A British Roast Dinner – traditional and tasty!

Mmmmm... Roast Pork Shoulder with Crackling

I have done a lot of soul-searching, and by soul-searching I mean reading of cookbooks, blogs, food reviews, and non-fiction food books, to discover my own feelings about British cuisine now, over the ages, and overall how its gotten its – more often than not – bad rap. A few years ago I was preparing to move to England, and as you can guess, I collected more snarky remarks from my American counterparts than I could count. But where, I asked, did they get their opinions? Had they visited there? – No. Had they eaten anything British? – No (or if yes it was always fish and chips, bangers and mash, etc.). How did they know this was true?

As I boarded the plane to the year that changed my life and mind about food, reputations, and my underlying passion to get to know people, places, and cultures through their nosh, I thought to myself… ” London is a world-renowned city, with Michelin restaurants… and behold my foodie crush Jamie Oliver grew up and cooks here, it cannot be what people say!  I am going to find the best British food, and come back here singing its praise!”

Those were my last fighting words. My year abroad brought me more than enough knowledge and love for food, and not just with my quest for discovering the greats of the Brits specialties (which there are many beyond “pie and mash” people!) but that food wasn’t just about eating. It was about spending time with people, discovering things together, enjoying the moment, and enjoying food to its fullest. Here I go… getting a little sappy. I can’t help myself… back to the topic at hand.

I ventured to ethnic restaurants, old pie n’ mash shops of the East End, Mediterranean, Gastropubs (don’t knock until you know their purpose – which was to bring good food and atmosphere back to English food in its dark ages!), real unique old man pubs, and the motherload of it all – Borough Market. I discovered the roots of the unfortunate fate of British’s food’s recent reputation (between the 40’s and the 80’s people still ate like war times and focused on quantity and price, not quality… hmmmm this sounds vaguely familiar me… anyway) When culinarians realized what had happened to their country, they began to work to change it!

So what does this all mean? It means I fell in love with a culture, a history, a cause, and a new passion overall: food.

Chunky Mashed Carrots, Swede, and Parsnip

Now. Where does that roast come in you ask? Lots of people have that Sunday roast. Well. Its British, and has been for ages. Lucky for those folks, if they could get their hands on meat, it kept up its legacy throughout the ages. Of course quality varies based on the quality of the meat, veg, and its preparer (wink), but its a lovely thing to do with company, or on a lazy Sunday. I encourage you to bring back this tradition for yourself, and see ow much you too can love food 🙂

Next up… the recipe for our “pudding!” – Rhubarb Sponge

Rhubarb Sponge!


About Heather K

Community Manager by day - Aspiring Food Writer by night. I'm a dreamer, traveler, baker, cook, slow food advocate, runner, road biker, hiker, walker, urbanista, photographer, ceramicist, reader, sunset admirer, experimental, city kid, well-rounded, independent, and lover of all things English (esp. my Brit). Food. It connects everyone. It creates cultures, experiences, emotions, and environments. I grew up with a sibling, so I like to do sharesies - yes at dinner but online too. Plan - I share my passion for food with you, you share yours with me. We can have a proper chat :) Its the one thing I will never tire to chat (or learn!) about. Oh, and it would be superb to figure out my writing style and voice while I'm at it. Learn a little about myself here. Discuss experiences, trials, tribulations, and the journey. You know the schpeal. Go ahead. Take a bite.
This entry was posted in London, Thoughts - Memories - Pish Posh and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A British Roast Dinner – traditional and tasty!

  1. Sharona says:

    I can’t wait to get the recipe for that rhubarb sponge! This meal you prepared looks AMAZING!

  2. Robert says:

    Wow – I strolled into Borough Market with a pound coin in my pocket not so long ago. I thought I might buy a wholesome loaf of bread to nibble at on the train ride home. I should have taken my cheque book. £1 would barely have bought me half a slice!

    So I went to the fish stall and saw some cods’ heads. Great – they must be giving them away. But they wanted £4! For a fish head!

    Mamma mia. Did you buy anything there?

    • Heather K says:

      Hello Robert!

      I think you made my week replying to my post 🙂 Thanks so much for your thoughts. I agree, Borough Market can be an expensive place, but it will forever be my favorite place in London. Last time I was there 2 weeks ago we got so many lovely goodies! Roast Pork Sarnies, Ostrich and Wild Boar sausages, African curry, Stichelton, and the quintessential Flour Power Brownie. MMM…

      Also took a trip to the Market Porter, have you ever been?

      Heather Kuta

  3. Robert says:

    Hello, Heather!

    Great to hear back from you.

    I haven’t been to the Market Porter unfortunately. Sounds like a proper pub, though. I’ll see if I can put it on my list of places to visit…

    It’s funny that there’s such a growing interest in good food in a country with such a seemingly bad culinary reputation.

    The French or the Italians have never had such a problem. It’s funny to hear my Italian friends asking each other what they’re having for lunch. It’s like Brits talking about the weather!

    I think it means we’re making progress. I’m still wary of people jumping on the bandwagon and charging several pounds for a loaf of bread, though!

    Keep up the good work,


  4. Monet says:

    Hi love,
    Your blog is a delight…I’m so glad I found you! I have yet to visit London (sad, I know) but I am excited to try some of the wonderful cuisine that culture offers. It’s silly how some people have given it such a bad rap….everyone I know that has been there, has loved the food. I will be following your blog from here on out!

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