Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Les Rosbifs

I've had a pipe dream for years of opening an English restaurant somewhere showcasing the best (in my opinion) of English cooking. This raises a question which often causes swarms of bees in my bonnet as to what actually IS English food? Historically and internationally English food has a bad reputation, largely fuelled by ignorance on the whole I think. Although in my travels I've never seen the equivalent of a greasy spoon café, the perception that all English food is fried to death or swimming in grease is misguided. I came across an American article recently which was the most xenophobic and ill informed diatribe I've ever read, with the author justifying it on the grounds that it was all sourced from the Internet. And of course the French slang for the English is 'les Rosbifs'. There was a blog I came across last week extolling English food to celebrate St George's Day. It was largely scones, or biscuits in the shape of a rose, not 'a mon avis', English food. A problem is that the Uk has been invaded so many times, and has also become such a melting pot of cultures through migration, that its very hard to identify what English food is, forgetting the Spotted Dick and Fish and chips. So let me ask, if a dish is made with English produce, then given a French name, is it English cooking? Herefordshire Guinea Fowl with wet garlic from the local farm shop, and chard from the gardens of a National Trust property served on homemade sourdough bread with a glass of dry Aspall's cider. Good solid English fare. Call it 'Pintade á l'ail' though, does that stop it being English cooking? - Does that mean that only food cooked using English produce in England, is English? Or conversely, does that mean that all food cooked using English produce in England, is English?