Tuesday, 25 August 2009

British Food - and Other Embarassing Observations

A lovely mapo tofu dish from Hong Kong. Photo by Kang of the London Eater blog

I often wonder how 300 years of interaction with delicious cuisines (think Chinese (via Hong Kong), Malaysian, Indian and Arabic) and living next door to (and sometimes actually in) France could have left us with nothing more than haggis, steak and kidney pie and fish and chips. (Alright, roast partridge and smoked salmon are superb, but they're not exactly everyday fare).

One answer is the incipient Puritanism that still affects many of us. But I fear that there's a deep-seated prejudice - probably originating from our being an island race like the Japanese (who suffer from similar prejudices but have created a superb cuisine nonetheless) - against assimilating other cuisines. We never married into other cultures until recently; part of the same prejudice, I suspect. Maybe the defining characteristic of the Brits is snobbery. Anyway, I'm sure Kate Fox would have it nailed.