Whenever I go to a country, I find that the local cuisine is a great way of getting to grips with the culture. It can be hard to pinpoint exactly what British food is, so here are some of my recommendations for anyone holidaying in good old Blighty.
#1. Fish and chips
My favourite fish and chip shop is Mrs T’s on the Suffolk coast. Hidden away in the harbour, it is a bit of walk to get there from the town centre and then you are almost inevitably faced with a queue. Despite my hatred of all things exercise, I would never have it any other way because it simply makes it taste that much sweeter. A massive piece of golden, battered fish and fistfuls of chips- covered in salt, vinegar and ketchup- is your reward and it is good.
#2. Roast dinner
Sunday would not be Sunday without a roast for lunch. Piles of veg and roast potatoes, doused in gravy with whatever meat takes your fancy and topped off with a Yorkshire pudding and some stuffing. Back in the days when I went to the gym first thing on a Sunday morning (it was a phase), the moment I opened the door and the smell that hit me, my stomach would ache- and not just because of the exercise, but because it was crying out for the food. It is the perfect excuse to sit around the table with whoever is in the house and have a good chat before taking a massive nap in front of the telly afterwards.
#3. Bangers and mash
Now this is something that even I can cook. It is simple yet delicious. Obviously onion gravy is a necessity, drizzled over creamy mash potato with a couple of fat, sizzling sausages on the side. I think I’ve made my point.
#4. Full English Breakfast
I was shocked to discover that some people do not understand the concept of an English fry-up. Apparently the idea of having such a big meal so early in the day is puzzling. Admittedly, I hate eating that much first thing in the morning but I can’t help but think they’ve missed the point. Besides breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Whilst this is perhaps not what you’d have on a day to day basis, it is the perfect treat. Nothing makes me happier than rashes of bacon, sausages, egg, beans, mushroom and fried bread (and fried tomatoes and black pudding, if that is your kind of thing). In fact, this will sort you right out the morning after a big night out. And lets not forget that big, steaming mug of tea and glass of orange juice to go with it. Alternatively if you’re not in the mood for quite so much go for a bacon or sausage sandwich- layer on some ketchup and add a nice, runny fried egg and you are in for a treat.
#5. Afternoon tea
A more refined choice. Come mid-afternoon, you may feel yourself getting rather peckish. You’ve had your lunch, you’re not ready for dinner- so treat yourself to tea and cake. Perhaps a nice scone with clotted cream and jam with a nice pot of tea. Throw in a snug, little cafe and some quirky, mismatched china and you are sorted. Or if you want to go for the whole shebang, go for high tea with piles of cakes and mini-sandwiches. If you’re anything like me, it will make you feel very grown-up.
#6. Anything served in a pub, but particularly pie
This is my favourite thing about living in the country. You cannot beat Kent for pubs- there are lots of beams and crackling fires to be found here. Even if you’re not going for a meal, they are the perfect place to go for a drink and a catch-up with anyone and everyone. They’re warm, cosy, friendly and can do fantastic meals. If you get a bad one then there is nothing more disappointing, but if you get it right then it is tasty and comforting. Bowls of thick cut, chunky chips, delicious pies- chicken & mushroom, steak & ale- it’s rather like being cooked a meal by your mum. Now if you don’t mind, I have made myself rather hungry- I’m going to get some dinner.