Visitors to the US often think that there is no real American food, only dishes borrowed from other countries, or else that Americans eat only fast food. While there is some truth in both these impression, real American food does exist. The British also have a poor reputation for food. Visitors to Britain often complain that food in restaurant is badly presented, overcooked and has no taste. But the best British food is not generally found in restaurant but in people’s homes.
Certain foods are considered essential to traditional British cooking and form the basic of most meals. These include bread, pastry (for meat or fruit pies) and diary products such as milk, cheese and eggs. Potatoes, especially chips (AmE fries) are eaten at lunch or dinner. They are an important part of the traditional meal of meat and two veg (= meat, potatoes and another vegetable). A jacket potato (a potato baked whole in its skin) with cheese is popular pub lunch. Because of the increased cost of meat and various health scares many people now eat less meat. Vegetarians (= people who choose not to eat meat at all) and vegans (= people who eat no meat or animal products) are relatively few. After the main course, many families eat a pudding. This was traditional sponge or pastry cooked with jam or fruit, usually served hot with custard, but it may now be yogurt, fresh fruit or ice cream. Good plain home cooking, i.e. food prepared without spicy or creamy sauce, used to be something to be proud of. Since the 1970s British people have become more adventurous in what they eat and often cook foreign dishes. Rice, pasta and noodles are regularly eaten instead of potatoes. Supermarkets offer an expanding range of foreign foods, including many convenience foods (= prepared meals that need only to be heated). Takeaways from Indian and Chinese restaurant are also popular.
People’s interest in trying new recipes is encouraged by the many cookery programmes on television. Famous TV chefs include Delia Smith and Ainsley Harriot. Few older men know how to cook, but many younger men share the cooking as well as other household chores.
Food in America
American dishes include many made from traditional foods. Corn is eaten as corn on the cob, which is boiled and eaten ho with butter, ground up into small pieces and cooked again to make grits, or baked to make cornbread. It can be dried and cooked with oil to make popcorn, which is eaten hot covered with melted butter and salt. Turkey was originally an American bird and is the most important dish at Thanksgiving. It is served with a sauce made from an American plant, the cranberry, a small, red, sour berry and is usually followed by pumpkin pie. The hamburger may also come from the US. The sandwich, originally from Britain, is made with great variety in America. Many America’s most popular dishes have been borrowed from other cultures. This ethnic food is not always the same in the US as in the country it comes from. Many popular dishes come from Italy, especially pasta dishes and pizza. From Mexico there are burritos, tacos and enchiladas, from China there are egg rolls, chop suey and egg foo yong and from Japan sushi and teriyaki. When Americans make food at home they rarely use basic ingredients (= raw food). Cakes, for example, are often made from cake mixes bought in box. They also use many prepared foods (= meals that need only to be heated). Americans also often order in (= have a meal delivered to their home by a restaurant). In the 1980s younger people especially became more interested in food. These foodies helped to increase the variety of dishes and ingredients available in America. Olive oil became commonly used in cooking and new sauces were developed for pasta. Many styles of real coffee also became popular.
When British and Americans people eat out (= in a restaurant), they can choose from a wide range of eating places. The busiest tend to be burger bars, pizzerias and other fast-food outlets, which are popular with young people and families. In Britain these have largely replaced traditional cafés selling meals like sausage, egg and chips, thought most towns still have several fish and chips shops. Many pubs also serve reasonably prices meals. Many people eat out at Italian, Mexican and Chinese restaurant and at curry house. Fewer people go to smarter, more expensive restaurants. With the great variety of food available at relatively low prices, eating out is common.Food and health
In Britain the government regularly gives advice about healthy eating. The main aim is reduce the amount of fatty foods and sugar people eat and to encourage them to eat more fruit and vegetables. Many people still enjoy a fry-up (fried bacon, sausage and egg with fried bread) but there has been a gradual move towards eating healthier low-fat foods. The media discusses health risks connected with, for example beef or eggs. People are also concerned about chemicals sprayed onto crops. Supermarkets sell organic produce (= cereals and vegetables grown without the use of chemicals), but few people are prepared to pay the higher prices for this. Americans believe food has an important effect on their health but they do not always eat in a healthy way. Many eat junk food, including fast food, snacks like potato chips (BrE crisps) and cookies (BrE biscuits), fizzy drinks and ice cream. Some people eat mainly health foods. They take vitamin and mineral supplements and rush to eat the latest foods said to be healthy, like olive oil, oats And garlic. Americans always seem to be fighting a battle between what they want to eat and what is good for them. Most Americans weigh too much; so it seems that still mostly eat what they want.
Americans and British people generally eat three meals a day thought the names vary according to people’s lifestyles and where they live. The first meal of the day is breakfast. The traditional full English breakfast served in many British hotels may include fruit juice, cereal, bacon and eggs, often with sausages and tomatoes, toast and marmalade, and most have only cereal or muesli (AmE granola) and/or toast with tea or coffee. Others buy coffee and pastry on their way to work. The traditional American breakfast includes eggs, some kind of meat and toast. Eggs may be fried ”over easy”, “over hard” or “sunny side up” or boiled, poached or in omelette (= beaten together and fried). The meat may be bacon or sausage. People who do not have time for a large meal have toast or cereal and coffee. It is common for Americans to eat breakfast in restaurant. On Saturday and Sunday many people eat brunch late in the dishes including pancakes and waffles (= types of cooked batter) that are eaten with butter and maple syrup. Lunch, which is eaten any time after midday, is the main meal of the day for some British people, though people out at work may have only sandwiches. Some people also refer to the midday meal as dinner. Most workers are allowed about an hour off for it called the lunch hour and many also go shopping. Many school offer a cooked lunch (school lunch or school dinner) though some students take a packed lunch of sandwiches, fruit, etc. Sunday lunch is special and is, for many families, the biggest meal of the week, consisting typically of roast meat and vegetables and a sweet course. In the US lunch is usually a quick meal, eaten around midday. Many workers have a half-hour break for lunch and buy a sandwich near their place of work. Business people may something eat a larger lunch and use time to discuss business. The main meal of the day for most people is the evening meal, called supper, tea or dinner. It is usually a cooked meal with meat or fish or salad, followed by a sweet course. Some people have a TV supper, eaten on their knee while watching television. In Britain younger children may have tea when they get home from school. Tea, meaning a main meal for adults, is used especially in Scotland and Ireland; supper and dinner are more widely used in England and Wales. Dinner sounds more formal than supper and gusts generally receive invitations to “dinner” rather than to “supper”. In the US the evening meal is called dinner. It is usually eaten around 6 or 6.30 pm and often consist of dishes bought ready prepared that need only to be heated. In many families, both in Britain and the US, family members eat at the table together. Unless it is a special occasion, few people drink wine with dinner. Many people also eat snacks between meals. Most have tea or coffee at mid-morning, often called coffee time or coffee break. In Britain this is something also called elevenses. In the afternoon most British people have a tea break. Some hotels serve afternoon tea, which consist tea or coffee and a choice of sandwiches and cakes. When on holiday/vocation people sometimes have a cream tea of scones, jam and cream. In addition many people eat chocolate bars, biscuits (AmE cookies) or crisps (AmE chips). Some British people have a snack, sometimes called supper, consisting of a milk drink and a biscuit before they go to bed. In the US children often have milk and cookies after school adults are especially likely to snack (=eat snack) while watching TV.Table manners
Good manners are important at meal times, though people worry less about table manners than they once did now that many meals are less formal. When eating at a table with other people, it is considered polite to keep your napkin (= a peace of material or paper used to wipe your mouth) below the table on your lap, to chew with your mouth closed and not talk with food in your mouth, to keep your elbows off the table a lot of food all at once, or to take more until it is offered. It is also better to ask somebody to pass the salt, etc. rather than to reach across the table for it.
When invited to a meal at somebody else’s house people often take a bottle of wine or chocolate or flowers, as a gift. Apart from this, it is not usual to give presents to people you do not know well. It is not considered polite to look round other people’s houses without being invited to do so and people usually ask where the toilet is rather than going to look for it. Man people do not smoke and visitor should ask permission before they smoke in somebody’s house. Close friends are much less formal in each other’s houses and may get their own drinks and help to clear away the meal.
Table manners in Britain
Although rules regarding table manners are not very strict in Britain, it is considered rude to eat and drink noisily. At formal meals, the cutlery is placed in the order in which it will be used, starting from the outside and working in. the dessert spoon and fork are usually laid at the top of your place setting, not at the side. After each course, the knife and fork should be laid side by side in the middle of the plate. This shows that you have finished and the plate ca be removed. If you leave the knife and fork apart, it will show that you have not yet finished eating. It is considered impolite to smoke between courses unless your hosts say otherwise. It is polite to ask permission before you smoke in people’s homes. In Britain, smoking is now forbidden in many public places, e.g. on the underground, on stations, in shops, in theatres and in cinemas.
Meals in Britain
A traditional English breakfast is very big meal – sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms.... But nowadays many people just have cereal with milk and sugar or toast with marmalade, jam or honey. Marmalade and jam are not the same! Marmalade is made from oranges and jam is made from other fruit. The traditional breakfast drink is tea, which people have with cold milk. Some people have coffee, often instant coffee, which is made with just hot water. Many visitors to Britain find this coffee disgusting!
For many people lunch is a quick meal. In cities there are a lot of sandwiches bars, where office workers can choose the kind of bread they want – brown, white or roll – and then all sorts of salad and meat or fish to go in the sandwich. Pubs often serve good, cheap food, both hot and cold. School-children can have a hot meal at school, but many just take a snack from home – a sandwich, a drink, some fruit and perhaps some crisps.
Tea means two things. It is a drink and meal! Some people have afternoon tea, with sandwiches, cakes and of course, a cup of tea. Cream teas are popular. You have scones (a kind of cake) with cream and jam. The evening meal is the main meal of the day for many people. They usually have it quite early, between 6.00 and 8.00 and often the whole family eats together. On Sunday many families have a traditional lunch. They have roast meat, either beef, lamb, chicken, or pork with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Gravy is a sauce made from the meat juices.
The British like food from other countries, too, especially Italian, French, Chinese and Indian. People often get takeaways meals – you buy food at the restaurant and then bring it home to eat. Eating in Britain is quite international!
Desserts/puddings – apple strudel, chocolate pudding – čok. koláč, doughnut – šiška, pancake, Cheddar cheese, ice-cream, sponge – piškótový koláč, gingerbread, biscuits, wafers – oblátky, fruit trifle – ovocný pohár s vanil. Pudingom, custard, sundae – zmrzlinový pohár
Fruit – pineapple – ananás, pistachio /pisteišiou/, grapes – hrozno, pears /perz/ - hrušky, plums – slivky, prunes – sušené slivky, water/melon, apricots – marhule, peaches – broskyne, cherries, lemon, orange, tangerines, mandarins, nectarines, damsons – ringlóty, figs, dates – ďatle, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts – liskovce, almonds – mandle, cashew – kešu, quince – dula
Drinks/beverages – nápoje – beer: porter – silné čierne, lager – ležiak, aperitif, cider – jablkový mušt, chilled – chladené, champagne /šempei/, sparkling wine – šumivé víno, lemonade, sodas, soft drinks, juice, wine” dry and sweet, sauce – omáčka, gravy – šťava z mäsa pri tepelnej úprave