Well hello there. Welcome to my brand-spanking new weblog British Food: A History.
From my love of cooking and interest in history, I thought it best I should start this blog on all things British and culinary. This interest has not come from nowhere, I have another blog called Neil Cooks Grigson which tackles all the classic as well as many of the weird and forgotten English dishes throughout the last 700 years or so. The idea behind that blog was to cook all the recipes in Jane Grigson’s English Food, a truly excellent piece of writing.
So what does this new blog have to offer if I am already sort-of doing it on another?
Well, the answer is that the other blog will have glaring omissions because the book does. So I always originally intended to produce an English Food V2.0. However, the more I researched for posts, the more I got interested in old recipe books and the history surrounding them and found that, although a great deal of fun the other blog is, I wanted to cast my net even further with this one.
I want to add the recipes Jane Grigson didn’t use, I want to add the best of the ones I have cooked from the book, more importantly I want to look more at Wales and Scotland. Not just that, but to extend the map to the other countries that have had links with my own – for better, or for worse – like Ireland, France, India and the countless other countries too that have moulded our people, culture and food throughout history. I also want to go back in time to Britain before the Middle Ages too. What influence did the Roman occupation have, for example? What about further back to prehistory? How did farming come about in Britain and what did the foraging people eat before farming on any scale even occurred?
So, the blog will be a mix of recipes, findings and short essays on our amazingly rich, frequently odd and overwhelmingly dynamic the Britons have been – and still are – with their food.
Most intriguing of all though, is to find a recipe and cook it and really experience how people lived; reading about is of course wonderful fuel for the imagination and it allows us to understand our past, and therefore our present and future. As is watching film documentaries. But these all fail in that the experiences are all second-hand. For example, eating something that a king from the Middle Ages ate on his coronation, in my opinion, the closest you can get to climbing inside a time machine and transporting yourself there.
So, there you go, that’s the idea behind it all. Let’s just see if I can pull it off…