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20. Food & drinks  

Britain and good food are mostly not associated  why? Not a strange taste but very little taste, it is all too bland Another possibility: visitors do not get to sample home cooking  involves a lot of roasting  should also be eaten hot  that is not possible if you try to serve large numbers of people in big restaurants, etc.

Eating habits and attitudes  

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Explanations = partial excuse unfortunate British cuisine  even in fast food restaurants & everyday cafés the quality seems to be lower than in equivalent places in other countries Life & habits are not orientated to food very much  they have to be quick and just don’t care very much  when they go to a café they go for relaxation, conversation  they don’t expect much  even at home food & drinks are given little attention They drink a lot of instant coffee  less trouble Parties are not centred around the food Meals are eaten & cleared quickly When they pay attention to food it’s because they think about health, not to enjoy it  a lot of vegetarians in the UK  a lot of people are aware of food from the point of health There came awareness for healthier food in schools bc of Jamie Oliver  but habits are not easily broken  when a school stopped students from going out during lunchtime parents handed them fast food through the gates Poor standards, low expectations, lack of interest = historical  until 1950 the ruling classes in Britain had been educated at boarding school where they got very plain food  encourage to be hard & pure  enthusiasm for food = decadent  British people have been urban & had little contact with ‘the land’  they often don’t know where their food comes from This conservatism was bad in the 60s  when they visited other countries they wanted their food the exact same way as in Britain, they were suspicious of exotic items  now these are seen as normal  there is increasing interest in non-British foods They are also showing increasing interest in the enjoyment aspect of food  a lot of cookery programmes  attitudes have changed but the quality of food is still poor bc there hasn’t been enough time to change habits & expectations

The Fat Duck 

People say horrible things about British food but 14 British restaurants were in the world’s top 50  The Fat Duck = number 1 introduced a lot of famous delicacies to the world


The restaurants were all very expensive ones so don’t have anything to do with everyday life

Going for an Indian  

Can taste bland bc they do not use a lot of spices  reason why Indian restaurants are so popular? To go for an Indian (after drinking)= a cliché  macho men take the spiciest thing on the menu

What British people eat      

A ‘fry up’ = several items fried together (eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, bread)  they eat a lot of fried food Bread = most commonly eaten with butter & almost anything else  a lot of toasting = important Eggs = basic part of most people’s diets (fried, boiled) Cold meats are not popular, can’t find them  they do have a great variety of cheese Common to finish meal with a prepared sweet dish (pudding, dessert = hot or candy) They love crisps = chips

When people eat what: meals      

Breakfast = cereal (cornflakes) & toast & marmalade  do not eat traditional British breakfast Elevenses = cup of tea & biscuits at 11 a.m.  they have it whenever they feel like it = quite often Lunch = at 1 p.m., Sunday lunch = important bc family sits down together (only 10% does this anymore) Tea = the evening meal for the urban working class, eaten as soon as people get home from work (6p.m.)  other classes = cup of tea & snack around 4 p.m. Supper = word for evening meal for people who do not call it tea Dinner = another word for evening meal, suggests a later time than tea  also used when having a special meal (family, friends)

The modern story of drinking tea in Britain     

First appearance 350y ago  by the end of the 17th century = well established During 18th century there were tax rises on tea imports 19th century = polite society’s ritual of afternoon tea was born 20th century = regained supreme  standard (black) tea, served strong wh milk = aspect of most households  it is in decline bc of fizzy soft drinks, bottled water & green/herbal teas Coffee has been on the rise  coffee sales have been larger than those of standard tea BUT tea still accounts for 1/3 of all liquid refreshment


Eating out  

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Going to a restaurant was rare, regular eating out was for rich people  now a large number of people do it Many of the dishes have non-English names  insecurity  puddings are in English bc it is the one course they have always been confident about  also bc there are few restaurants that serve British food  also history: bc they did it so rarely they wanted sth different when they went out to eat There is an enormous amount of Indian, Italian, Chinese restaurants, Thai restaurants have become more popular and also kebab outlets you can find everywhere Apart from pubs only 3 types of really British eating places exist: (1) workman’s café = mostly fried food, used by manual workers but now also anyone who wants a filling meal  many of them = transports café = sides if main roads (2) fish & chips shop = fried fish, esp takeaway (3) tea rooms = cater for a different clientele, serve scones & other light snacks Fast food outlets = more common in Britain  bc of no taste? Maybe bc they think restaurants still have some kind of social pretension & they feel uncomfortable?

Alcohol 

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Attitude to drinking = ambivalent (mixed)  on the one hand: accepted & deeply-rooted part of national culture, there is no shame attached (unless fighting)  on the other hand: puritan tradition led to assumption that it is dangerous 7 should be restricted Giving alcohol to children is not done  worry a lot about the amounts of alcohol drunk by teenagers even though in pubs you can’t get alcohol under 18 = major social problem There used to be strict laws on opening hours pubs, now not anymore & a lot of shops sell alcohol  lessening negative attitude to alcohol BUT increasing concerns about impact on health & safety Alcohol, esp beer, remains important  booze cruise = cross the sea to get cheaper alcohol in Belgium/France  many people do this a lot They wanted to soften the laws bc binge drinking is a big problem & happens bc they have to drink too fast (too little time)

What people drink      

Large amounts of hot drinks (tea, hot chocolate, coffee) Squash (sweetened fruit concentrate, mix wh water) Brand-name soft drinks Tap water Before 60s only higher class drank wine  now increased in popularity Beer = most popular drink  bitter & mild = not much alcohol so drink a lot


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Stronger beer = lager  became popular in 80’s & bc people were not used to such strong beers they became aggressive = lager louts Cider is also very popular Shandy = half beer half fizzy lemonade = quenching thirst

Pubs    

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= unique bc different in character from bars/cafés in other countries & different from any other public place in Britain Without them = less sociable country  only indoor place where you can comfortably meet others & have a chat  in other places you’re expected to eat, drink, get out Local pubs play important role in neighbourhood  for the drinking of beer & spirits Have become a bit less distinctive  almost served nothing else but beer & spirits & bar snacks  now you can get hot food, wine, coffee  helped widen appeal Still have a special character  no waiter service (discomforting) = home from home aspect (get up & walk around) People who work there are expected to know the regulars & their drinks & chat Also pub games (darts) and a TV They have an appeal to the idea of tradition = each has its own name, proclaimed on a sign hanging outside, always with old fashioned associations Person who runs pub = landlord even though it is owned by major companies  refers to time when people owned their bars as ‘inns’

the meaning of the word ‘bar’ in English    

Area hotel/public place where alcoholic drinks are sold/drunk Counter in a pub where you go to get your drinks Place in centre town/city similar to pub in purpose but serve greater choice & modern Different rooms in a pub (outdated) = public bar, saloon bar, private bar

The pub  

Looks old = part of appeal to tradition The windows are small bc it gives a homely feeling & people didn’t want to be watched drinking

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