Saturday, July 17, 2010

In Praise of English Food

A lot of jokes have been made about English food. At it's worst it has been pretty bad in the past. I remember the cabbage boiled to death, the overdone meat, the greasy chips. But at its best it has always been superb--because it is good ingredients served simply. The beef has been living in a field, eating good grass, the chickens running around and laying eggs and the veg picked that morning.

I have been eating an awful lot of good food during the past week: the Sunday lunch with a piece of beef eighteen inches long, and so tender you could cut it with a spoon... the fresh strawberry tarts and goosberry flan with clotted cream, the cream teas, the fresh eggs that taste like egg.
Yesterday we went to tea with a cousin in a lovely country village. What a spread--table covered with plaates of tiny sandwiches, smoked salmon, cucumber, ham--thin sliced fresh bread with Gentlemen's relish, tiny wild strawberry tarts, hazelnut cake, the aforementioned gooseberry flan--this is what I like best about English food. Tea is the most civilized meal.

Yesterday I lunched with the producer who is trying to get Evan Evans onto TV. Some hopeful news, some not so hopeful. And today we go to Wales.
I promised pictures--here are the first samples. The manor house in Cornwall where we stayed (John's sister's place) and Sunday lunch there.
More to follow. Off to eat a full English breakfast: egg,  bacon, sausage, tomoato, mushroom etc. Not getting fat as we are walking so much.


  1. That is one impressive manor house! How robust that grass looks! Love the color scheme inside, too. Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures.

    I agree, British food has had a bad rap for a while. I loved the variety of fish one could choose from at chippie shops. And the veggies were full of real flavor. The best lamb dishes I have ever had were in Cardiff; one at a Chinese restaurant called The Pearl of the Orient right there at Roald Dahl Plas by the Millenium Centre. Maybe it's the Welsh lamb, but the preparation was outstanding as well.

    The best thing is all the walking - you eat as much as you'd like and still lose a few inches!

    Have a wonderful remainder of your visit, Rhys. Looking forward to more gorgeous pictures.
    Cymru am byth!


  2. What lovely pictures, not to mention the descriptions of the delicious food.

  3. Oh, do I want a full English breakfast! I'm only lacking the bacon, the tomato, mushroom, etc., so will have to make do with egg, leeks, sausage. Sigh.

  4. Lovely! We had the best full English brekkie at a B&B in Sunderland 2yrs ago. They even served blood pudding--and I liked it.

  5. English food is world class. The problem was always how the English cooked it.

  6. What a beautiful home!
    The closest I've gotten to English food is trying out some recipes from an English cookbook. Of course nothing would taste quite the same as they would in England. The ingredients themselves are so different than anything you can find in the States.

  7. English food has always enchanted me. As an American teenager I attempted to make crumpets, scones, and marmalade. I wasn't very good at making them! Now that I'm an adult and much more experienced at cooking, I'd love to delve deeper into English cuisine and try cooking and eating the good stuff. Clotted cream? Mmm! Scones with currants? Yes, please! I'm trying to adopt English tea-time too, as the sustenance is much needed at those times of the day, especially as a mom of 2.
    Evan Evans on TV? How amazing that would be! I do hope it's a success. I adored that series and it made me yearn to learn Welsh and traipse the mountains.
    Good luck!

  8. What a beautiful place and a gorgeous spread at the table!!! You mentioned strawberries, now I'm off to the store for some of my own (since I didn't do a garden this year - drat) and I'll be making my own whipped cream for the top. Aaahhhh summer!!!

  9. I'm reminded of a quote from John Cleese when asked about why English cooking was so bad: "We had an empire to run!" However, I do not agree with the questioner. I like English cooking.

    Thank you for keeping us up-to-date on your trip. And I do hope that things turn out well for the Evan Evans series.

  10. I do love the English breakfast!