or poultry.

 

In order to alleviate the shortages of vegetables, all parks, sports grounds, village squares and any other plots of vacant land were converted into gardens and a "Dig For Victory" campaign was launched to encourage people to grow their own food.

 

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Fruits such as bananas and lemons were imported pre-war, so they disappeared for the duration of the war and beyond. My cousin first tasted bananas and ice cream in a British hospital in the late-50s. He thought the bananas were a joke and asked that the ice-cream be heated up as some idiot had served it stone cold!

 

Some imported spices were difficult to find during the war. Herbs less so. (Lucky that British food “never uses herbs and spices”, wasn’t it?)
 

2121185808_ironyalert1.jpg.2ec802023159afa8735e9e239de87563.jpg

 

This rationing meant that a whole generation of British women just never learned to cook. Mothers weren’t going to let their daughters experiment in the kitchen; one mistake and the family did not eat that day. You couldn’t run out and buy something else. (Note: Assuming only women and girls would be cooking is not me being sexist. That’s how it was then. The men were nearly all away fighting and anyway, in those days cooking was considered “women’s work” by the vast majority.)

The British government’s Ministry of Food, issued a series of pamphlets telling people how to get the most from their limited supplies – some of them make grim reading today. Radio broadcasts backed these pamphlets up.

 

All rationing ended on the 4th of July 1954, nine years after the end of the war, although shortages continued for some time after.

In the 1960s, with a booming economy and the advent of cheaper travel, people started holidaying in Europe, particularly France, Spain and Italy. This brought them into contact with different foods again and the cuisine began to recover, aided hugely by writers such as Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson. By the 1970s, British cuisine was well on the way to recovery.

So this unfair, dishonest demonisation of British food actually only refers to a brief moment in the country’s long history, roughly 70 to 80 years ago. And the temporary decline in food standards was no fault of the British.

There was very little disparagement of British food prior to WWI, as people ate well. What little there was can usually be attributed to simple propaganda. Napoleon was said to have dismissively called the British a nation of beef-eaters, yet according to a contemporary document, while in exile on St. Helena,  every day his household and he got through 23 kilos of beef and veal, plus 23 kilos of mutton or pork plus a roasting pig, 31 kilos of bread, 42 eggs and 15 bottles of milk, two turkeys, four ducks, two geese, 12 pigeons and nine other fowl, all. Washed down with fifty bottles of wine, malt liquor, rum and cognac. Nothing there that Britain wasn't consuming, too.

Heston Blumenthal’s 2-Michelin-starred London restaurant, Dinner with Heston only serves British food from pre-war recipes. The current on-line menu lists dishes from between 1390 and 1850.

Pre-COVID, there was a rich vibrant food scene in the UK, the equivalent of any, and with restrictions beginning to be lifted, that will probably return very soon.

But some people prefer the lazy stereotytpes, even when the evidence is staring them in the face.

 

Finally let me deal with one comment.

 

Quote

British food was considered bland, boring, and brown. …, I understand why people say/said that, especially as across the way is France.

 

The worst cook I know was my late mother. She was French, but moved to Britain as a nine-year-old refugee at the start of the war, so never learned to cook or even eat good food. The idea that French people are all somehow genetically great cooks and gourmets is just another nonsensical myth. I’ve been served some inedible garbage in French restaurants in France. Sure, the top end is great and often, small places can surprise you with wonderful food, but that is just as true in Britain, if not more so!

Here is an interesting oral history video with British people remembering what it was like to live under rationing in the war.
 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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While what you describe is largely true, we in the US and elsewhere lived with rationing.   Yes, every member of the household had a ration book, coupons and tokens.    Red tokens for meat, blue for non-meat.   Odd-bits required fewer tokens, maybe were not rationed.   We ate things like beef heart, tongue.   Steak maybe a couple of times a year, like a family birthday party.   We dug up lawn and planted victory gardens, grew stuff on windowsills.   My mother saved "top milk", cream from unhomogenized milk, and churned small quantities of butter.    Other than that, there was  margarine which was not colored but white like Crisco.    Country and small town people fared better than city folks.    In Coastal California, we still had good if rationed produce.    But we did have tomatoes and onions and garlic and grew our own herbs.   I don't remember our food's being particularly bland.   

 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

While what you describe is largely true, we in the US and elsewhere lived with rationing.   Yes, every member of the household had a ration book, coupons and tokens.    Red tokens for meat, blue for non-meat.   Odd-bits required fewer tokens, maybe were not rationed.   We ate things like beef heart, tongue.   Steak maybe a couple of times a year, like a family birthday party.   We dug up lawn and planted victory gardens, grew stuff on windowsills.   My mother saved "top milk", cream from unhomogenized milk, and churned small quantities of butter.    Other than that, there was  margarine which was not colored but white like Crisco.    Country and small town people fared better than city folks.    In Coastal California, we still had good if rationed produce.    But we did have tomatoes and onions and garlic and grew our own herbs.   I don't remember our food's being particularly bland.   

 

 

 

Yes, I know America had rationing too, as did other countries, but nowhere near to the same degree. The list of foods which were rationed in the US is much shorter. Virtually all food was rationed in Britain. Only vegetables, fruit, fish and bread went unrationed in Britain. In fact, the US was exporting food aid to Britain throughout. Britain had nothing to export!

 

Also Britain was in the war longer and rationing lasted longer.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Like @liuzhou, I was raised in wartime Britain. I would love to share a few stories with this caveat. It is easy to feel pity for those of us who were children at this time. But just like children raised in an abusive home, we knew nothing different and so suffered, I think, far less than the adults. It was just the way it was and we knew nothing different. 
 

like the person in the video I don’t ever remember being hungry beyond what kids are when they’ve been playing too long. I also know that long after rationing ceased the feeling that you still had to be stingy with everything remained. Just as we had a Depression syndrome that lasted long after the depression passed so I believe we had a rationing syndrome. To this day if a recipe calls for more than four eggs I have coniptions. I still feel guilty if I put butter  and jam on the same piece of toast.  Doesn’t stop me doing it though! I still take bag of sugar apart to make sure that there are no crystals left in the creases. 

 

I have a recollection of being severely punished when I was sent off with a 10 /-  note (10 shillings) and the required coupons to buy bacon and somehow lost both.

 

I also recall putting my sweets coupons into my socks for safekeeping and forgetting them and they went through the laundry and I went a long time without any sweets. 
 

Canned salmon was a luxury and I knew that my grocery store owning aunt kept cans under the counter for special customers. I recalled going home for a visit sometime in the 70s and my aunt proudly serving me a meal of canned salmon, mashed potatoes and peas. Nothing was done with the salmon except to remove it from the can. My ingrained manners came to my rescue and I managed to choke it down. 
 

I have no recollection of marrow jam thank God.
 

My father shared an allotment with a man named Albert who apparently knew about gardening.  It was within bicycling distance of the pub where we lived. They grew vegetables and raised rabbits. I suspect Albert did most of the gardening as I don’t believe my father had much gardening knowledge. He had spent much of his life in the British army. 

 

Again, without any reason for pity, I suspect because we were already working class we suffered less from deprivation than did the wealthier classes. We never had very much and now we had less. 
 

But there is no doubt but how if you discussed or were subjected to British food at this time then most of the myths held up very well. 
 

Tea, which was our evening meal usually consisted of bread and jam or bread and dripping or canned spaghetti or canned beans on toast. 


During the school year we got a hot meal at lunchtime. I do not recall it being awful which may say more about what was on offer at home than anything else. I know how much I resented the trip to school every single day during the holidays to collect the milk that was served to all children. Perhaps that explains my dislike of milk today. Imagine ruining the holiday just to get a bottle of milk!

 

Rationing may also be responsible for my absolute horror of orange juice. When you get it combined with cod liver oil you will understand. 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Anna N said:

When you get it combined with cod liver oil you will understand.

 

Arrgh! I'd just about managed to purge (or at least suppress) all thoughts of cod liver oil from my memory. Now it has come flooding back!

My grandparents ran a local tobacconist / newsagent shop and were often presented with rabbits and other game in the hope of receiving a bit of extra tobacco in return. I'm told they never went along with the illegal bartering but I'm not sure I believe it.

 I was also put off milk for life after the free one-third of a pint of milk at school. It used to sit outside the canteen all morning. In winter it was often frozen solid; in summer horribly warm.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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We were not a "sweets" household, never dessert after a meal.   So as the saying goes, you can't MISS what you never had.    As I wrote, we grew veg, had an apple tree and lived in California's fruit belt.   My mother saved all sugar allotments for canning fruit.   The main rationing conversation in our household was meat.   And shoes.    You took care of your shoes because new ones were way out there in time.  

 

But cod liver oil!!!!    Was the meagerness of our diets that convinced parents that cod liver oil was mandatory?    My father's potion, administered daily, was called Stewart's Formula and was a concoction of cod liver oil and blackstrap molasses.    To this day, I can't eat oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sablefish) or anything with noticeable molasses flavor. 

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12 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

the free one-third of a pint of milk at school.

 My memory told me it was 1/3 of a pint but I couldn’t find any confirmation and wondered if I had mis-remembered! Thanks. 

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...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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3 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 My memory told me it was 1/3 of a pint but I couldn’t find any confirmation and wondered if I had mis-remembered! Thanks. 

In school we were issued a half pint of WHOLE milk, 2 Wheat Thin crackers and 2 dried prunes.    I thought it was heaven since we only had skim milk at home*, never snack crackers.   And I kinda liked prunes since they were sweet. 

*mother made butter from the cream.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Anna N said:

 My memory told me it was 1/3 of a pint but I couldn’t find any confirmation and wondered if I had mis-remembered! Thanks. 


https://spartacus-educational.com/ED1946.htm

 

In fact, although schools had been empowered (but not required) to issue free milk in 1921, the universal standard free 1/3 pint wasn't introduced until 1946 under the 1946 School Milk Act. It lasted until 1968 when it ended in secondary schools then 1971 in all schools. To this day the then Secretary of State for Education and Science, Margaret  Thatcher, later Prime Minister, is known widely as "Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher"!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Is this more of an era issue versus a mistaken opinion? I’m genuinely curious. My parents weren’t alive during WW2 so I have no clue about what was rationed on the east coast of the US. I never found British food to be bland during my visits there although at times I did avoid beef. 

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13 minutes ago, MetsFan5 said:

Is this more of an era issue versus a mistaken opinion? I’m genuinely curious. My parents weren’t alive during WW2 so I have no clue about what was rationed on the east coast of the US. I never found British food to be bland during my visits there although at times I did avoid beef. 

I have somewhere my parents ration stamps from WW2. Meat, sugar,eggs, flour IIRC

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My grandpa was a British held POW WW2 and he said it was lots of potatoes but it was nourishing food. No complaints.

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Pretty sure I've mentioned this before.  Whilst I was staying at the home of my archeology professor at Oxford (who was, and Lord being willing still is, a decent Yorkshire cook) she warned to avoid British restaurant food.  She advised to patronize Indian and Chinese establishments only.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Pretty sure I've mentioned this before.  Whilst I was staying at the home of my archeology professor at Oxford (who was, and Lord being willing still is, a decent Yorkshire cook) she warned to avoid British restaurant food.  She advised to patronize Indian and Chinese establishments only.

 

 

There have long only been two kinds of British restaurants in Britain. There are some restaurants selling excellent, high quality British food at less excellent high prices, while at the opposite end of the spectrum are cafés (more like American diners) which are cheap, cheerful and often low quality.

British people, when dining out, don't generally want British food. We eat that at home. It is more seen as an opportunity to eat something different. BBC Radio London not long ago did a survey of what nations' foods were available in restaurants in the city. I forget the exact number they found, but it was, I seem to remember, 80-something. Chinese, Indian, Italian and Thai are the top four favourites.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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11 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

There have long only beeen two kinds of British restaurants in Britain. There are some restaurants selling excellent, high quality British food at less excellent high prices, while at the opposite end of the spectrum are cafés (more like American diners) which are cheap, cheerful and often low quality.

British people, when dining out, don't generally want British food. We eat that at home. It is more seen as an opportunity to eat something different. BBC Radio London not long ago did a survey of what nations foods were available in restaurants in the city. I forget the exact number they found, but it was, I seem to remember, 80-something. Chinese, Indian, Italian and Thai are the top four favourites.

 

This was in the 1960's, so I suspect less variety than now.  In any event, in a couple visits I made to Britain, I don't recall seeing a Thai or Italian restaurant.  And my one Indian restaurant experience was less than good.

 

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

This was in the 1960's, so I suspect less variety than now.  In any event, in a couple visits I made to Britain, I don't recall seeing a Thai or Italian restaurant.  And my one Indian restaurant experience was less than good.

 

 

The first time I ever recall eating in a restaurant was in Britain in the 50s. It was Chinese - allegedly, but there was also an Italian of sorts which I never frequented. This was in small town Scotland. There were very few Thai restaurants the last time I lived in London. That was in the early 90s. Now they are everywhere.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

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I wouldn't agree that the wars were responsible for the decline in British cuisine, but rather that the Industrial Revolution was the trigger.

 

This generally served to eliminate much "local" produce and cuisine, driving people into cities and instilling a more scientific approach to food. This is still the case today, where much more emphasis is placed on nutrition, the diet and animal welfare than in countries such as France. You can also see it in many households, where many dishes are still indiscriminately served with a side of boiled vegetables, "because they're good for you".

 

It also led to a widespread embrace of new technology in the food industry, which provided labour-saving processed food and generally turned the working population towards the notion of food as fuel, rather than something to spend time and energy over.

 

Luckily, there has been something of a renaissance in local British cuisine over the past couple of decades, with a lot of excellent restaurants embracing local ingredients and dishes. Day to day eating can still be pretty utilitarian though - most meat is generally consumed in a heavily processed form, from sausages, pies and kebabs to burgers and pasties. Which I love! But they're clearly not for everyone.

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16 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I was also put off milk for life after the free one-third of a pint of milk at school. It used to sit outside the canteen all morning. In winter it was often frozen solid; in summer horribly warm.

Thank you Liuzhou for your writings here. I am thoroughly enjoying them. @Anna N those are some lovely posts too.

 

The 1/3 pint of milk has special memories for me. In Australia it never froze but was from time to time baked briefly in the sun. It was pasteurised but not homogenised. Lovely thick cream cap.

 

Some children had a particular aversion to it, which was good for me because there were always extra bottles. Most mornings I drank a pint and most mornings it was cold and refreshing. To this day, I love a swig of cold milk. Nothing chills the internals so well.

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16 minutes ago, jmacnaughtan said:

I wouldn't agree that the wars were responsible for the decline in British cuisine, but rather that the Industrial Revolution was the trigger.

 

While I do agree that industrial revolution had a large impact, for the reasons you give, I still think that WWII in particular had a much larger impact. A whole generation growing up on extremely limited supplies and never learning to cook or taste decent food had a devastating effect. The majority of men spent around six years on army rations on the battlefield. The military were exempt from rationing, but I imagine they weren't exactly enjoying haut cuisine.

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2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

The first time I ever recall eating in a restaurant was in Britain in the 50s

I do not ever remember being in a restaurant when I was growing up. I was in lots of pubs because my family were largely publicans. In those days few pubs served food on a regular basis. In our own pub we hosted weddings which we catered and occasionally, for a cribbage or darts tournament or the meeting of the Elks, we prepared cheese and onion sandwiches (raw onion and sharp cheddar ground together in the meat grinder and spread on white bread —still a favourite!)

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

In those days few pubs served food on a regular basis.

 

Indeed. Potato crisps and pickled onions were as far as most went. Maybe a stale ham sandwich if it was more upmarket.

Today it's the opposite. Trying to find a traditional "local" is difficult. They have all turned to gastro-pubs or think they have. There are some with great food but when I was back in Britain in 2019, I struggled to find what I remember as a great pub!

 

COVID has also ravaged the pub trade; the survivors have just re-opened after a third lengthy lockdown, but many didn't make it through.

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Posted (edited)

4. Breakfast Time

 

1440px-Lyme_Regis_harbour_02b.thumb.jpg.1363d1da265de087fec4cb65d3427c73.jpg

"Full English Breakfast" - image by Joadl; licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Large breakfasts have been a tradition in Britain since the 1300s. Over the centuries, they have slipped down the hierarchy from being exclusively enjoyed by the aristocratic classes, through the aspiring middle classes and finally landing on the working classes. Well, not quite finally, as we shall see.

 

Back in the day, the aristocrats would have huge feasts for breakfast before heading out in the cold to shoot innocent mammals and birds for their amusement. Occasionally, they would shoot each other, too – not often enough, in some people’s view.

The immoderate size of the morning meal served two functions. First, it set one up for a long day trekking across the windswept moors slaughtering almost anything that moved, edible or not.

 

Quote

“The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)

 

Secondly, it was a way of showing off one’s wealth. The more lavish the breakfast, the more elevated you must be! Ingredients would include not only the now common bacon, sausage and eggs etc., but also pheasant, lamb or calves kidneys on toast, pigs’ cheeks, collared tongue, kippers, pork pies etc.

 

By the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, the aristocracy was in decline. Money was now more and more in the hands of a rising middle class of industrialists and traders.

 

They were largely a conservative bunch who adopted the ways of their perceived ‘betters’, taking over the role of preserving the traditions of the glorious past. They acquired the houses, country estates, guns and servants and continued the tradition.

 

WWI saw the beginning of the end of big houses full of staff to pander to every whim of the owners. WWII saw the end almost completely. The large breakfast then became the property of the working classes and became more standardised. Back bacon, sausages, baked beans, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding and fried or toasted bread (sometimes both), accompanied by a pot of tea. Seldom coffee.

 

Bacon.thumb.jpg.01fb4b306b94aa165cafa6a7f243a4d8.jpg
Back bacon - Public Doman image

 

1117543763_Stornowayblackpudding.thumb.jpg.5b80940cc93f92726170c7f802a9b6eb.jpg


Incidentally top tourist tip: Never refer to sausages as “bangers” unless you are referring to the dish “bangers and mash”. Saying something like “Can I have two bangers with my breakfast, please?“ will be met with howls of laughter. Not that people won’t know what you mean; but we never use the word outside the title of the specific dish, about which I will mutter later.

There are, of course, many variations, especially regionally. People today talk of the full English, full Scottish or full Irish, but they are all basically the same. The Scottish breakfast often additionally includes haggis, Lorne sausage, white pudding or fruit pudding, while the Irish usually has soda bread and/or potato scones. (incidentally, in Northern Ireland, the meal is called an Ulster Fry. And often colloquially, in the rest of Britain, just called a "fry-up".)

 

lorne-sausage.jpg.fae9aef4931d414d62ebbcab1d4476af.jpg

Lorne Sausage - Public Domain image


These breakfasts were normally served in cafés or caffs as they are often called in London. And not only at breakfast time. You still see cafés with signs offering “all-day breakfasts”. So, although some remain, most of these places have long gone. With the decline in manufacturing in Britain since the mid-20th century, the need for the calories of the large breakfast before a hard day’s manual labour has largely gone. Also, both a growing awareness of the health issues relating to fried food yet at the same time an increase in Fast Food chains has had a huge effect on their viability as businesses.

 

The last time I ate anything like a full breakfast was about 40 years ago in this café in North London. No, I don't remember precisely what I ate.

 

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Image by Ewan Munro; Licenced under CC BY-SA 2A

 

Today, some of these remaining cafés still offer “full breakfasts”, but few people actually order them. Instead they will choose a “pick and mix” breakfast, selecting two or three items out of the full Monty. So, I might have bacon, sausage and egg while my friend may go for black pudding, egg and beans.

 

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Partial "full" breakfast. Black pudding, egg and beans, for some reason served with bread and butter ratherthan the uwsual fried fried or toast. I forget why.


Look on YouTube and the like and you will find scores of videos entitled something like ”10 dishes you must eat in England” “England” may be replaced by “London”, “Scotland” etc. What is interesting is that these so-called influencers have their near identical lists of clichés and all end up going to the same places which they have heard about from the last person to post a video. There are some times queues of influencers! It is amusing (for all the wrong reasons) to watch these clowns attempting to eat their massive breakfasts while spouting nonsense about its history or even about exactly what they are eating.

Alternatively they go to places which only really cater to tourists and serve breakfast with strange additions, but missing traditional items. Hash browns are American and chips do not belong on a “full English” and are only added by bad restaurants to fill the diners up as cheaply as possible.

 

There are a number of these people who go to one expensive chain steak-restaurant in London, thinking it’s a typical example of the real thing. The breakfast comes with things such as roast beef marrow and pork chops in addition to the usual. And they serve home-made baked beans. Only canned Heinz beans made to the British recipe are permitted by law! They were introduced to the UK in 1886, shortly before Victoria’s death and almost immediately joined the new standard in the new Edwardian reign.

 

These additional items are what were part of the traditional pre-Victorian breakfast but which disappeared from the dish in the early 20th century. The YouTube people don’t realise that this is atypical and explain that this is what the English working man eats every morning. Utter bilge.

There is one bad-mannered idiot who goes around London totally misunderstanding everything he sees and eats, yelling at people in what he imagines to be a “London accent” and making sexist remarks to young women walking past. The cretin should be deported – from the planet!

I’ll visit some more of the YouTube “top 10 type British foods” over the next few days. Some will be pleasant; many less so.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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