Saturday, March 03, 2007

Is English Food a Joke?

FISH & QUIPS! Update: read the amazing entries for Fish & Quips here!fish and quips st georges day english food is not a joke even animated gif 2007 copyright of sam breach Help me prove that English food is not (always) a joke by getting involved in this fun St George's Day event called "Fish & Quips" in which everyone who enters gets the chance to host the roundup, too, if they would like. That's it folks, no more waiting impatiently for the event host to highlight your hard work. This way, if everyone pulls together we'll each have our delicious posts splattered all over the foodblogosphere on April 23rd - England's neglected national day, St George's Day.

Why do so many people laugh when you mention English food? You would think it was some kind of joke, right? But aside from French President Chirac's comment that "the British could not be trusted and worse food was only found in Finland", you'd be hard pressed to find an actual joke about English food if you do a search on google.

The English themselves, even those whose reputation in the culinary world is assured, can sometimes display a lack confidence in English cuisine:
Much these days is made of British food culture. Chefs and food writers, myself included, are keen to tell you that it's thriving, it should be celebrated, it's as good as anything our Continental cousins enjoy. Yet sometimes it seems as if our words come rolling back to us, as if bouncing some distant land mass, unheard and unheeding along the way, so that we begin to have trouble persuading ourselves, let alone others, that there is something here worth fighting for." Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from The Taste of Britain
Sure, there are some memories of English food I'd rather forget like overcooked vegetables and school dinners, but there is also so much that can be celebrated. English breakfasts, wonderful puddings, afternoon teas and so much more. Your challenge if you should rise, like a cottage loaf to it, is to help me prove that English Food does not have to be a joke. You can do this however you like. Visit England, eat some great food and write about it, follow a recipe from your favourite English Chef, cook a classic English meal or dish, create your own recipe based on English foods, highlight your favourite edible English product (Marmite, of course?), do any of these things or anything else and then write a post about it on your blog anytime between now and Friday 20th April 2007. (I'm giving you plenty of time to prepare.)

How to Enter
Email me at fish[DOT]quips[AT] and let me know you intend to enter Fish & Quips and that you commit to a posting, before Friday April 20th, declaring that English food is not a joke. [If you have a gmail account it may prove easier to use it for this because the shared spreadsheets are google-based.] Please request database access by midnight PST on Thursday April 19th at the latest. I will be away from my computer for most of the 20/21st April and wont be able to sort out any stragglers until Aprill 22nd at the earliest.
When I receive your email I will give you access to an online shared database where you will be required to leave the following information:
- Your name (or at least the handle which you wish to go by)
- Your location (as vague or as detailed as you feel comfortable with)
- Your Blog URL
- A quick answer, in less than 15 words to the question:
- "English Food is Not a Joke Because..."
- (by Friday 20th April, at the very latest) edit the database to include the permalink to the "Fish & Quips" post you have created. (By doing this you agree that other bloggers will be able to use this information to create round-up posts and you should also agree that they could include photographs from your post in their roundups should they so wish).
- You will not be asked to put private information such as email addresses on this database. Only share as much as you feel comfortable with.
- Please be sure to include a link to this announcement post in your post, so that your readers understand the background of the event and will also know how to take part if they are interested.

How to Host a round up
- This part of the event is optional, but I thought it would be a great idea to give bloggers, especially those who have never hosted an event before, the experience of what it is like to do so.
- On Saturday April 21st I will publish the database (as it stands at that moment in time) and make it available to anyone who wants to try their hand at hosting, by putting a link to it on my blog. I will be very busy on that particular Saturday, with little internet access, so I won't be able to field any questions until Sunday at the earliest. Hopefully there won't be any questions, since bloggers are a smart intelligent bunch who can work things out for themselves.
-Anyone who wants to host a round up may then look up the information and publish a roundup on their blog on St George's Day, April 23rd. Note: you do not have to have created a post to take part in the rounding up. Anyone who wants to spread the word is welcome - the more roundups, the merrier. My own round up of all the entries will be published on St George's day.

Publicising the event on your own Blog
You are more than welcome to publicize this event on your own blog and use the name "Fish & Quips". You also have my permission to use the animated gif above as long as in doing so you make a link back to this post.

I am dashing to the market right now, but later I will I have also prepared some other logos, smaller ones, non animated ones, etc, that you could use for this event. See below.

Credits: Huge thanks go out to Andrew from Spittoon and Kevin from Seriously Good for providing me with wonderful Fish and Chip photos to wrap on my exploding cracker animation.

Fish & Quip Logos
You are welcome to use any of the following logos, as long as you include a link back to this post or this blog as way of a credit:

© 2007 Sam Breach at "Becks & Posh", This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact[AT]gmail[DOT]com to report any suspected violations. Thank you.


Is English Food a Joke?


  • At 3/3/07 11:51, Blogger Julia said…

    Hooray for Sam and hooray for English food! As an English food blogger I'm totoally behind you Sam!

  • At 3/3/07 13:32, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, yes! Sam, honey, I'm in. I mean, I'll follow your instructions to the letter and make it official, but I'm committed as of now. I had such a good time with this last year, and I was so hoping you'd be doing it again. :)

  • At 3/3/07 13:49, Blogger Catherine said…

    well, with such a long planning window, I should be able to come up with something good!

  • At 3/3/07 17:24, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Well, I've got English teeth, so I might as well play. Beans on toast?

  • At 3/3/07 18:43, Blogger Delphine said…

    Youpi, great idea!

    I definitely need to update my informations about the history of English cooking during the Renaissance period. I wish I didn't left my library in France.

  • At 3/3/07 20:00, Blogger s'kat said…

    Hrrm, I am not so familiar with English food, but there just happens to be a local brew company by the name of St. George.

    This just begs for some sort of tie-in. It's on my calendar!

  • At 3/3/07 23:03, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

  • At 4/3/07 00:53, Blogger Beccy said…

    Well Sam, I guess I'll give it a go, you've given us plenty of time to prepare something.

  • At 4/3/07 05:49, Blogger David said…

    Last time I was in London I picked up something called Wine Gums at Sainsbury's, with little names imprinted in them like 'port', 'gin' (which isn't wine, I don't think) and 'claret'...which is actually Bordeaux, but I guess the Brit's couldn't fit that real name on there ; )

    So I guess the jokes on me?

  • At 4/3/07 21:52, Blogger A Few Reservations said…

    I agree with you on Yield. I dig that place.

    But to clarify: It's wasn't so much the cheese I couldn't hack---Lord knows I love cheese---it was just the lack of anything else. And their mozzarella serving was so big. I never thought I'd complain about a serving being too large.

    I think you may be on to something about your theory on San Francisco and meat. I also think a big part of it is this: SF is a town of epicureans. And if you want really, really great food, you're likely going to have to eat some meat. I struggle with it all the time. Hence the blog. The good stuff is out there, you just have to try a little harder to find it.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading more on English food. It'll be a good primer for my trip to London in the fall!

  • At 5/3/07 02:03, Blogger AmandaJaney said…

    I really do think this is such a wonderful idea!! Here's to proper English grub!!

  • At 7/3/07 07:12, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So fun! I am so bored with jokes about mint sauce from French people! I am definitely in (and will follow the outlined protocols ;-)! )

  • At 7/3/07 07:23, Blogger Kevin said…

    Just in from Harold McGee:

  • At 8/3/07 13:22, Blogger Dive said…


    I'm sure you're obviously aware of this, but I wonder if there isn't anything you can do to delete the blatantly commercial links that take advantate of your site?

    (Sorry if you've answered this somewhere before.)


  • At 8/3/07 13:34, Blogger Trig said…

    Working on it. Not too sure yet which side of the argument I will come down on!

  • At 9/3/07 09:10, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was hauled out of England in '57 with family but still prefer the foods of my childhood: Watkins pork pie; toast with dripping, pork jelly, and salt and pepper; blancmange; newgrown tiny potatoes with fresh mint; Walls ice cream; egg and bacon pie; soft boiled eggs for tea; Marmite on buttered toast; paste sandwiches; roast chicken with bread sauce; stuffed chine (Dad used to make it); sausage sandwiches with Daddy's sauce; Branston pickle and grated cheese sandwiches; roasted homegrown beetroots and tiny, wonderful homegrown peas; flakes Flake bars on homemade frosted butterfly cup cakes; Victoria sponge; beef stew over mashed Swede; crisps and Nibbits; and blackcurrent fruit pastilles.

  • At 9/3/07 23:45, Blogger Mia said…

    "the British could not be trusted and worse food was only found in Finland"

    ...and boy did we ever not think that was funny.


    Anyway, I like English food, but of course my discernment is suspect. I'm in!

  • At 10/3/07 12:12, Blogger Lisa said…

    This is so great! Recently I've been thinking about the fact that since my father's ancestors were English and my mother was Sicilian, I'm as much English as I am Italian -- yet I'm always making Italian foods and not English. That lead me to toy with the idea of finding out more about English dishes and doing a slew of them on my blog. I hadn't gotten any further than that -- and then I read this post. My big chance to explore the wonderful world of English food!

  • At 10/3/07 13:27, Blogger Sam said…

    Hi everyone - I am so excited about he positive response to this.

    Kevin - I went through and deleted all the spammy links - sorry about that.

    look forward to seeing what everyone will be up to in April


  • At 10/3/07 14:44, Blogger Dianne said…

    Hi Sam

    What a lovely idea! As I live in England, at the moment, not for very much longer though! I'd love to be part of this event!


  • At 12/3/07 19:27, Blogger Pigtown*Design said…

    Just moved back to the US from Wales, a place not known for stellar food, unless you count faggots, chips & mushy peas!

  • At 14/3/07 11:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No, it's not. And Sam, not sure if you caught this a month or so back. But I do try to defend our heritage here:

    Feel free to use the vieo, although it's not funny.

    Look forward to seeing you in Twiglets world

  • At 20/3/07 09:42, Blogger ostwestwind said…

    Although English food can be disappointing and expensive I like it. Here are baked beans on toast "German" style

  • At 29/3/07 13:09, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wut the hell is quips?

    dirty jokes

  • At 29/3/07 13:19, Blogger Sam said…

    a quip is a witty remark, in this contex althought it does have other nuances of meaning too.

  • At 1/4/07 21:13, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm new to English food and am still exploring the every corner of each tradition. And marrying a New Zealander with Scotland and Ireland descendants makes me widen my knowledge in this lifestyle, and yes I do love it. I don't think there's such a joke for traditional food, as it's where the modern coming from, isn't it? I definitely will take part! Will email you soon.

  • At 8/4/07 09:20, Blogger laurie said…

    i'll be--ironically--in england on the day of the deadline. i can't take part in the competition, since i'll be away from home and my computer. but i'll definitely be thinking about english food on that day....

    and will check back later to see how this is going.

    fun blog!

  • At 8/4/07 09:21, Blogger laurie said…

    ps but as long as i'm here....can someone please explain to me the concept of baked beans for breakfast???

  • At 8/4/07 09:54, Blogger Sam said…

    thank you arfi

    laurie - for this event you are encouraged to post any time efore the deadline so you could enter right now!

    as for baked beans for breakfast, beats me, as a baked-bean-disliker I still don't get why people would want to eat them at any time of day at all?

  • At 10/4/07 13:59, Blogger Mallika said…

    Hi Sam - great idea. You know the English had a profound impact on Indian cuisine during the days of the Raj? We have lots of Anglo Indian recipes that have roots in English food. Count me in. I will email you later.

  • At 12/4/07 14:18, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi there, love this idea, when my wife, Nicky Perry, started tea & sympathy 17 years ago in manhattan her motivation was entirely to show everyone here great British cooking.

    17 years later we launched

    We'd love to get all your support, please go to our web site and sign the petition to re-name a block of Manhattan "Little Britain".

    Let me know if we can help here too!



  • At 18/11/07 05:23, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I stumbled accross this and thought it was great, being a Londoner and all!

    Oh, and a passionate foodie :)

    It's simple - anything done badly, is bad. For years, people and places have been doing English food 'badly'. So, there is an image of bizzare combinations, covered in grease, served by people who would be more suited to factory work than cooking food.

    If you do English food properly, it's about as seasonal as food gets. Remember, we are a hardy bunch, used to rain and wind and working the land - so alot of the food we eat still to this day exhibits this fact.

    I have a few good recipes for a Steak and Ale, Steak and Kidney and Fishermans Pie - as well as a host of English puddings and soups and even modern English salads, light bites and stuff that has evolved to be more convential to the tastes and expectations of visitors.

    Just be careful when you come here, if you got to a 'bad' restaurant then you are going to have 'bad' English food but if you get it right then you are in for a treat :)

    Find a country pub, in Winter time - sit by the fire, get a pint of ale and enjoy a good chat and a lovely pie. As an Englishman that gives me goosebumps :)

  • At 13/11/09 05:01, Anonymous London hotels said…

    Well, in my last trip to London i have noticed that Macdonald's serve great English food :) have to get back there!

  • At 28/1/10 03:03, Anonymous Term Papers said…

    Who said that ?


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