Yesterday the Olympic torch passed through my humble town in Yorkshire. Local folk were out in mass, with the school children creating a bustling pavement of red, white and blue: singing songs, cheering at everything and anything driving past; and frantically waving flags as the torch passed by. It was just lovely and got me feeling all patriotic as the whole community came together to celebrate.
With many a celebration over the past year; from the Royal Wedding, to the Jubilee, to the London Olympics; the Brits have come out in force to celebrate our nation. And we certainly have a lot to be proud of: the beautiful Georgian architecture, the rich cultural heritage from Shakespeare to the Beatles, the Queen and, actually, the food. In the words of Hugh Grant (playing the Prime minister) ‘We may be a small country, but we’re a great one too.’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WITlM2pY_a4
English cuisine is often undermined, particularly by our French friends over the channel who share our national colours, yet refuse to have anything to do with our culinary status. When speaking of ‘English cuisine’ in France, you will most probably be faced with the muttering of ‘la cuisine anglaise??! Il n’y a rien de tel!’ (There’s no such thing as English cuisine!)
Now, not one to criticise the French (as you may have cottoned on to the fact that I would in fact quite like to be a frog), here I can say that they are totally and completely faux!
As Brits, we have a lot to shout about: hearty home-cooked Shepherd’s Pie, Roast Beef and sausages and mash; rustic seaside fish and chips; refined afternoon tea with all the works; anything and everything you can think of thrown into a hearty pie; the greasy yet irresistible English breakfast; and the unique Yorkshire pudding!
And all of the above is not even taking in to consideration the multicultural nature of modern-day Britain. Take our capital as an example; London is a melting pot of cultural diversity. I doubt you could find a curry in India much better than those on Brick Lane, China town is a vibrant ‘village’ of its own and one can get lost in the unbeatable diversity of the dozens of markets.
So the idea of the British as inept in the kitchen is one only for the ignorant who have not been privileged enough to taste real English grub… You’ve got to love ‘les roast beef’!