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British Food


National Trust properties are currently hosting British Food Fortnight. At Ightham Mote, a three-course meal celebrates local dishes and traditional Kent produce. Entertainment is provided by the Hartley Morris Men.

The Michaelmas Fair at Arlington Court, Devon, and a Giant Day out on the Downs with an enormous cream tea are among the events. Sweet-filled Bedfordshire Clangers will be served to hungry kite-flyers. The National Trust has the details.

"Few national cuisines have endured as much abuse as Britain's. Vilified as unimaginative and heavy, it has traditionally been recognized for only two achievements: the English breakfast and Christmas dinner."

In British Food: An Extraordinary Thousand Years of History, Colin Spencer explains that "before the Romans brought their civilization to the islands, Celtic agriculture and animal husbandry produced a wide range of foodstuffs. Anglo-Saxon England knew how to stew meats with savory herbs before that practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest introduced exotic spices. Medieval England even saw the invention of fast food, in the cookshops that lined the Thames, catering to boatmen and travelers". Today "globalization and affluence have transformed London into one of the world's gastronomic capitals". (From the Booklist review.)

The farmers markets and festivals, local cheese shops and country restaurants around Britain make me think that people are returning to their roots.

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