Although Britain is quite a small country, it offers a wide choice of food and drink. The types of food people eat have changed a lot over the years for several reasons. People have come to Britain from different parts of the world, bringing their favourite food with them and often opening restaurants. British people have travelled to other countries and brought new food back home. In Britain you can find traditional food like roast beef or fish and chips and vegetarian food for those who do not eat meat. As well as foods from different parts of Britain, you can buy Italian, Mexican and West Indian food. Tea is often described as the national drink, but in Britain’s pub you can drink beers and wines from many different countries.
Changes over centuries
For those who live near the sea, fish and shellfish have always been important. Before people had fridges to keep food cold and fresh, they started to keep fish by salting, drying or smoking it. Away from the sea, people first ate wild animals, but then hundreds of years ago they began keeping sheep, cows and chicken on farms. Farmers have grown fruit, vegetables and cereals for centuries too. During the Middle Ages, ships brought sugar, nuts and spices from far away. At first only rich people could buy the things brought from overseas , but slowly they became cheaper. The diet of many British people is quite different to that of their parents. People used to walk to their nearest shops almost every day. Now they drive to supermarkets when they can buy everything under one roof.
Home cooked food
Two favourite meals with children are fish fingers and chips, and baked beans on toast. Baked beans, first sold in Boston, USA, but now very popular in Britain are cheap to buy and quick to heat up. They are eaten almost any time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Three traditional British meals are: bangers, beans and mash (sausages, baked beans and mashed potato) stew (meat cooked with lots of vegetables) and the Sunday roast. Beef is eaten with hot white sauce, pork with sweet apple sauce, and lamb with green mint sauce. After dinner people eat dessert – e.g. fruit, chocolate cake or apple pie. Breakfast is usually a quick meal, eaten in the kitchen, lunch is often eaten in school or work. Dinner may be eaten wherever, often in front of the television !
Out or outside ?
Going to the reastaurant for a meal instead of eating home is called ‘eating out’. You can find coffee shops where you can buy drink and perhaps a sandwich or cake, snackbars where you can get light meals and restaurants. Schools, colleges, companies have a self - service restaurant called a cafeteria where you buy your food and take it back to your table. And evening meal in a restaurant usually has three courses: starter (soup, salad, seafood …) then main course, the last course is dessert or cheese plate ( pices of differnet cheeses with biscuits and grapes. Some people have both. All three courses can be hot or cold. Chinese and Indian restaurants have been popular for long but now people love going to Thai, Turkish , Morrocan or French restaurants. In the Westend in London there are a lot of Thai restaurants, there are many Indian restaurants in Wembley or East end. Indian foods could actually mean food from Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal , Banglades , Sri Lanka and of course India. The most common Indian is a curry - meat, fish or vegetables cooked with different spices. There are now now many evening classes in Britain for people to learn how to cook Indian food and there is even a National Curry Day! During the summer, some restaurants and pubs have tables outside, on the street or in the garden. So they have their coffee , tea or meal outside. Peopple also love picnics - sandwiches, crisps and hot tea or a bit more special with smoked fish, strawberies and champagne. People take this foot to a park or beach and sit on the grass or sand. Over the past few years, barbecuing became more popular.
Fried fish and cookes potatoes were first sold in the streets of of London in 1850th and first fish and chips shops were opened in 1860th. A favourite snack (quick food eaten between meals) in Britain is baked potato or ‘potato in its jacket’. Supermarkets sell a lot of qiuck snacks and meals, like cup-a-soup to which you just add boiling water, or meals you can quickly heat-up in the microwave oven. You can buy many other kinds of hot fastfood today, e.g. burgers and fried chicken from the USA, pizza from Italy and kebabs from the Middle East. Sandwiches make a quick lunch and are easy to take to school or work.
Coffee has become very popular in recent years , but tea is still the national drink. In 1610 tea was brought from China to Europe. By the late 18th century, Britain was at the centre of the world tea bussines and soon afterwards the tradition of taking afternoon tea began. Afternoon tea is a pot of tea, and a light snack served around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Today there are 1500 different kinds of tea, e.g. Assam, Earl Grey, English Breakfast … In the past, the usual way to serve tea was to put a little cold milk in a cup, pur the tea and then add some sugar. Tea / makin has changed a lot. People noe use tea/bags instead og of tea/leaves, because it’s easier , tea is often made in the mug, without a pot and many people no longer use milk.