THE BLOG
04/26/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The English List


According to one of our British broadsheets, grub from over here is wildly popular in New York right now, with eaters snaffling up apple crumble, Jacobs Crackers and even Marmite. That's great news - but there's so much more to English food than those three - (I'll take the first two and hold the Marmite). Here's a longer list. It's wildly unscientific, but if you make it over here, at least try a few of these splendid foodstuffs.

1. Greggs the Bakers sausage rolls. They may well contain an inconsiderable amount of meat, but the pastry is moist and not too fat, and they even serve them warm. Pretty much everybody I know, from all walks of life, will wander into a Greggs at some point for a sausage roll or a Chelsea bun.

2. McVities Jamaican ginger cake. It's really gingery, lovely and moist (again), and, for a McVities product, surprisingly home-made in taste.

3. Jam tarts. My father makes the best, but as he refuses to scale up into mass-production, I'd encourage a visit to any good supermarket for a selection pack of jam tarts (in two jam colours, as well as lemon curd and apricot). None of them taste like home-made jam, but they do taste good. Serve with Earl Grey if you're feeling elegant, PG Tips if you're in a hungover mood and need comfort food.

4. A controversial choice, but I believe that two slices of Sunblest toast with the finest butter and builder's tea from a big pot in your local caff constitutes a great kick up the arse breakfast. If you're really peckish, demand a full English instead (this refers to food, OK?)

5. Rice pudding. The gourmets among you will be sighing with relief. This is not junk food. This is real, honest, slow-cooked pudding rice, sweetened with a pinch of sugar, dab of butter on the top, sprinkle of nutmeg, pint of milk, cook for two hours. Serve with home-made jam. My children and I disagree as to whether the jam should be stirred in or not. They are wrong.

6. Yorkshire puddings. My Yorkshire grandmother served them, as is traditional, as an appetiser with gravy. If you finished them quick you got another one before the roast. My mother made the mistake of thinking the Yorkshire was the full meal...be warned. Best made by a Yorkshirewoman (or New Yorkshireman, the kind who cooks).

7. Cadbury's Dairy Milk. Yes, we know it's not great continental chocolate, but it's our chocolate, dammit. If you've lost your way in the world, lost your man, or your cat's at the vet, it's traditional to curl up on the sofa and eat the entire bar.

8. Tomatoes. I hate to be rude to my American friends but I have never eaten a good tomato in the US. They were big, they looked good, but they weren't juicy and piquant. Good English tomatoes, preferably grown on an allotment by a yummy mummy or an old boy, are just delicious. But then so is all the allotment food I've ever tasted.

9. A Cornish pasty - or any kind of pie. Most good pubs make their own now, and they are delicious with ale (for ale-drinkers). I find they go well with lime juice and soda but it's a personal taste.

10. Fish and chips. Out of newspaper, on the seafront, loads of salt and vinegar, bobs your uncle. The best of British to you!