If British food has come in for a bit of mockery over the years, it isn’t because the recipes are wrong, it’s because they’re misunderstood.

Eating British food is not just eating: it is a surrealist expedition into a magical parallel universe that will challenge almost everything your eyes, your palate and your gut know to be right and proper.

These are some of the classic British dishes:

Fish fingers, chips and beans

This means, fish sticks, oven-cooked french fries and canned beans in tomato sauce.

The Full English

A proper British fry-up requires more than a plate: it requires a vast platter capable of accommodating not just predictable eggs and banal bacon but their exotic cousins: kidneys, fried bread, a sausage made entirely of blood (see black pudding, below) and a concoction of leftover potatoes and vegetables that we inexplicably call “bubble and squeak.”

Yorkshire pudding

It is comprised entirely of eggs, flour, milk and fat.

Black pudding

Despite the name, there’s no mistaking this one for a dessert. It’s a sausage made out of blood. Congealed blood. And oats.

Toad in the hole

Exactly the same as the above recipe but with sausages and therefore 3.7 times tastier.

Spotted dick

From the loins of a sheep to the school dinner table. Spotted dick is a dense and delicious combination of sugar, flour, currants and the raw, shredded fat found around the loins and kidneys of a sheep. And if that’s not sophisticated enough, it is traditionally drenched in the national beverage: custard.

Pie and mash

A glorious way, no, the only way, to consume as many carbs as possible in one meal. Pastry on the bottom, a different type of pastry on the top, unidentifiable flesh in the middle, and a tsunami of mashed potato.

Shepherd’s pie

Not a pie but a gigantic swamp of brown meat and gravy hidden beneath a thick blanket of mashed potato. Excessive consumption of this dish risks triggering a neurological condition known as “mash psychosis.”


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