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Bad Teeth, Bad Food and Football Hooligans

british flag Bad Teeth, Bad Food and Football HooligansAsk an average American what the British are famous for and the common answers are bad teeth, bad food and hooligans. I’ve heard these stereotypes so many times in the 25 years since I moved to the States from Wales in 1984 that the jokes aren’t funny anymore. Well, at least not that funny.

Rather than write a dissertation on all three of these misconceptions, I thought I’d cover one of the topics. Sure, this is a soccer blog but we all know that hooliganism is practically extinct from the Premier League. So, instead, I’m focusing on a non-soccer topic and that’s the misconception that British food is bland. The post is a good accompaniment to EPL Talk’s free eBook, In Pursuit Of Real Football: The Soccer Fan’s Ultimate Travel Guide To Attending EPL Matches In England.

If you were a tourist visiting the USA and you ate most of your meals at fast food restaurants, you’d go home to your country thinking that American food was cheap, unhealthy and coated with sugar and salt. But while one out of three American children eat a fast food meal each day, we all know that there’s more to American food than McDonald’s.

The same applies to British food. So many people visit London and consider places like greasy fish and chip shops, cafes and Wimpy Restaurants as real British food. That couldn’t be much further from the truth.

To experience real British food, you either need to run to the countryside for some authentic pub grub, or do some research to find good food in the city. All food can be accompanied by a pint of real English ale, not that American piss water.

Here are just a few must-have British dishes to savor and enjoy:

  1. Traditional English roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and gravy. This traditional Sunday dinner (usually served in the early afternoon for lunch) is a hearty mix of roast beef, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower and Yorkshire pudding — all topped with gravy.
  2. Chicken Tikka Masala. The most popular meal in Britain is a dish that was invented either in England, India or Pakistan. While it’s origins are disputed, Chicken Tikka Masala is a tasty dish of chicken chunks cooked in a tomato and curry sauce, and served atop rice with a side of Indian bread called Naan.
  3. Cottage Pie. Minced meat covered with mashed potatoes and often topped with cheese. Not to be confused with Shepherd’s Pie, which is traditionally served with minced lamb, cottage pie is a hearty meal that’s perfect on a cold night.
  4. Steak and chips with a side-salad. A simple dish that features a steak with fried potato wedges. Yum.
  5. Fish and Chips. There are few dishes as English as fish and chips, but it’s often very difficult to find them cooked to perfection. The dish consists of deep-friend fish (traditionally cod) in batter with deep-fried chips.

Don’t settle for imitations. Find pubs or restaurants that specialize in the dishes.

There are few things as good as British food, British beer and English football. Wherever you are in the world, let’s hope you can enjoy the trio and put the stereotype of bad British food to death.


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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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