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United Kingdom Cuisine

British cuisine is the specific set of cooking traditions and practices associated with the United Kingdom. Historically, British cuisine has meant "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 influences of the colonial era and post-war immigration, producing hybrid dishes, such as the Anglo-Indian Chicken tikka masala, hailed as "Britain's true national dish".

Occasionally vilified as "unimaginative and heavy", British cuisine has been judged by the full breakfast, fish and chips and the Sunday roast.

However, Celtic 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 before the practice became common in Europe. The Norman conquest reintroduced exotic spices and continental influences back into Catholic Great Britain in the Middle Ages as maritime Britain became a major player in the transcontinental spice trade for many centuries. However, the historic religious Puritan heritage of the 16th and 17th centuries can be sensed most keenly in its preference for 'plain and robust' food, a taste which it still shares with neighbouring north European countries and traditional North American Cuisine.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, as the Asian British Empire began to be influenced by India's elaborate food tradition of "strong, penetrating spices and herbs", the United Kingdom developed a worldwide reputuation 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's in the twentieth century.

Typical British dishes have for several centuries been based around a nutritious template – commonly known as "meat and two veg" – which normally consists of simply roasted, grilled or boiled meat (most commonly beef, pork or lamb) a green vegetable (steamed or boiled) and a root vegetable (usually a form of boiled potatoes, carrots or turnip). British cuisine can be separated into national and regional variants, e.g. English, Scottish and Welsh cuisine or Yorkshire cuisine and Cornish cuisine, each of which have developed their own regional or local dishes, many of which are geographically indicated foods such as Cheshire cheese, the Yorkshire pudding, Arbroath Smokie, the Cornish Pasty and Welsh rarebit.

Modern British (or New British) cuisine is a style of British cooking which emerged in the late 1970s, and has become increasingly popular. It uses high-quality local ingredients, preparing them in ways which combine traditional British recipes with modern innovations, and has an affinity with the Slow Food movement.

It is not generally a nostalgic movement, although there are some efforts to re-introduce pre-20th-century recipes. Ingredients not native to the islands, particularly herbs and spices, are frequently added to traditional dishes (echoing the highly spiced nature of much British food in the medieval era).

Much Modern British cooking also draws heavily on influences from the cuisines of the Mediterranean and, more recently, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. The influence of northern and central European cuisines is significant but fading.

The Modern British style of cooking emerged as a response to the perceived decline in quality of British food following the Second World War, and the resulting popularity of foreign cuisine, particularly that introduced by immigrants in the decades that followed. Recent Modern British cuisine has been very much influenced and popularised by celebrity chefs such as Fanny Cradock, Delia Smith, Gordon Ramsay, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, along side the Food Programme, made by BBC Radio 4.





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