Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Great British Food Myths


Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, rotuts said:

I had High Tea 

 

in Victora , B.C.

 

indeed @ The Empress.

 

impressive.  stacks and stacks of

 

little sandwiches just keep coming.

 

it was over 50 years ago

 

but I remember it well.

Was your experience high tea or actually afternoon tea.    High tea has traditionally been a simpler evening family meal.   Not fancy but substantial enough to be what we call supper or dinner.  

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly, the Chinese meal often incorrectly referred to as dim sum* is known as 饮茶/飲茶 in China. (I have given it in two forms: simplifed Chnese as used on the mainland and traditional Chinese as used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and by much of the Chinese diaspora.) 饮茶 is pronounced "yum cha" in Cantonese, spoken where the meal originated, and "yǐn chá" in Mandarin spoken in most of the rest of China. It literally means "drink tea". An alternative name is "叹茶/嘆茶" (tan cha / tàn chá) meaning "enjoy tea". Chinese speakers of English normally refer to the meal as "morning tea".

 

* Dim sum (点心/點心; Cantonese: dim sum; Mandarin: diǎn xin, literally "touch heart") is the food served at a yum cha meal; not the meal itself.

 

So here I can have morning tea, dinner at noon, afternoon tea at 4 pm and tea as my main meal in the evening. But I don't.

 

 

 

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think yum cha is common in Australia - my first encounter. My sister and family use that term. The HK influence is stong there.

 

Tea as referenced as a formal occasion I've had in Victoria, BC per @rotuts, and with my Anglophile friends at several locations in Southern California. The tiered serving dishes, and the little sandwiches, and the clotted cream & scones. I never knew if it was  true to UK style.

Edited by heidih (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, haresfur said:

Australians tend to go with "supper",

No we don't. At least not in middle-class Melbourne. Usages depend on place, time and class. That makes for confusing enough variants.

 

My experience:

  • Breakfast
  • then lunch
  • exceptionally rarely followed by High Tea, preferably at the Windsor Hotel, Spring Street, Melbourne, where the Indian owners preserve Victorian traditions and charge a lot of money for scones, tea and little cakes on multi-layered trays with doilies
  • then dinner; in my Irish catholic working-class childhood this was called tea (and the earlier you ate it the more likely you were in a physically hard job)
  • supper is had late evening, after the theatre if one is lucky (late-night pubs/live music places were sometimes known as supper clubs).

 

If you are older/younger, richer/poorer, live elsewhere YMMV.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm currently in Atlanta, so everything I google comes head's up Atlanta. I definitely need schooling on the difference between high tea and tea, but clearly it is regionally inspired. I did google High Tea and the first thing that came up is a place in Atlanta called "Dr Bombay's Underwater Tea Party." Actually most of the money from their tea service goes to support women's scholarship in India, but you can't top the name. Atlanta seems to be very imaginative when it comes to their businesses. In Avondale Estates, just east of Decatur, there's a pub named "My Parents' Basement." And yes, started by three nerdy high school friends it features a wall of comic books that you can read at leisure while you sip obscure draft beers.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@liuzhou or anyone- Can you address tea itself. In novels I see "builder's tea" which sounds like you could stand a spoon up in it, and then when high tea is discussed the tea itself is rarely mentioned. And is the term "cuppa" as a restorative cup of tea real? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Builder’s Tea according to Coleman Andrews. Not at all sure what makes him an authority! He is an American. Still it’s an interesting read. 
Here.
 

 

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

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Respect the man but  ---and page unavailable  FWIW I am capable of googling but was hoping for real eGer input

Edited by heidih (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

 

8b. Fish and Chips (Part the Second)

 

Well, we’ve sorted out the fish and the chips, now we need to decide where to eat it.

 

972119465_BCLM_fishchips.thumb.jpg.8d6b21dbdbaebc3e892a5d072b9c4523.jpg

Fish and chips wrapped in paper for takeaway.

 

THE VENUE

 

Fish and chips is available all over Britain in dedicated fish and chips shops, known as “chippies” in most of Britain, but, I’m told, “chippers” in Northern Ireland. Often run by Italian families,these only sell for takeaway, your fish and chips wrapped in paper. Traditionally this was old newspapers, but this practice was outlawed long ago for health and hygiene reasons.

Also, there are dedicated sit down fish restaurant selling fish and chips and other fish dishes. Many of these sit down places also do takeaway. The dish is also available in many pubs, cafés and regular restaurants. Perhaps bizarrely, many Chinese and Indian restaurants also offer fish and chips.

 

Some of these venues are wonderful; some are awful.

 

Those on the well-travelled tourist trail in London are usually moretowards the awful end, although there are exceptions. On the interwebs there are several sites listing recommendations and sites like Tripadvisor may or may not be useful.

 

My suggestion for any visitor is to try one of the take away places first. They are more traditional. The sit down fish restaurants didn’t appear until 1896, almost 40 years after the takeaways. Pubs rarely served fish and chips even in the 1970s (my student days). In fact, they seldom sold food!

 

THE MENU

Chip shop menus are often on the wall behind the fryers. ’In Scotland they will list “suppers”. A “fish supper” is fish and chips. A “haddock supper is “haddock and chips. “Single cod” means cod without chips.

Non fish items often sold are sausages in batter, haggis in batter, pies and chips etc.

 

THE CONDIMENTS

 

Fish and chips from chippies is normally served with salt and malt or spirit vinegar. In Edinburgh, Scotland, brown sauce (referred to just as “sauce”) is favoured. Curry sauce or gravy is popular in some areas. In sit down restaurants and pubs, fish and chips may be served with lemon and tartar sauce. Traditionalists consider that close to blasphemous. Tomato ketchup and even mayonnaise may be served, but again are not traditional.

 

1087px-Fish_and_chips_blackpool.thumb.jpg.71a476ef702bc219a63031b1dfde124b.jpg

Restaurant fish and chips.

 

EXTRAS

 

To accompany your fish and chips, the most common choice in England is a serving of mushy peas. These are dried marrowfat peas which have been soaked overnight then boiled until soft and yes, mushy. Not my favourite.

Other accompaniments include pickled onions, pickled eggs, gherkins etc.

 

TWO PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

 

3D4A1578.thumb.JPG.1f0f56b64aa0eab5880b746c8f76b798.JPG

 

My favourite place in London is the North Sea Fish Restaurant in Bloomsbury at 7/8 Leigh Street, London WC1H 9EW Tel: 0207 387 5892. My London home is just around the corner. Originally it was just a take away but in 1983 expanded to include a 60-seat restaurant. It still does takeaway or you can eat in the restaurant. Booking for the restaurant is advised. The menu is here.

 

3D4A1580.thumb.JPG.0144cbdf5cd2f571f21c5b2be0cb6b05.JPG

Takeaway on the left; restaurant on the right.

 

The North Sea is one of the places every London taxi driver must know to be licensed. The Norfolk Arms pub opposite is good for a beer afterwards or before.

 

Anstrutherfishbar2.thumb.jpg.95ce6208e90df8f31061fb17b2b56c38.jpg

 

My favourite anywhere is in Scotland. The famous Anstruther Fish Bar and Restaurant at 42-44 Shore Street, Anstruther, Fife, Scotland, KY10 3AQ; Telephone: 01333 310518 is my must-go-to place. The restaurant overlooks the lovely small town’s harbour and the Firth of Forth as it enters the North Sea, where the fish are caught. Again it is advisable to book ahead. The restaurant and takeaway specialises in haddock. The only cod on the current menu is used to make fishcakes. They fry in the traditional method, using beef fat. Utterly delicious, especially sitting outside by the harbour. Menu here. Famous customers of the restaurant include Prince William, Tom Hanks, Tim Hinkley, Robert De Niro and me!

 

 

Please be sure not to pronounce Anstruther the way the narrator does in this video. It isn’t “Anstroother” as she says it. The ‘u’ in the name is formally pronounced like the “u” in brush. However the locals pronounce the town's name “Ainster”.

 

Picture Credits

1. Fish and chips wrapped in paper for takeaway. Image by Andy Mabbett; licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0

2. Restaurant fish and chips.. Image by Matthias Meckel; licenced under CC BY-SA 4.0

3. North Sea Fish Bar. Image by me.

4. North Sea Fish Bar. Image by me.
5. Anstruther Fish Bar. Image by Robert Young; licenced under CC BY 2.0

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, heidih said:

@liuzhou or anyone- Can you address tea itself. In novels I see "builder's tea" which sounds like you could stand a spoon up in it, and then when high tea is discussed the tea itself is rarely mentioned. And is the term "cuppa" as a restorative cup of tea real? 

 

Builder's tea is simple a strong tea, usually made by steeping leaving the tea leaves (usually tea-bags today) in the pot with boiling water for a long time until the tea becomes 'stewed'. Served with milk and sugar. It usually uses the cheapest tea blends available.

'Cuppa' is just the pronunciation of 'cup of' in connected speech in many British accents, including London. 'A cuppa tea' in full, but almost always shortened to 'cuppa'. The first use in writing was by P.G. Woodhouse in 1925.

Edited by liuzhou
typos (log)
  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

Traditionally this was old newspapers, but his practice was outlawed long ago for health and hygiene reasons.

Damn shame! It was fun trying to read through the grease marks. 

  • Like 3

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

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Anna N said:

Damn shame! It was fun trying to read through the grease marks. 

 

Some (not many) places use a type of mock newspaper which is food safe. But the joy of trying to read yesterday's news through the grease while munching on your fish supper isn't there with fake newspapers. It 's the same stories every day!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, rotuts said:

nice tip !

 

Ill make and bring my own.

 

522727301_surprised.gif.5bb31233a50733a41ab645fd492d56ab.gif

 

Don't let them see you. As I said, it isn't traditional and many traditionalists consider its use with fish and chips to be close to blasphemy.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must say, casting my mind back too many years, the limited menu I remember at my local chippy was a bonus. You never found yourself standing behind some ditz who was reading the menu and holding up a whole line of customers while deciding what to order. Your choice was fish and chips. I don’t even recall a choice of fish back then in the 1950s.  The only real decision was how much of each and with or without mushy peas.

 

It was fast food before the era of McDonald’s. There was somebody manning the fryer and somebody who took care of wrapping the orders and taking the cash.

 

Up until probably 10 years ago we had a thriving fish and chip shop here in Burlington.
Here
 

It still exists but the last time @Kerry Bealand I had lunch there it was extraordinarily disappointing.

 

When I would go with my husband in the 1980/1990s the clientele was already mostly seniors. Tea was served in a tea pot (meant for the table) with a crocheted or knitted cosy. Looking back I am tempted to call it quite twee! 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

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

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Anna N said:

It was fast food before the era of McDonald’s.

 

I think F+C is still the most popular takeaway food to be eaten on the hoof in the UK. "Chinese" and "Indian" are now bigger, but have you ever tried eating a curry or a kung-po chicken while walking along the street? If taken away (more often delivered today, I guess), Chinese and Indian are eaten at home. Even McD's is more often eaten in the store than taken away.

It is common to see people eating F+C in the streets, especially late at night. Much less so with burgers or KFC. Greek or Turkish Cypriot doner kebabs are also a popular street food after a night in the pub.

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, liuzhou said:
50 minutes ago, Anna N said:

McDonald’s.

 

I think F+C is still the most popular takeaway food to be eaten on the hoof in the UK.

For my family fish and chips was a take away meal usually on a Monday which was wash day. Somebody would be delegated to go to the chippy and bring home “tea”. It was still  called that by us in those days. 

  • Like 1

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

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, rotuts said:

Dangerous Link !

 

https://www.anstrutherfishbar.co.uk

 

I should never have opened it.

 

Id have one of everything.

 

wonder what their tartar sauce is like ?

 

different than ' standard ? '

I had to get up and get something to eat after looking at that menu.  One of everything, indeed!  

 

I was surprised to find tartar sauce on offer at the places we had fish and chips, since I grew up with English people who distained it.  I'm middle of the road about it.  If it is well made, I'll use it.  At home, I'll alternate between tartar sauce and malt vinegar.  I'm happy with just the vinegar if the tartar sauce is just mayo with relish added.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Anna N said:

For my family fish and chips was a take away meal usually on a Monday which was wash day. Somebody would be delegated to go to the chippy and bring home “tea”. It was still  called that by us in those days. 

 

In my family, it was Friday evening. Although we were religiously non-religious, we grew up in a town which was half Protestant and half Roman Catholic. The catholic population did not eat meat on Fridays and the local butchers did little trade, so they took they day off. No meat to be had. There were no supermarkets. "What's a supermarket?" we regularly cried.

 

So, it was F+C Friday for almost everyone. I remember, as a pre-school kid, running down the hill to the chippy to meet my father walking home from work from the oppposite direction. I remember the crowds standing in line. I remember the sound and smell of dinner cooking. I remember walking back up the hill clutching hot, newspaper packets of fish suppers as we called them. Great in winter for warming your freezing hands. Gloves hadn't yet been invented, I suppose.

I remember the staff, who had the astonishing ability to remember everyone's preferences. They would shout to the fryers. "Mrs. Smith next, then it's Tommy McIvor but his Ellen is no well, so she disnae want anything the night." On the rare occasions that they yelled "One cod supper and a single black pudding", necks would crane as people attempted to see what mysterious stranger had accidentally wandered into their midst like a lost explorer in the Amazon jungle on the telly.

And I remember the taste. Despite my upbringing, I began to believe I was in heaven!

 

P.S. I am a bit odd. I prefer my F+C to be salted only. Hold the vinegar.

Edited by liuzhou
typos (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

9. /ˈbʌrə ˈmɑːkɪt/

 

One place that my friends the YouTubers seem to be set out to totally destroy, if they haven’t already, is a near 1,000-year-old (at least) London food market. It has survived Civil War, The Black Death, fires, two World Wars, the Blitz, the “developers”, terrorists and several pandemics of which Covid is merely the latest. But the YouTube and blogger army is proving harder to beat off.

 

On an almost daily basis, mobs of them pour in, tripping over each other and completely disturbing business as they photograph and film everything and anything, whether they know what it is or not. They expect the traders to stop their work to answer their moronic questions but buy almost nothing. They don't realise how much they are loathed. And, the imbeciles can’t even pronounce the name of the place they are in!

 

299375589_BoroughMArketLondon_2018_March_IMG_0663.thumb.jpg.641ba7507f5c91ba1ecc63ffb5507558.jpg

Borough Market

 

I am, of course, talking Borough Market. “Borough” is pronounced “BURRa”; not “burROW” as these ignorant, rude assholes have it (The IPA is above in the title for those who know it, as everyone should!) I think it’s basic politeness to at least learn how to say the name of the places you are visiting and making your pitiful videos about. But politeness is not on their agenda. It’s all me, me, me. Egotistical pricks! </ENDRANT>

 

It isn’t known precisely when the market started, but it appears that it was there in the 12th century, if not before. Although the earliest written reference is from 1276, the official market history claims a date of 1014, if not earlier. The present market buildings were built starting in the 1850s and have been added to or restored over the years.

 

The market sits at the junction of Southwark Street and Borough High Street, just south of The Thames, near the gothic Southwark Cathedral, at the southern end of London Bridge (not Tower Bridge!) The Southwark Street entrance is in an art deco style and was built in 1932.

 

810px-Art_Deco_1930s_entrance_to_Borough_Market_in_Southwark.thumb.jpg.013967da23a01b8c90cbd9ae12750027.jpg

Art Deco 1930s entrance to Borough Market on Southwark Street, London, UK, at the junction with Borough High Street.

 

When I last lived in London (early 1990s), it was a wholesale market only, but in 1998, it added a retail market. Today both operate. The retail market (which is what the budding Scorseses want) opens Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, Fridays 10 to 6 and Saturdays 8 to 5. The wholesale market opens every weekday at 2 am and closes by 8 am. YouTubers never film that! Weekends are, of course, the busiest. Avoid.

 

The retail market specialises in high quality meats, vegetables and speciality goods and has many stalls selling cooked food from all over the world. For some reason, all the camera toters, when they do buy something, seem to go for an "artisan" Scotch egg. Maybe it’s the cheapest thing on offer! They then eat this while explaining its origins and etymology – except, without fail, they all get it wrong. Probably.

 

480889370_-2018-12-26_Scotch_eggs_Cromer.jpg.f4caa57a3b2e286080dfc21b9942898c.jpg

Scotch Eggs


Both the origin and etymology are unknown, although there many competing speculative theories. About the only thing almost certain is that their origin has nothing to do with Scotland. “Scotch” and “scot” have many meanings. It could even be a mispronunciation of “scorch”. Another story that is often repeated is that the Queen’s grocer, Fortnum and Mason’s situated near Buckingham Palace invented the things in 1738 but they also claim to have lost the evidence and anyway, there is strong evidence they existed before that.

 

938222898_FortnumandMasons.thumb.jpg.a02ec5991872109cfdd8df51c99e1cce.jpg

Fortnum and Mason's


The Oxford Companion to Food gives an origin in India, as does food historian, Annie Gray, as quoted in this excellent article from the Guardian.
 

Many of my friends and family have told me that they have stopped going to the market as it is just too crowded with tourists. On Saturday, June 3rd 2017, there was a terrorist attack in the area. Three terrorists drove a van into crowds on London Bridge killing two people, then ran into the market where they stabbed and killed another six. Many more were injured. Of the eight killed, only one was British. I don't have  a breakdown of the injured's nationalities. The terrorists were shot dead by police.

 

Fortunately, there is a smaller, less well known and considerably less busy market just a short distance away. Most of the vendors are ex-Borough Market. I’m not going to name it here. A YouTuber may see it! But if anyone wants to know just ask and I’ll PM the details.

 

Image credits

 

1. Borough Market March 2018 - image by Øyvind Holmstad –licenced under CC BY-SA 4.0

2. Art Deco 1930s entrance to Borough Market on Southwark Street, London, UK, at the junction with Borough High Street - Image by Carcharoth; licenced under CC BY-SA 4.0.

3. Fortnum and Mason's - Image by me, 2019

4. Scotch Eggs - Image by Anon - This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

   
Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 Greek or Turkish Cypriot doner kebabs are also a popular street food after a night in the pub.

 

Sadly, there is very little Greek or Turkish Cypriot about most of the kebabs sold late at night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...