Can we live without food? The answer is definitely "no". Food is essential to our body which is continually wasting and requires new energy. Experts say that food has some special powers that can control our lives, for better or for worse.
Every country seems to have a national cuisine and to be proud of it. So what is Britain famous for?
In most cities in Britain you’ll find Indian, Chinese, French and Italian restaurants. In London you’ll also find Indonesian, Mexican, Greek… Cynics will say that this is because English have no “cuisine” themselves, but this is not quite the true.
The country has some excellent food: lamb from Wales, shellfish and salmon from Northern Ireland, fresh fish from Scotland, cheeses from England and Wales.
The English proverb says: every cook praises his own broth. One can not say English cookery is bad? But there is not a lot of variety in it in comparison with European cuisine. The English are very particular about their meals. The usual meals in England are breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner.
Breakfast time is between seven and nine a.m. A traditional English breakfast is a very big meal. It consists of juice, porridge, a rasher or two of bacon and eggs, toast, butter, jam or marmalade, tea or coffee. Marmalade is made from oranges and jam is made from other fruit. Many people like to begin with porridge with milk or cream and sugar. (Scotland is the home of porridge.) For a change you can have sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, cold ham or perhaps fish. Britons may eat this breakfast at weekends or on special occasions but prefer a smaller and healthier meal to start a day.
But nowadays in spite of the fact that the English strictly keep to their meals many people just have cereal with milk and sugar or toast with jam or honey.
The two substantial meals of the day are lunch and dinner. Lunch is usually taken at one o'clock. For many people lunch is a quick meal. Office workers usually go to a cafe at this time. They take fish, poultry or cold meat (beef, mutton, veal and ham), boiled or fried potatoes and all sorts of salad. Pubs also serve good, cheap food. School children can have a hot meal at school. Some of them just bring a snack from home. Lunch takes usually 40 minutes.
Dinner time is generally between six and eight p.m. The evening meal is the biggest and the main meal of the day. Very often the whole family eats together. They begin with soup, followed by fish, roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables, fruit and coffee.
If you go back to the time of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), people really knew how to eat and Chefs used to travel round Europe to get new ideas and ingredients. It was also the time when British explorers sailed all over the world. They brought home all sorts of exotic food: In the Americas they found tomatoes, potatoes, peanuts, pineapples, sugar and vanilla; spices from India, coffee from Arabia, rice and tea from China. And I want to tell you about tea.
Everyone knows that tea is the most popular drink in Britain. It's even more popular than coffee, which is favoured throughout Europe and America.
The Dutch brought the first tea to Europe in 1610. But it was not until 1658 that the first advertisement for tea appeared in a London newspaper. At that time a pound of the cheapest tea cost about one-third of a skilled worker's weekly wages. Tea was guarded by the lady of the house and kept in special containers, often with a lock and carefully doled out by the teaspoon.
By 1750 tea had become the principal drink of all the classes in Britain. Later, tea-drinking developed into a fashionable social ritual. Tea parties were popular at home and soon the ritual of "afternoon tea" was firmly established.
Nowadays, throughout the homes, tea shops and hotels of Britain, the custom of tea-time continues. Tea in Britain is brewed in a teapot. Then the one spoonful of tea per person and one for the pot is added.
Many people have tea first with breakfast, then at mid-morning, with lunch, at tea-time (around 5 o’clock), with dinner, and finally just before bed. As a nation, they get through 185 million cups per day! Most British use tea bags these days, but serious tea lovers still go through an almost Japanese-style ceremony. The selection of tea is very personal. Most people in Britain prefer a rich, strong cup of tea with milk, and sugar is sometimes added to taste.
Some people have afternoon tea with delicious sweet foods, such as scones, cakes or for example with apple cake.
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1-2 apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in the dish, cut side down.
Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the apple slices.
Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer f, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.
Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar.
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