Template talk:English cuisine

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I have made an effort to counter the recentism of the coverage of English cuisine, but it is obvious that both that article and the coverage identified in this template are still strongly biased towards the recent. There are plenty of books from the 18th century (for example) that could well deserve articles. I'd be happy to work with anyone who wishes to explore some of these historical topics. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:43, 5 April 2015 (UTC)


Should kippers really be listed? Obviously, they're eaten in England, but I think of them as much more of a Scottish and Manx dish, with fish in England more likely to be fried, stewed, or popped in a pie. On the topic of fish, it might be worth including Lamprey. Not only would it bulk out the slightly sparse Middle Ages section, but they're just as quintessentially an English foodstuff as the eel (and equally disgusting). Cockle probably ought to be in there as well somewhere. ‑ Iridescent 18:18, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

They have a strong Scottish feeling, but have been smoked in England for centuries. They are included, however, both for their English region feeling and for their frequent usage as a dish in the English breakfast; I'd generally oppose the listing of ingredients as "cuisine", so eel is out, but jellied eel could be in: my reservations on that would be to do with stereotyping and relative importance. A (surfeit of) lampreys dish might merit inclusion. I think I saw it in one of the books I wrote up. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:46, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

English cuisine template: pasted from user's talk page[edit]

Hi Tim, hope you're keeping well. I'm reshaping the English cuisine template to anchor it in (historical) reality rather than pandering to the (fish'n'chips, roast beef, custard, or worse) stereotype. As a result I've written articles on a whole lot of cookery books..., and as you known reworked English cuisine too. I'd be curious to know what you think of the effect now that it's taking shape. In particular, I've split up the cruft-fest list of dishes into short lists by century. What d'you think? Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:03, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

I think it's terrific! I happen to be lunching today with another toiler in the culinary vineyard, whose attention I'll draw to this excellent revised template. I'll scrutinise it more closely later and let you have detailed comments, if any. Tim riley talk 10:30, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
I'll take a spin too, CC. Tim, I'm slaving away in Humanities 1 in the BL at the moment, but looking forward to lunch. Pip pip - SchroCat (talk) 10:33, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks both! Looking forward to your inputs. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:49, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
Hi CC, I like the thinking behind cookbooks and dishes split per century. The only question I have is over the selection of cookbooks in the 20th and 21st centuries, given the sheer number of them. I would have thought Delia's 3-volume cookery course would have more traction that How to Cheat? (BTW, I think Delia's How to Cheat was published in 1971). I would also have thought Floyds Britain and Ireland cookbook should be in there, but that's just my POV! – SchroCat (talk) 22:24, 12 February 2016 (UTC)
SchroCat's right about the date of How to Cheat. I was using it (ahem!) in the 1970s along with Katie Stewart's Times Cookery Book. It's a terribly difficult guess what the most influential modern books are (as opposed to TV series). I'd put in a plea for Dorothy Hartley's Food in England, but it may be one of those books read more for pleasure and historical detail than for recipes to use. I don't quarrel with the choices made by @Chiswick Chap:, and the template has a talk page where anyone taking a different view from his can argue the toss. In fact ought this exchange to be copied thither, so that anyone interested can see what we have had to say at this stage? – Tim riley talk 15:51, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Fixed the date! Food in England is there already... we have quite a challenge to write all those missing 20th and 21st century book articles. And both of you are right, it's really difficult to pick which books to include, but I think it's worth the effort. Do we think that Floyd on Britain and Ireland 1988 belongs under English cuisine? Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:12, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Personally I would: a combination of he and Delia kick started the foodie changes from the '80s onward. That's my opinion only, adnd I've not done any searches on 'best regarded cook books' or similar... - SchroCat (talk) 17:22, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
(Driveby comment) I'd argue against including Floyd. He was very much "the other one" to Delia Smith and is unlikely to be remembered in a decade, let alone to have the kind of impact to justify putting him alongside Mrs Beeton or the Grigsons. (Delia, Jamie and Nigella I'd make allowances for; even though their recipes are unlikely to last, they're worthy of acknowledgement owing to their impact on the creation of modern foodie culture and killing the boiled-beef-and-carrots image of English cookery.)

Although it doesn't fit into the lists, Rationing in the United Kingdom really ought to be listed in the template as well, since one can't understand the history of 20th-century English food culture without understanding its impact. In similar vein, carrot cake and salad cream—both by-products of wartime rationing—probably ought to be listed as well, if only to rebalance the 20th century section. ‑ Iridescent 17:27, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

OK, done those, but you'll be asking for Spam fritters in a minute! Chiswick Chap (talk) 17:33, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
No Floyd, but including the awful Lawson? I'd rate Floyd's impact as much, much bigger than Lawson's (she's ridden on the coat tails of several othes, without breaking ground or doing anything different: Floyd (and Oliver) moved English food on - Floyd by helping to kick-start an interest in food, Oliver by all the things he's done away from the TV set (school dinners, heightening awareness, etc). Her choice does rather feel a bit like RECENTISM...- SchroCat (talk) 17:49, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I've struggled mightily against recentism in the cuisine articles, which is the reason for the historical approach. Lawson has certainly had an enormous, um, audience, recent or no. I guess Floyd is big enough, but with Britain and Ireland, we risk opening the England/UK can of worms ... Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:01, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I consider her a thoroughly unpleasant person and wouldn't cry were she to be deleted from the template, but I'd say she justifies inclusion as even though she did nothing original, she brought cookery to a much wider audience, and (along with Jamie Oliver) can probably be blamed for the current plethora of food books, programmes and even TV channels. Delia Smith, Sophie Grigson, the River Cottage crowd et al reached the middle classes, and can certainly be thanked for ending the "any food with a strong flavour other than curry is some kind of filthy French plot" perception, but Nigella pushed cookery into the mainstream and is at the beginning of the chain that ends with Bake Off. ‑ Iridescent 18:04, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
I think you overestimate her influence here: food was already well on its way to mainstream before she used the influence of her husband and father to crowbar herself onto TV. I really can't see any connection between her and the push into popular TV: I see her as being solidly aimed at the middle class audiences selling to a very similar social group as River Cottage/Grigson etc. Oliver, yes, once he lost his plummy middle class accent and went "mockney", there was a younger, more mainstream audience there, but not the very middle class Lawson. just to clarify, I'm not arguing for her removal (although I should do, probably), but for the inclusion of Floyd – either on Britain and Ireland (preferably) or on Fish. – SchroCat (talk) 18:52, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

As a thought, would it make more sense to delete the recipe books altogether, and have "notable people" instead? That would solve the "which book?" problem, and also free up space within a very large template since we'd just have the names and not the titles; it would also allow people like Lord Woolton who had major influence but didn't publish books to be included. ‑ Iridescent 19:05, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

We could think about something more flexible (for which I can't think of a name at the moment), which could cover any notable influences: people, key publications, TV or radio programmes, etc. Masterchef, for an arguable example, would be an entry that influenced the cultural impact of food in the UK. Influential restaurants could also be listed – Le Gavroche or The Fat Duck are possible entries, as well as types of particularly English restaurant (I had thought of the Dickesian chop house, although that, rather shockingly, redirects to the very American page Steakhouse!) We could, therefore, include people without books, and books without people, should we think it fit. – SchroCat (talk) 19:31, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
In the case of the post-1900 books, it's an option. For those before 1900, there is no doubt that many of the books are far better known than their authors, and in several cases we more or less have no idea who their authors were. The one 20th century book that is wikilinked (A Book of Mediterranean Food) does deserve to be there, I think you'll agree. When an author has written 99 books starting "Gordon Ramsay's xxx" (can't think which cook I'm referring to here) then it does get tricky to choose one. Chiswick Chap (talk) 20:04, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

Recentism & history[edit]

I find information like that provided in these trends to be fascinating. Is there anywhere we deal with this sort of development and change to the British diet? – SchroCat (talk) 23:21, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

English cuisine, I guess, though much of it is diet. Or you could fork off with 21st century English cuisine or something! Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:29, 19 February 2016 (UTC)


I'm aware this template is growing like Topsy, but I've added Pottage to the list. It's (deservedly) been out of fashion for centuries, but this was a quintessential English foodstuff for centuries (it even gets namechecks in both the Canterbury Tales and Piers Plowman, as well as the King James Version). The oldest written record of it is the Ancrene riwle (early 13th century) but it almost certainly predates the conquest. (Wikipedia's article claims it dates back to the neolithic period but this is unsourced and sounds highly dubious, since the permanently-on-the-boil-for-weeks nature of preparation would seem singularly ill-suited to nomadic herdsmen.) ‑ Iridescent 21:43, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

(adding) I know Pease pudding is already there, but the two aren't really related other than a stew-y nature despite PP sometimes being called pease pottage; pease pudding is cooked in a single batch and served, whereas true pottage was a pan kept on the fireplace on permanent boil into which assorted veg was thrown, and which was dipped from for meals. ‑ Iridescent 21:46, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
Seems fine to me. Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:10, 20 April 2016 (UTC)