Long maligned abroad, British food and cooking is on the up. There has been a lot of bad press about ‘greasy-spoon’ restaurants and poorly produced fodder in recent years, but, as with any culture, traditions and values remain deeply rooted in the regional psyche.
I have written quite extensively on this blog about Scottish, Irish and Welsh specialities, so I shall try to redress the balance somewhat with some regional English dishes that are definitely worth a second look.
Cornwall is the traditional homeland of the Cornish people and is recognised as one of the Celtic nations.
Though a worthy part of the United Kingdom it retains a distinct cultural, and culinary, identity that reflects its history.
Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming significant during the Middle Ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production.
In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the tin and copper mines entered a period of decline. Subsequently china clay extraction became more important. Metal mining had virtually ended by the 1990s.
Traditionally fishing, particularly for pilchards, and agriculture, particularly dairy products and vegetables, were important sectors of the counties economy and the railways led to the growth of tourism during the 20th century. Sadly however, Cornwall’s economy continues to struggle following the decline of the mining and fishing industries.
The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its extensive and varied coastline, its many place names derived from the Cornish language, and its very mild climate.
Probably the most famous of all Cornish produce is the pasty! A ‘portable’ food devised long before the burger was even a glint in Mr McDonalds eye! Pasty shops selling many varieties of this erstwhile delicacy are springing up across the country to much acclaim.
The recipes here are from a book in the archive that has examples of many regional dishes from across the country that are little heard of elsewhere.
I think therefore that it is time to bring the fruits of the the many and diverse counties of England to the fore and to showcase their ‘home cooking’.