I never thought I’d say this, but the next time I go to Great Britain, it may be for the food. Let me explain.
Britain – Go for the History, Not the Food
Before I went to Britain for the first time, I was told I would probably lose weight. Not because of all the walking, but because the food was so terrible. Well, I didn’t find the food terrible, but it was rather bland and didn’t offer much variety. Honestly, how many times can you eat sausage and potatoes without getting sick? I literally lived off of cheese, eggs, scones, and chicken (when I could get it!) Luckily, on my next trip to the UK, I discovered the wonderful and spicy world of curry, which marginally improved my perception of British culinary choices – again, marginally. At this point, I made a mental note – go to Britain for the history/sites and France and Italy for the food.
British Become Kings of the Kitchen
Fast-forward a few years and the British seem to have jumped on the foodie bandwagon, embracing better and tastier food, but also putting more emphasis on food and cooking in general. A new survey confirms that British food has improved immensely in the last few years. In fact, the british have actually surpassed their French neighbors in many ways, spending more time in the kitchen and adding greater variety to the foods they eat and how they prepare them.
The survey was conducted in partnership by the British magazine Olive and the French magazine Madame Figaro, to get both sides of the story, no doubt. As a side note, I wonder if Madame Figaro only participated because they thought they would come out on top. Seriously, what French patriot do you know who would partake in a survey that would have them place 2nd to the British??
In the survey, more than 2,000 French people and nearly 1,350 Britons were asked about their eating and cooking habits. Let’s see how the two cultures match up:
- 50% of British readers say they spend over 30 minutes cooking each night, compared with 27 percent of the French readers
- 72% of the British cook at home daily, compared with 59% of the French
- British regularly cook ethnic food – Italian (72%), Indian (45%), Chinese (31%), and French (26%). The French stick with their heritage but if they do stray, they tend to go Italian (41%) and Moroccan/Spanish (11%)
- 47% of the French prepare two courses or more, versus just 18% for the Brits
- The French drink water and wine with their meals, while Brits consume a variety of drinks, from fruit juice to beer
- 4% of the French revealed they never cook, compared with just 1% of the British
- French and British cooks are just as likely to bake a cake or fillet a fish, but nearly twice as many British people as French make their own bread
Whether this culture shift is due to the popularity of British Chefs Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson or the increasing American culture in France, we may never know. But I do know that on my next trip to Britain, I may just need to bring bigger pants.