It’s our other national food…

Growing up as a teenager in Scotland and influenced by both TV, cinema and bill board advertising I strongly remember adverts for Irn Bru stating ‘it’s your other national drink’…that first drink in question being Scotch Whisky.

The two drinks actually have a similar (ish) colour but not much else in common other than being produced in Scotland. One of the other advertising straplines for Irn Bru was ‘made from girders’.

They actually went on from that to have some clever and sometimes risque advertising…a quick Google search will enlighten and amuse you.

For those of you from outside the UK as a whole (as Irn Bru can be purchased in England and Wales and many other places worldwide where there is Scottish ex pat demand for it), it’s a very sugary soft drink that does have some iron content (albeit a tiny percentage) hence it’s name.

It was a bit of a dentist’s nightmare although sugar free versions now exist and the original has now had sugar content reduced to comply with UK sugar tax regulations.

However the title of this blog is about food not drink but there is a similar conumdrum. I was asked last week by an overseas colleague…what is the traditional British food eaten most often? The natural reaction to this question is Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding.

Yorkshire pudding for those not in the know is not a dessert but a savoury dish served alongside beef.

Indeed for so long was this the stereotypical meal was that French people sometimes refer to English as ‘Le rosbifs’. But things have moved on…the traditional Sunday lunch of a roast has changed.

As a child I remember this almost religious event of sunday roast. Mother and Father cooking, Father carving..that had a rotating timetable..one week beef, then lamb, then pork, then chicken…and start again.

Interrupted really only by events such as Christmas when we had Turkey. Easter Sunday was always lamb…even if not a scheduled lamb Sunday! Things have changed…the cost of meat joints, the whole concept of family Sunday lunch and a host of other factors now mean these meals in many families are exceptional events, rather than normal certainly when at home. So what is traditional or commonplace food now…ignoring junk or fast food (that is probably top of league table for volume) in terms of popularity for a shared meal both at home and in restaurants one has to say curry..and probably even more specifically chicken tikka masala.

The widespread availability of ‘Indian’ food as take away from restaurants, ready meals in supermarkets and of course being actualy cooked from scratch at home combined with the huge number of ‘Indian’ restaurants means this is definitely our No. 1 food. I put ‘Indian’ in parenthesis as actually many of these restaurants and take aways are actually Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Nepalese or Sri Lanken. But the phrase shall we eat Indian food has stuck…rather than using the term Indian sub content style food!

Will Roast beef decline into oblivion…no, but certainly our choice of food get a ever wider and reflects the multi cultural world we live in. Ironically restaurants serving ‘roast dinner ‘ are probably now more prevalent on Spain’s Costa del Sol to feed the holidaying and ex pat Brits than on the average UK High Street!

The Three Bears

When it comes to porridge making, the three bears really have the market sown up.

Not for them the concept of one size fits all.

Want a big Daddy size bear portion? …sure we can do that. Want it quite sweet, just as Mama bears likes it?…of course, not a problem. Temperature, naturally we can serve it ‘not too hot, not too cold’. Although it’s never been officially documented, I am told Goldilocks gave them a 5* Trip Advisor rating in her most recent review.

Sadly though, for most of us, stopping off at the cottage in the woods is just not an option for us as we journey through life and have a need for sustinence.

My day job from time to time necessitates me travelling by train and a fate will often dictate me just missing a train and having an hours wait for the next one meaning a late evening arrival home.

Now one hour is questionably not long enough to exit the station, find a restaurant, order food, wait for food, eat food , request bill, wait for bill, pay bill…and then hot foot it back to the station.

Simple answer…fast food? Hmmm..well maybe, but I think I said goodbye to actually enjoying McDonald’s, KFC or even the more upmarket 5 Guys after it becoming an inevitable ‘go to’ for sustenance when in need on just too many occasions.

That’s not to say they don’t serve a purpose..but it’s not for me.

So back to the Three Bears.. how do you find something that’s not to slow to prepare, gets served to your table by friendly and personable staff and you actually can have a potato that doesn’t have to be of the chipped variety?

Well somewhat late in my life I discovered Nandos. I appreciate people from across the globe read this blog and Nandos are big…but not global. For those who haven’t experienced it, in summary they are South African-Portuguese themed Peri Peri chicken restaurants.

Fast food style, but table service and restaurant ambience. They can be found in UK, North America, Middle East , India and South Africa. Ok perhaps not for everybody but if you were like me and had assumed they were ‘not for you ‘…you may be pleasantly surprised! And if you do want chips..they do them too,as well as mash and a host of other choices!

And for the avoidance of doubt I have no commercial or affiliation with them…I just thought it worth sharing this…

Enjoying my blog?…yes the subjects are varied and esoteric ..but so is life! Happy saturday