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Lesson 9

British Cuisine

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British cuisine has always been multicultural, a pot pourri of eclectic styles. In ancient times influenced by the Romans and in medieval times the French. When the Frankish Normans invaded, they brought with them the spices of the east: cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, pepper, ginger. Sugar came to England at that time, and was considered a spice -- rare and expensive. Before the arrival of cane sugars, honey and fruit juices were the only sweeteners. The few Medieval cookery books that remain record dishes that use every spice in the larder, and chefs across Europe saw their task to be the almost alchemical transformation of raw ingredients into something entirely new (for centuries the English aristocracy ate French food) which they felt distinguished them from the peasants.

During Victorian times good old British stodge mixed with exotic spices from all over the Empire. And today despite being part of Europe we've kept up our links with the countries of the former British Empire, now united under the Commonwealth.

One of the benefits of having an empire is that we did learn quite a bit from the colonies. From East Asia (China) we adopted tea (and exported the habit to India), and from India we adopted curry-style spicing, we even developed a line of spicy sauces including ketchup, mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce and deviled sauce to indulge these tastes. Today it would be fair to say that curry has become a national dish.

Among English cakes and pastries, many are tied to the various religious holidays of the year. Hot Cross Buns are eaten on Good Friday, Plum Pudding for Christmas, and Twelfth Night Cake for Epiphany.

Unfortunately a great deal of damage was done to British cuisine during the two world wars. Britain is an island and supplies of many goods became short. The war effort used up goods and services and so less were left over for private people to consume. Ships importing food stuffs had to travel in convoys and so they could make fewer journeys. During the second world war food rationing began in January 1940 and was lifted only gradually after the war.

The British tradition of stews, pies and breads, according to the taste buds of the rest of the world, went into terminal decline. What was best in England was only that which showed the influence of France, and so English food let itself become a gastronomic joke and the French art of Nouvell Cuisine was adopted.

In the late 1980's, British cuisine started to look for a new direction. Disenchanted with the overblown Nouvelle Cuisine, chefs began to look a little closer to home for inspiration. Calling on a rich (and largely ignored) tradition, and utilizing many diverse and interesting ingredients, the basis was formed for what is now known as modern British food. Game has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity although it always had a central role in the British diet, which reflects both the abundant richness of the forests and streams and an old aristocratic prejudice against butchered meats.

In London especially, one can not only experiment with the best of British, but the best of the world as there are many distinct ethnic cuisines to sample, Chinese, Indian, Italian and Greek restaurants are amongst the most popular.

Although some traditional dishes such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Cornish pasties, steak and kidney pie, bread and butter pudding, or fish and chips, remain popular, there has been a significant shift in eating habits in Britain. Rice and pasta have accounted for the decrease in potato consumption and the consumption of meat has also fallen. Vegetable and salad oils have largely replaced the use of butter.

Roast beef is still the national culinary pride. It is called a "joint," and is served at midday on Sunday with roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, two vegetables, a good strong horseradish, gravy, and mustard.

Today there is more emphasis on fine, fresh ingredients in the better restaurants and markets in the UK offer food items from all over the world. Salmon, exotic fruit, Norwegian prawns and New Zealand lamb are choice items. Wild fowl and game are other specialties on offer.

In fact fish is central to the English diet, we are after all an island surrounded by some of the richest fishing areas of the world. Many species swim in the cold offshore waters: hake, plaice, cod (the most popular choice for fish and chips), turbot, halibut, mullet and John Dory. Oily fishes also abound (mackerel, pilchards, and herring) as do crustaceans like lobster and oysters. Eel, also common, is cooked into a wonderful pie with lemon, parsley, and shallots, all topped with puff pastry.

*Source: www.learnenglish.de
  1. cuisine - кухня
  2. potpourri - сушени цветя и подправки за аромат; разнородна колекция
  3. spice - подправка
  4. cinnamon - канела
  5. saffron - шафран
  6. nutmeg - мускатово/индийско орехче
  7. ginger - джинджифил
  8. cane-sugar - тръстикова захар
  9. dish - ястие
  10. larder - шкаф/килер за храна
  11. chef - главен готвач в хотел, ресторант и пр.
  12. task - работа, задача (особено трудна или неприятна)
  13. raw - суров, необработен
  14. ingredient - съставна част/компонент
  15. to distinguish - отличавам, разграничавам
  16. peasant - селянин
  17. stodge - тежка/засищаща храна
  18. commonwealth - 1. държава, република; The Commonwealth - английската република през времето на Кромуел; 2. обединение на група държави/щати; the (British) Commonwealth (of Nations) - (Британската) общност (на народите); 3. федерация, сдружение, общност
  19. mint - джоджен
  20. to devil - силно подправям
  21. to indulge - задоволявам
  22. pastry - сладкиши, пасти, сладки
  23. bun - кръгла кифла със стафиди и пр.
  24. Good Friday - Велики петък
  25. plum - слива
  26. Epiphany - църк. Богоявление
  27. to ration - поставям под режим на разпределение; разпределям на дажби
  28. to stew - варя, сварявам, задушавам
  29. pie - пай (пай от маслено тесто с различни видове пълнеж), пирог
  30. terminal - пределен, краен
  31. to disenchant - освобождовом от/развалям магия
  32. overblown - прецъфтял; претенциозен
  33. to utilize - използвам, служа си с, употребявам
  34. diverse - разнообразен
  35. resurgence - съживяване, възраждане, активиране
  36. abundant - (из)обилен, богат
  37. butcher's meat - месо (без пилешко, дивеч и колбаси)
  38. distinct - отделен
  39. to sample - дегустирам, опитвам
  40. roast-beef - печено говеждо
  41. steak - 1. дебело парче месо/риба (за пържене, печене на скара); 2. бифтек
  42. kidney - бъбрек; като бъбрек, овален
  43. shift - промяна
  44. pasta - макарони, фиде, спагети; тестени изделия
  45. vegetable oil - растително масло, олио
  46. salad oil - зехтин
  47. horse-radish - хрян
  48. gravy - сок (от печено месо), сое
  49. mustard - горчица
  50. salmon - (pl. без изменение) сьомга
  51. prawn - едра скарида
  52. lamb - агнешко месо
  53. wild fowl - птица, месо от дива птица
  54. game - дивеч
  55. offshore - крайбрежен
  56. hake; plaice; cod - хек; писия; треска (риби)
  57. turbot - калкан
  58. grey mullet - кефал
  59. John Dory - светипетрова риба
  60. to abound - изобилствувам, пълен съм, богат съм
  61. mackerel - скумрия
  62. pilchard - сардела
  63. crustacean - ракообразно
  64. lobster - омар
  65. oyster - стрида
  66. eel - змиорка
  67. parsley - магданоз
  68. shallot - вид дребен лук
 Peasant or Pheasant

Ordering Food in a Restaurant

Waitress: Good evening, are you ready to order, or do you need a little more time?
Tim: Yes, I'm ready to order.
Waitress: Did you notice on our menu that we have two seafood specials tonight. One is poached salmon and the other is grilled shark.
Tim: That sounds really good, but I think I am going to start with the shrimp cocktail appetizer. And as for my entree, I think I'll have the New York steak.
Waitress: And, how would you like that steak?
Tim: I'd like that well-done. I don't like it when the meat is even a little pink.
Waitress: I'll make sure the chef prepares it just the way you like it. The New York steak comes with mashed potatoes, a baked potato, or French fries.
Tim: I'll take the baked potato.
Waitress: Would you like sour cream and chives on that?
Tim: I'll have sour cream.
Waitress: Your meal also includes a choice of soup or salad.
Tim: What is the soup today?
Waitress: Fish chowder or chicken vegetable.
Tim: I think I'll have the salad instead
Waitress: What kind of dressing would you like?
Tim: Blue cheese.

Notice: "Would like" is the polite form used when asking and requesting.


  1. to poach - варя, задушавам
  2. shrimp - скарида
  3. appetizer - ордьовър, мезе, аперитив
  4. mashed potatos - пюре от картофи
  5. baked potatos - печени небелени картофи
  6. French fries - пържени картофи
  7. chive - вид ситен лук, добавян обикновено към картофите
  8. chowder - вид супа, садържаща обикновено риба и зеленчуци
  9. dressing - подправка/сос към салата или ястие
  10. entree - основно ястие

Useful Expressions

The customer:

  • I'd like to reserve a table for (....) for (...) tonight. - Бих искал да резервирам маса за (....) за (...) тази вечер.
  • Is this table/seat free? - Свободна ли е тази маса/това място?
  • Do you have a table for (...)? - Имате ли маса за (...)?
  • Waiter, please, could we have the menu? - Сервитьор, бихте ли ни дали менюто, моля?
  • We'll have the set menu. - Ще поръчаме основното меню.
  • What do you have for starter/main course/dessert? - Какво имате за ордьовър/главно ястие/десерт?
  • Could you bring me the wine list? - Бихте ли ми донесли менюто с вината?
  • What are the specialities? - Какви са специалитетите?
  • What do you recommend me? - Какво бихте ми препоръчали?
  • Waiter, please, could you bring the salad dressing/salt/pepper? - Сервитьор, бихте ли ми донесли подправките за салатата/сол/пипер?
  • Please, another bottle of... - Моля, още една бутилка от...
  • The bill, please. - Сметката, моля.
  • Is the service/tip included in the bill? - Обслужването/бакшишът влиза ли в сметката?


  • This way, please. - Оттук, моля.
  • Would you like something to drink? - Желаете ли нещо за пиене?
  • Are you ready to order? - Готови ли сте да поръчате?
  • How do you like the meat? .....(rare, medium, well done) - Как бихте искали месото? (сурово, средно, препечено)
  • What vegetable would you like? - Какви зеленчуци желаете?
  • What kind of salad dressing would you like? - Какви подправки за салатата бихте искали?
  • How would you like your coffee?.....(black, cream, sugar, decaffeinate) - Как бихте искали кафето...? (чисто, сметана, захар, без кофеин)
  • Would you care for dessert? - Желаете ли десерт?
  • Is everything all right? - Наред ли е всичко?
  • Have you enjoyed your meal? - Хареса ли Ви яденето?


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