It’s a funny thing, Patriotism, and I think it’s probably a very sad thing not to be able to love who you are and where you come from. I say ‘think’ because I have no idea personally, I love my country! I love green fields and babbling brooks and muddy seasides where you can catch crabs and eat rock. I like the Queen and watching rugby and Vivienne Westwood and even that nobber John Lydon. I read Bridget Jones’s Diary at least once a year and haven’t missed an Only Fools & Horses Christmas special yet. Rain and queues and emotional repression are an integral part of my very being and I wont ever apologise for that. Yeah, I’m English, and British (yes you can be both) and I also love food. Standby for shock revelation- I love British food!
Years back, when MTV still had music on most of the time, I remember watching an interview with that bloke from Korn who was whinging on about being on tour in the UK because- and I remember it as clear as yesterday- ‘y’all have some horrible ass food.’ Really, funny little screaming dreadlocks man? Really? He went on to sing the praises of being in Germany on Tour because you know, they have good pizza in Germany. This little example affirms what I had always suspected of the value of this individual’s opinion but also comes back to haunt me frequently when crossing the views of my non countrymen on the cuisine of my fair isle.
I now invite you to get all the stereotypical ill informed gumph banging around your brain out in the open now. Come on. Warm beer, rubbery cheese, overcooked meat and wilting vegetables all served in a soggy crusted pie with some kind of crumble and lumpy custard. Done? Anything else to add? Good. Now shut up.
Great Britain isn’t just good at pumping out the best novelists, poets, designers, cyclists and crazy arse royals in the world. Our food is awesome. Our farmers are amazing and our chefs are second to none. There is a lot more to British grub than roast beef or cucumber sandwiches. I have never, ever eaten a cucumber sandwich by the way. And it’s time to shine a little more light on these culinary heroes, from planting to plating up and so we have a new blog section. Eat Britain!
Even the bloody French are starting to come around to the idea that we might know a thing or two about edibles on this side of the channel and you can click here for more on this little story but the jist of it is simply that British food should, and indeed slowly is, being seen on the world stage as cuisine rather than just sustenance. Not that there is anything wrong with a bit of sustenance, much as I’d love to have Heston Blumenthal banging out my dinners every night I’m a big fan of a simple pork pie or some Tiptree jam on toast, apple crumble or yes, yes indeed roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. And yes, I must confess that casual feigned racism aside I also dip willingly into French, Spanish, Indian, Polish and a whole bunch of other ethnically labelled foods a lot of the time. But I believe in shouting out for your team and standing up for local produce and Great Britain is my local.
Trotters bar is also my local and in there last week I discovered a fantastic idea that I’ll use for the purposes of this entry. Butter and Mint flavour crisps. Go on do it- eeeeeeeeeeeew! That’s what so many people have said, gross! Disgusting! You didn’t eat them did you???? Well yes I ate them, because you should always try new things that come in pretty packets and Fairfield Farm crisps haven’t let me down yet. They were yummy, and why wouldn’t they be? How do you make boiled potatoes edible kids? Yup, by covering them in butter and mint and some good sea salt. Think about it, why wouldn’t they work? It’s so simple, pleasantly different to your bog standard salt and vinegar or cheese and onion and a kick back to a classic. In an 80’s sunday lunch at your nan’s kind of way. And that’s what else I love about British food and British cooks. We all like a tikka masala or some crazy molecular gastronomic sausage with black pudding mash and some kind of wine sauce that others might call a jus, but we also love the classics and we keep them coming. Just like your mum used to make. Or your dad, or your gran or Phil who lives next door to your Auntie Jean.
So go British, even if it’s just to try it, and if you’re already here then for goodness sakes live it! There’s so much good eating over here, and plenty more to come in these pages. Stay tuned.
Got a local dish to tout? Work for a British producer or seller or in anyway food associated business? I want to hear from you! You can catch plenty of free publicity and hopefully I can learn some stuff too so please please get in touch either via WordPress or firstname.lastname@example.org