Thirty years ago, food in England was arguably, really awful. Think spam. Scotch eggs. Trifle. A lot of people on the continent think of English food as being greasy, full of chips, loaded in ketchup. This is slightly unfair from our friends in Europe, wouldn’t you say?
Food in England is changing
Now then. Let’s remember it is 2017. Dutch people stopped wearing clogs, French people quit the garlic round their necks, and Germans also have other things available to eat other than Sauerkraut. Stereotypes are brilliant but really cannot be thought of as facts. I decided to write this blog post because I still receive comments which put my nationality’s culinary excellence into question. I think every country has awful, processed and greasy food. England does not make you fat. We have the most humongous range of hummus in supermarkets and really fresh food,
- come see for yourself.
Last week, I flew to Manchester to visit my favourite linguist and best friend, Tom. We always make an effort to go out to different places and see the new restaurants and coffee shops, rather than chain restaurants. Having spent time in France & Italy and coming from London, Tom knows his food. He slashed the stereotype with his sharp espresso martinis and his great cooking skills, such as a butternut-squash risotto. His fridge is never without Grana Padano (parmesan), prosecco and antipasti. He is British.
In England, there are certain dishes which have been around since 14 century and we continue to make in different ways. English cuisine could consist of: stews, beef wellington, the famous roast beef/pork with Yorkshire pudding (not sweet as it sounds), Shepherd’s pie, Lancashire hotpot, steak and kidney pie, Bubble and Squeak etc. Most of these warming meals are still found in British pubs today alongside more exotic options.
The reason we have adopted many different types of food from all over the world is due to the influence of the colonies such as India. During the Victorian era the British were very inspired by French cuisine. The rest goes on from there. Many countries adopt their own version of spaghetti carbonara. Let’s leave it there. I do agree that we shouldn’t put chicken in risotto or pizza and we shouldn’t have cappuccino for anything else other than breakfast. Thanks, Italian friends.
Manchester: chips and curry sauce is not the only option
I found myself thrown into a mini version of London, with more investment pouring in each year making it the northern ‘powerhouse’. There is so much to explore here via the Metrolink, the new trams which run through the city down to Salford, Manchester Airport and its surrounding districts. The same goes for food.
Manchester used to be known for its curry sauce and chips or Pukka Pies which you’d grab at a football match to be slightly less inebriated. These days you can find good food, you just need to know where to look. There is more choice now than there used to be, more globablisation, making Manchester in particular, very international. It is thriving.
My advice would be to sample some of these foods first. I had a similar experience with polish food until I ate pierogi in Wroclaw.
Take a look at some of the food you can get in the UK and, like any country, try before you dismiss anything.
Look out for #DinnerWithTom for regular updates.
Getting to Manchester
Great new tip for those wanting to explore: Ryanair now fly to Manchester from Berlin for less than the price of a train ticket to London from the UK. Yes, really.
What to bring:
– Smart / casual clothes
– Rollers / Eyelashes / big eyebrows
– Some good shoes (rainproof, still fancy)
What to leave at home:
– your strong Queen’s English accent
– your sunglasses (probably)
– your ipad to take pictures with