Before my trip to England, people warned me about the food. The frequently repeated refrain was, “I had a wonderful time in England, but the food was AWFUL!” They would then elaborate with stories of tough meat, mushy vegetables, and general blandness.
When I got home from England, everyone asked me, “How was the food?” A few without apparent expectations, but most with a raised eyebrow and a wry tone of voice.
I’ve heard the stereotypes, and I’ve also seen recent travel shows that describe a food renaissance in England in the last decade or so.
My experience of British food was uniformly positive. From start to finish, I was impressed by the emphasis on fresh local ingredients. Different artisan cheeses and meats were featured in each location, and a lot of care was evident in both the cooking and presentation. The menus, even in the smallest village pub, used terms like local, farm assured, free range–and vegetarian options were well represented and clearly marked.
After walking through pastures dotted with placid grazing sheep and cows all day, I had no qualms about the ethics of eating the local meat.
And I was blown away by the layered and nuanced flavors. Savory, rich, tangy, bright… all of the senses were engaged, and everything was perfectly balanced and plate-lickingly good. I tried to taste the local specialty everywhere, and I was never disappointed.
So I thought I’d share a few more of the many spectacular meals we had in that green and pleasant land, before I wrap up the posts on England and get back to the equally pleasant but more quotidian business of Seattle food.