St George’s day is fast approaching. I’m a chef in a beautiful 18th century Inn deep in the Sussex countryside and I’m trying to plan a typically English menu to celebrate our Patron Saints’ day.
What are my options? Roast beef and Yorkies, Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, Fish and Chips all washed down with a pint of mild. There-in lies the problem with English food.
It just doesn’t sound sexy!
France has ‘Soupe a la Tete de Pork’ for instance. OK, so it’s pigs head soup, but it sounds wonderful in French!
How about ‘Balles de Niege’? Well perhaps not, but I’d die for ‘La Jeune Dinde ‘ivre d’Armagnac’ - young turkey tipsy on Armagnac. And of course, a bottle of St Emillion to help it on it’s way.
Italy! ‘Polpettone alla Toscana’ and ’Spaghettini alla Carriettiera’! ‘Petto di Vitello Arrotolato’ and a glass or three of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
Actually, there really are some pretty good dishes in the English repertoire if you really look for them. Rumbledethumps, Fidget Pie and Wet Nellie. Sussex Pond pudding, Tiddie Oggies and Fartes.(seriously!)
But they simply don’t get the juices flowing do they?
Trouble is, most of the food eaten in English restaurants today isn’t native. Our most popular dish is Chicken Tikka Masalla, a concoction loosely based on Indian food and devoured daily by millions. The next fave is good ‘ole Spag Boll! If you’re not eating any of those you’ve probably been to the local Chinese takeaway for Chicken Chow Mein.
See what I mean?
No matter how high I fly the flag for my country's grub, it just ‘aint going to make a mark on the international ‘Carte d’Cuisine’!