Britons enjoying exotic tastes
Published 19/05/2010 | 00:11
If you have ever found it hard to define modern British cuisine, there could be a reason.
According to a new study, Brits have a taste for the exotic - six in 10 of our main meals are based on foreign dishes.
And it appears we have a particular taste for Italian and French flavours.
Together these account for 24% of the estimated 13 billion evening meals prepared in British homes last year.
The figures also show we are a little less enamoured with American fodder - only one in 10 of our main meals is inspired by the famously super-sized US diet.
But the good old British staples of bangers and mash, shepherd's pie and casserole still feature regularly on kitchen tables across the country, accounting for four in every 10 meals dished up.
"While some people may bemoan the lack of a strong national culinary heritage in Britain, it's clear that we Brits are actually some of the most adventurous and cosmopolitan foodies in the world," said Sarah Riddolls, of Cauldron Foods, which commissioned the study.
Over the centuries, Britons have been among the most prolific culinary adventurers, bringing new flavours and ingredients from abroad.
Historical figures have played their part in the tradition.
Sir Walter Raleigh is widely credited with bringing back the first potato from a voyage to Virginia in 1589 and planting it in his garden while ship owner Sir Alfred Jones is believed to have imported the first bananas from Jamaica around three centuries later. Today, the British high street is dotted with foreign restaurants, ranging from pizzerias to sushi bars.