Traditional British Food

traditional fish and chips with a slice of lemon and pot of tartare sauce

The Britain I live in today has amazing food from all over the world. It is perfectly normal to eat Swiss food for breakfast (muesli), Japanese food for lunch (sushi) and Moroccan food for dinner (tagine). However, we haven’t forgotten our traditional British food:

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Fish and Chips

From a good chip shop, also known as a Chippie, chips are made from freshly cut potatoes. They are deep fried until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The fish is usually cod, haddock or plaice. It is coated in batter then also deep fried. Usually, fish and chips are seasoned with salt and vinegar and served with mushy peas.

Traditional British fish and chips are wrapped in newspaper as a take-away food. Nowadays, some restaurants serve ‘posh’ fish and chips. I enjoy sitting outside and eating my chips from the paper wrapping. In some seaside towns, seagulls have started liking chips. They wait and watch people leaving the shop, then swoop in to steal their chips. 

Pies

A pie is a pastry case filled with various possible ingredients; fruit, meat, or vegetables. In my home town there is a famous traditional British pie shop called ‘Sweeney Todds’, named after the man who killed people in his hairdressing shop and put their bodies into pies. The shop in Reading  sells delicious pies. Some are even vegetarian, so they can’t have people in them! Pies are usually served with mashed potatoes (mash), vegetables like peas or broccoli, and gravy.

Haggis, tatties and neeps

The most famous traditional Scottish food is haggis. It is made from finely chopped and well- seasoned sheep’s heart, lungs and liver. This is then sewed into the sheep’s stomach and boiled. It is served with mashed potatoes (tatties) and mashed turnip (neeps).

Cornish Pasties

Cornwall is a beautiful part of Britain with many historic copper and tin mines.  A pasty is a delicious, crescent-shaped pie with a crust, designed for miners to eat for lunch. In the past, miners held the crust with their dirty hands, ate the main part, then threw away the crust. Now, people eat pasties for lunch all the time, but we also eat the crust.

A full English breakfast/ a fry-up

This comes from the days when manual workers (farmers or miners) needed a lot of energy at the start of each day. All the food is fried in oil and it includes; sausages, bacon, eggs, potatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and even fried bread. These days, a traditional fry-up is eaten as a hangover cure or a lazy weekend treat.

Roast dinner

French people nickname the British ‘Rosbif’ because of this meal. The meal has a big piece of oven-roasted meat, maybe beef, lamb or chicken, served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and lots of different vegetables and gravy. Lots of families eat this traditional British meal on a Sunday at lunchtime.

Check your understanding:

  • What kind of birds enjoy stealing chips?
  • Can a pie be sweet or savoury, or both?
  •  Some people say that a Haggis is a wild animal found in Scotland. Is this true?
  • Where do pasties come from?
  • In the past, what kind of people ate full English breakfasts?
  • On which day do people often eat a roast dinner?

Post your answers in the comments below. Alternatively, you can book a one-to-one lesson with an Intrepid English teacher today to discuss this topic in more detail.

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This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher, Jo.

Find out more about Jo on her Intrepid English Teacher profile page.

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