British cuisine has distinctive attributes of its own, but also shares much with wider British cuisine, largely due to the importation of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China, and India during the time of the British Empire and as a result of post-war immigration.
From ancient times British food has been influenced by foreign invaders. First the Vikings, then the Romans and even the French brought to the British table a melting pot of ingredients and foods. It is possible the effects of this can still be seen in traditional cuisine. Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, and freshwater and saltwater fish.
The invasion of the Franco-Normans brought spices of saffron, mace, nutmeg, pepper, ginger and sugar. Medieval English cookery abounds with recipes containing the exotic fare. Many of these ingredients can be traced to the modern day in traditional recipes such as Plum Pudding. The British Empire’s colony in East Asia brought tea to England,.. From India came the English obsession with curry, spicy sauces and condiments which now are an intrinsic part of English food.
In many European countries it is normal to have a long break in the middle of the day when all members of the family return to their houses to eat together. This is not very common in Britain because normally it is a long way from the place of work or school to the home. Consequently the British people tend to have a big breakfast before they go to work and the meal at midday is not spent with the members of the family but with workmates or schoolmates. Lunch is normally eaten between 12.30 pm and 1.30pm. Most people finish work at five thirty. It often takes at least an hour to get home from the school or workplace so people tend to eat their evening meal or "dinner" between 6.30pm and 8pm. The most typical thing to eat for dinner is "meat and two veg". This consists of a piece of meat accompanied by two different boiled vegetables
On Sundays people don't have to work so they take the opportunity eat together with their family. Sunday lunch is usually the best meal of the week and many of the meals which are considered typically British are eaten for Sunday lunch.
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