Criticism of British food by Germans

322 posts in this topic

Right then,

 

Several years ago before I knew anything at all about food (I still don't know a lot) upon finding myself cast in the role of "person in charge of family diet" I'd discuss this issue with Germans. I can count about four individuals who were horribly disparaging about British food. Now if I'd moved to France, arguably the capital country of European cuisine, I could bow my head and acquiesce and say "Oui Monsieur" or if in Italy the home of the beloved pizza I'd doff my cap and say "Si" but coming from a German I found this complacency a little hard to stomach. I even heard Thomas Gottschalk making a sarcastic comment to Jamie Oliver when JO appeared on "Wetten Dass...?" so I feel this attitude must be widespread.

 

Coming from the land where the idea of a vegetarian meal must at least have bits of bacon sprinkled over it, and its salads are served with a dressing which Don Riina once famously described as "Pickled to fuck", does anyone else find this criticism unfair?

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No.

 

Not to say I don't like our British/Irish food. Although, all the Germans who have had my roast potatoes have loved them. They do like my shepherd's pie.

 

I have changed my mind. HOW DARE THEY.

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For steroetypes it's not necessarily important to be true.

When Germans think of British food, the mind wanders from fish and chips to meat with mint-sauce.

 

 

P.S.: I would be really interested in a good english cookbook. If you know one tell me.

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Many Germans revolve around sausages, and, never having seen, say, a cumberland, they believe theirs are bigger than yours. It makes them complacent.

 

They also don't know that Britain is knee deep in fish and cheese, and probably has hundreds of local specialities. However, to be fair many British people seem equally unaware of that, which is why Jamie Oliver continually tries to stuff it down their throats.

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Cultural difference I guess, although in my opinion, one look at the boring choice of snacks and flavours in the potato chip section of any German supermarket, and they really don't have a leg to stand on.

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Depends on who is cooking what - even the French make some god awful meals but British food where the meat is for flavour and not the actual meal can be pretty damn dire.

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Its traditional working class food they think of, fried bread and baked beans and what not. The brits are much more urbanised, and thus further distanced from their traditional food, which is fantastic. English sausages, for example, are far better than german sausages (I am thinking of the ones with stilton and leeks and other heavenly things in)

 

For good english cookbook writers I recommend Nigel Slater or Fearnley Whittingstall. Jamie Oliver uses far too much sugar

 

Rhubarb Crumble beats every country in pudding top trumps.

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Had this debate with an Austrian friend of mine last week. She told me that she found british food to be disgusting (granted, Austrian food is delicious) - and then she told me that, whilst she was in London, all she ate was McDonald's and fish and chips she bought for less than 4 pounds.

 

I was in Borough Market in London week before last and found plenty of delicious British foodstuffs... and we also know how to handle a bit of spice! I know (British) people who carry a small bottle of tabasco with them when they go to German establishments. I've been tempted to do the same...

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Had this debate with an Austrian friend of mine last week. She told me that she found british food to be disgusting (granted, Austrian food is delicious) - and then she told me that, whilst she was in London, all she ate was McDonald's and fish and chips she bought for less than 4 pounds.

 

I was in Borough Market in London week before last and found plenty of delicious British foodstuffs... and we also know how to handle a bit of spice! I know (British) people who carry a small bottle of tabasco with them when they go to German establishments. I've been tempted to do the same...

 

So are we talking about British food or colonial imports?

 

Boiled beef and carrots or Lamb Korma with naan?

 

Makes a difference to what we are talking about.

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Hmm - why do poeple think that french cuisine is the best?

 

Just because it is complicated and takes an army of cooks to do doesn't make it good. All the best songs/tunes tend to be simple. The only reason they can cook is that they have had so many *cough* guests over the last few hundred years....

 

I like English food, I like German food and I even like French food. I like most food as it is all a variation on a theme. Except snails, why the crap would anyone eat snails? Oh, that's right, the french - how can you trust a cook that gives people snails to eat?

 

The clincher for all the Germans I know was the Sunday roast - then you f**k with their heads and make it on Wednesday.... That's right, it really isn't just for Sunday...

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Oddly enough a lot of German food is very similar to the sort of food I grew up with in England, roast pork, dumplings, cabbage, meat done in bread crumbs. Food in England has progressed whereas German food has stayed the same. About 12 years ago I went with some of my neighbours for a long weekend in London and they were amazed at the food we had there. We didn't eat in fancy restaurants, mainly pubs but they all loved the food. The only thing they couldn't handle was some chilli we had, which to my taste was fairly spicy but not too bad, they still talk about how fiery it was!

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Hmm - why do poeple think that french cuisine is the best?

 

All the best songs/tunes tend to be simple.

 

 

The black eyed peas are much much better than stravinsky arent they

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To be fair though any country that can keep somewhere like Little Chef going for over 50 years does have an image problem when it comes to feeding people!

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Anyone here who has actually spent time in the UK in the last 5-10 years knows the stereotype applies to cheap food only anyone who is willing to go to a half decent restaurant in the UK will find food easily comparable to that anywhere else these days. Like most stereotypes the criticism of english food has a basis in historical truth but it is just that history.

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To be fair though any country that can keep somewhere like Little Chef going for over 50 years does have an image problem when it comes to feeding people!

 

 

Famously John Majors favourite place to eat

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Famously John Majors favourite place to eat

 

 

Yeah but he got into trouble when he put a bit of Currie in his mouth :)

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It is not really a specifically German attitude. British food is looked down upon with disdain by everyone in the world. It is becoming a bit of an outdated and unfair attitude to an extent, because I honestly think that food "awareness"* is growing at a decent rate in England, and overall knowledge about produce and cooking is getting better; you could almost draw a tentative parallel with wine - in the last 20 years, I think Britain as a nation has improved it's collective wine knowledge enormously, and the range of wine you can now get in pretty much any supermarket knocks the average French selection into a cocked hat.

 

As the British used to rule the entire globe, we are very much more open to other cuisines, whereas the bloody Italians will argue that the pasta from 500 yards down the road is not as good as theirs, even though it is exactly the fucking same. Idiots.

The open nature of the British palate is a good thing in terms of overall foodieness, but does tend to dilute the knowledge of some of our own dishes; how many people know how to make a decent lancashire hotpot? Certainly not as many that think they can cook a decent curry.

 

Is it 'fair' that the Germans with their fabulously limited cuisine look down on the Brits? Maybe not, but is it fair that most British people think the Germans only eat sausage and sauerkraut?

 

At the arse end of the day, the only way to handle it is the same way that you combat any type of ignorance - teach 'em. If you think you can cook a better dish than some Gerry in law, then do so. You might well be preaching to the blind sometimes though, because in any country it is sometimes really hard to break down people's personal tastes and habits - how many people have you heard say "oh, I don't like that", in reference to something they have never (knowingly) eaten. Enough British people claim not to like garlic, but love a chinese or a curry on a friday night.

Fuckwits the world over.

 

 

 

 

*hate that word, but it fits

 

 

.

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Look around Bavaria at least, not the cities like Munich as they are relatively cosmopolitan. "Highly" international cuisines such as Greek and Italian restaurants abound in small towns here. However almost every small town in Britain has a Chinese or an Indian.

 

Years back I went to BBC TV Centre to watch a programme being filmed. It happened to be Keith Floyd and one of his most interesting comments was how adventurous we Brits are with food and how international our tastes are. Much of our variation in taste has come from the British Empire days, such as curry, and our tea was a major legacy of British India. Our country planted all those plantations out there.

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@jobyjoyful - if you happen to not like Stravinsky then maybe - we can't all be full to the brim with cra...sorry culture...

 

Oh, and who the f**k refers to anything done by Stravinsky as a tune?

 

The guy was a genius - he managed to pack 60+ musicians etc into a 'tune'. Status Quo could only manage 3 and there are 3 people writing the music.

 

I am sure he is well happy having his master pieces labeled by jobyjoyful as a 'tune'.

 

How come we don't hear that more often, Beethoven's 5th 'Tune' - works great, much better than symphony or overture.

 

Now, who could have marked my post down - hmmmmm...

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Never seen a "british restaurent".( Have seen chinese, japanese, greek, italian, indian, israeli, turkish..etc).

Am I blind ? or just ignorant?

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