Let’s talk about national cuisine of an English-speaking country
I’d like to tell some words about British food. Traditionally English people have three meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is served in the morning. It used to be a large meal with cereal, eggs and bacon, sausages, tomatoes. But such a large breakfast takes a long time to prepare and is not very healthy. Nowadays,Britain’s most popular breakfast consists of cereal, toast with marmalade, juice and yogurt with a cup of tea or coffee. Lunch is a light meal. Most people have no time to go back home for lunch so they eat at school, cafes, pubs or restaurants. The main meal is dinner, which is usually between 6 and7 p.m.A typical evening meal is a meat dish with vegetables and dessert. The most important meal of the week is the Sunday dinner, which is usually eaten at1 p.m.The traditional Sunday dish used to be roast beef, but nowadays pork, chicken or lamb are more common. On Sunday evenings people have supper or high tea. The famous British afternoon tea is becoming rare, except at weekends.
Some people criticize English food. They say it’s unimaginable, boring, tasteless, it’s chips with everything and totally overcooked vegetables. If you ask foreigners to name some typically English dishes, they will probably say “Fish and chips” then stop. It is disappointing, but true that, there is no tradition inEnglandof eating in restaurants, because the food doesn’t lend itself to such preparation. English cooking is found at home. So it is difficult to find a good English restaurant with reasonable prices. In most cities inBritainyou’ll find Indian, Chinese, French and Italian restaurants. InLondonyou’ll also find Indonesian, Mexican, Greek… Cynics will say that this is because English have no “cuisine” themselves, but this is not quite the true.
1. What do you know about a very English custom of having tea?
Everyone knows that tea is the most popular drink inBritain. It’s even more popular than coffee, which is favoured throughoutEuropeandAmerica.
Nowadays, throughout the homes, tea shops and hotels ofBritain, the custom of tea-time continues. Tea inBritainis brewed in a teapot. Then the one spoonful of tea per person and one for the pot is added. Most people inBritainprefer a rich, strong cup of tea with milk and sugar is sometimes added to taste.
The whole art of tea-taking is a very elegant and a very English thing to do.
The Ritz hotel is one of the most famous hotels inLondon. The Ritz is especially well known for its wonderful teas but taking tea at the Ritz is not an everyday event – it’s usually reserved for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. And it’s not just a cup of tea either – it’s almost like having a 3 course meal.
There are finger sandwiches – these are small sandwiches filled with a variety of different things. Finger sandwiches have been a part of the traditional English afternoon tea for a long time. In the middle of the tier there are scones which are small round cakes which are often eaten with jam and cream which is known as a cream tea. And finally, at the top of the tier there are various cakes and sweet pastries.
But it’s not so easy to make a proper cup of English tea. The most “crucial” thing about tea making is to make sure that the water is “piping” hot – it is very hot and has just boiled. Then after pouring the water onto the tea leaves you let the leaves “stew” or absorb the water to make the tea. If you hear someone talking about “stewed tea” they are describing tea that has been left too long in the tea pot before being poured and tastes strong and bitter.
Well at the Ritz the etiquette – or the accepted way – is to add the milk afterwards so that the guest can decide how strong or weak they would like their tea.
The Ritz is so famous in fact that its name now appears in the dictionary as an adjective. If something is described as “ritzy” it is expensive and fashionable.
2. Scientists say that fast food is unhealthy but teenagers can’t stop eating it. What do you think about it?
Obviously, a diet of junk food is not the best thing for your health. In today’s fast moving world, people have less and less time to spend eating, let alone cooking. It’s probably for this reason that junk food has become so popular. Teenagers should know that people who prefer burgers and chips, crisps and hot dogs tend to become overweight. Besides, fast food is high in saturated fat. This type of fat is associated with a greater risk of cancer. Nevertheless, healthy eating habits do not mean giving up all your favourite food; it is all about choosing food wisely and preparing meals in a healthier way. The best advice for those who cannot live without hamburgers and chocolate bars, is to limit the amount of junk food they eat. A little now and then will probably do no harm.
3. What questions can you ask a British friend about their eating habits?
- How many meals a day do you have?
- Have you got lunch at school?
- What is your favourite dish?
4. Can you give a recipe of any traditional British dish?
Classic Yorkshire pudding
This dish is not usually eaten as a dessert like other puddings but instead as part of the main course or at a starter.
Yorkshire pudding, made from flour, eggs and milk, is a sort of batter baked in the oven and usually moistened with gravy.
The traditional way to eat a Yorkshire pudding is to have a large, flat one filled with gravy and vegetables as a starter of the meal. Then when the meal is over, any unused puddings should be served with jam or ice-cream as a dessert.
225 g plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
600 ml milk
55 g dripping
Place the flour and a little salt and freshly ground black pepper into a bowl. Add the eggs, mixing in with a whisk, then gradually pour in the milk, mixing slowly to prevent lumps forming.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to220C.
Put a little of the dripping in four non-stick Yorkshire pudding tins. Place the tins in the oven until smoking hot.
Remove from the oven and quickly fill the moulds with the batter. Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.
Turn the oven down to190Cand cook for a further 10 minutes to set the bottom of the puddings.
Remove from the oven and serve.
5. Scientists say that many people in America suffer from obesity? What may be the reason for this problem?
The Americans eat a lot. Most of the Americans don’t eat at home but prefer to go to restaurants. They can choose from many kinds of restaurants. There are a lot of ethnic restaurants in theUnited States: Italian, Chinese and Mexican food. But the most popular is the fast food restaurant. It is very convenient but not very healthy.
Recent research has shown that people who prefer burgers and chips to healthy dishes, tend to become overweight and may even suffer from obesity. Besides, almost all of the Americans have got cars. So they are deprived of the opportunity to walk to their work or other destinations.