(Food and drinks in English)
British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom. Historically, British cuisine means "unfussy dishes made with quality local ingredients, matched with simple sauces to accentuate flavour, rather than disguise it." However, British cuisine has absorbed the cultural influence of those that have settled in Britain, producing hybrid dishes, such as the Anglo-Indian Chicken tikka masala, hailed as "Britain's true national dish".
Vilified as "unimaginative and heavy", British cuisine has traditionally been limited in its international recognition to the full breakfast and the Christmas dinner. However, Celtic agriculture and animal breeding produced a wide variety of foodstuffs for indigenous Celts and Britons. Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savory herb stewing techniques before the practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest introduced exotic spices into Great Britain in the Middle Ages. The British Empire facilitated a knowledge of India's elaborate food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs". Food rationing policies, put in place by the British government during wartime periods of the 20th century, are said to have been the stimulus for British cuisine's poor international reputation.
British dishes include fish and chips, the Sunday roast, and bangers and mash. British cuisine has several national and regional varieties, including English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine, which each have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cheshire cheese, the Yorkshire pudding, Arbroath Smokie, and Welsh cakes.
Roastbeef with yorkshire puddings
Romano-British agriculture, highly fertile soils and advanced animal breeding produced a wide variety of very high quality foodstuffs for indigenous Romano-British. Anglo-Saxon England developed meat and savoury herb stewing techniques and the Norman conquest reintroduced exotic spices and continental influences back into Great Britain in the Middle Ages as maritime Britain became a major player in the transcontinental spice trade for many centuries. Following the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th Centuries "plain and robust" food remained the mainstay of the British diet, reflecting tastes which are still shared with neighbouring north European countries and traditional North American Cuisine.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Colonial British Empire began to be influenced by India's elaborate food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs", the United Kingdom developed a worldwide reputation for the quality of British beef and pedigree bulls were exported to form the bloodline of major modern beef herds across the New World.  Food rationing policies, put in place by the British government during wartime periods of the 20th century, are often claimed as the stimulus for the decline of British cuisine in the twentieth century.
In common with many advanced economies, rapid urbanisation and the early industrialisation of food production as well as female emancipation have resulted in a highly modern consumer society with reduced connection to the rural environment and adherence to traditional household roles. Consequently food security has increasingly become a major popular concern. Concerns over the quality nuritional value of industrialisation of food production led to the creation of the Soil Association in 1946 and its principles of organic farming are now widely promoted, and accepted as an esential element of contemporary food culture by many sections of the UK population and animal welfare in farming is amongst the most advanced in the world.
The custom of afternoon tea and scones has its origins in Imperial Britain.
English cuisine is shaped by the country's temperate climate, its island geography, and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China, and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.
Since the Early Modern Period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach, honesty of flavour, and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. This has resulted in a traditional cuisine which tended to veer from strong flavours, such as garlic, and an avoidance of complex sauces which were commonly associated with Catholic Continental political affiliations.
Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, and freshwater and saltwater fish. The 14th century English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, contains recipes for these, and dates from the royal court of Richard II.
Other customary dishes, such as fish and chips, which were once urban street food eaten from newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, and pies and sausages with mashed potatoes, onions, and gravy, are now matched in popularity by curries from India and Bangladesh, and stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cooking. French cuisine and Italian cuisine, once considered suspect and effeminate, are also now widely admired and adapted. Britain was also quick to adopt the innovation of fast food from the United States, and continues to absorb culinary ideas from all over the world while at the same time rediscovering its roots in sustainable rural agriculture.
Fish and chips
Modern British cuisine
The increasing popularity of celebrity chefs on television has fuelled a renewed awareness of good food and New British cuisine has shaken off something of the stodgy "fish and chips" image. The best London restaurants rival those anywhere in the world, in both quality and price, and this influence is starting to be felt in the rest of the country. There are a number of chefs striving to reconstruct classic British country cooking, such as Fergus Henderson, Simon Hopkinson or Mark Hix.
There has been a massive boom in restaurant numbers driven by a renewed interest in quality food, possibly due to the availability of cheap foreign travel. Organic produce is increasingly popular, especially following a spate of farming crises, including BSE.
There has also been a quiet revolution in both quality and quantity of places to dine out in Britain; in particular, public houses have been transformed in the last twenty or so years. Many have made the transition from eateries of poor reputation to rivals of the best restaurants. The so called gastropub – very often now are the best restaurants in smaller towns. The term "pub grub", once derogatory, can now be a sign of excellent value and quality dining. Some credit for this sea change has to go to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), for helping to improve the quality of pubs and their products in general, and some to the privatisation of breweries, which forced many pubs to diversify into dining in order to survive as a business, as well as a greater appreciation and demand among consumers.
Baked bean sandwich
Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding
The Sunday roast
The Sunday roast is perhaps the most common feature of English cooking. The Sunday dinner traditionally includes roast potatoes accompanying a roasted joint of meat such as roast beef, lamb, or a roast chicken and assorted vegetables, themselves generally roasted or boiled and served with a gravy. Yorkshire pudding and gravy is now often served as an accompaniment to the main course, although it was originally served first as a "filler". The practice of serving a roast dinner on a Sunday is related to the elaborate preparation required, and to the housewife's practice of performing the weekly wash on a Monday, when the cold remains of the roast made an easily-assembled meal. An elaborate version of roast dinner is eaten at Christmas, with almost every detail rigidly specified by tradition. Since its widespread availability after World War II the most popular Christmas roast is turkey, superseding the goose of Dickens's time. Game meats such as venison which were traditionally the domain of higher classes are occasionally also eaten by those wishing to experiment with a wider choice of foods, due to their promotion by celebrity chefs, although it is not usually eaten regularly in the average household.
Fish and chips, a popular take-away food of the United Kingdom.
The chip shop
England is internationally famous for its fish and chips and has a huge number of restaurants and take-away shops selling this dish. It is possibly the most popular and identifiable English dish, and is traditionally served with a side order of mushy peas with salt and vinegar as condiments. Foods such as scampi, a deep fried breaded prawn dish, are also on offered as well as fishcakes or a number of other combinations. The advent of take-away foods during the industrial revolution led to foods such as fish and chips, mushy peas, and steak and kidney pie with mashed potato (pie and mash). These were the staples of the UK take-away business, and indeed of English diets however, like many national dishes, quality can vary drastically from the commercial or mass produced product to an authentic or homemade variety using more discerning ingredients. However, through ethnic influences, particularly those of Indian and Chinese, have given rise to the establishment and availability of ethnic take-away foods. From the 1980s onwards, a new variant on curry, the balti, began to become popular in the West Midlands, and by the mid 1990s was commonplace in Indian restaurants and restaurants over the country. Kebab houses, pizza restaurants and American-style fried chicken restaurants aiming at late night snacking have also become popular in urban areas.