British Food, Explained For Americans

    Make the American understanding of British food great again.

    OK, first up, all of these are puddings.

    All desserts are pudding, but what you think of as pudding is not pudding, but just a part of some puddings. It's custard, basically. Which we generally put on puddings.

    For clarity, what you generally consider pies are a type of pudding that we might put what you consider pudding on. However, what we generally consider pies are not puddings, but are savoury and involve meat.

    Unless it's a pie that is a pudding, like a mince pie, which doesn't involve mince, which is meat that's been minced, but does involve mincemeat, which doesn't involve meat. You could put what you think of as pudding on this type of pie, which is a pudding.

    Some puddings are also specifically called pudding, like this sticky toffee pudding, which is a cake and a type of pudding, and another thing that you might put what you call pudding on.

    But not all puddings are desserts. This is a black pudding, which is made of blood and delicious, but it is not generally a dessert. There are also white puddings, which are also not desserts.

    This is a Yorkshire pudding, also not a dessert.

    Yorkshire puddings, incidentally, are the most important food you will ever eat. They are truly superb.

    They come on a Sunday roast, the most important meal of the week.

    However, despite being such an important meal, there's no single right way to do it. It needs some sort of roast meat, unless you're a vegetarian, and roast potatoes with gravy, but beyond that, it's kind of wild.

    Peas, carrots, leeks, cauliflower, and more or less any other vegetables under the sun are used. Most people maintain there is a right answer, but no one agrees on what it is.

    Similarly, the full English breakfast isn't so much a particular meal but a complete taxonomy of different foods. Eggs are important, as are bacon and sausages, but everything else is debatable.

    There are no rules on how the eggs should be cooked, though people with good taste all accept that fried eggs are the only true way, and there should be no beans.

    Ah, yes, beans. Baked beans are a great food, and are perfect on toast. They need nothing else – beans on toast is a natural, fulfilling, and balanced meal.

    Actually, everything is good on toast. Eggs on toast, sardines on toast, and of course cheese on toast.

    See, cheese on toast is just like grilled cheese, but better because it has a much better cheese-to-toast ratio.

    Also because it is made under this, which is a grill, making it a much more accurate thing to call grilled cheese. This is not a broiler, because broil is not a word.

    It's also made with real cheese, which is a product made from milk, unlike American cheese, which appears to have been made from melted-down condoms dyed yellow.

    Please stop doing things with cheese like this. This is not OK, and also not cheese.

    Cheese should also not be used to make pizza like this, which is more of a casserole. (Yes, pizza is not British, but y'know, while we're here.)

    Actually, much of the best food in Britain is not British. Indian food is probably the best British food.

    From the list of British food at least nominally originally from Britain, fish and chips is one of the best.

    Chips, naturally, are chipped potatoes that are then fried, unlike fries, which are chipped potatoes that are then fried. A very clear difference.

    In fact, though, fries and chips do now mean a somewhat different thing – you can buy both frozen chips and frozen fries in a supermarket. Chips are thick, fries are thin. In fast-food places or fried chicken shops, you'll typically find things listed as fries. In a fish and chip shop, they're chips – so much thicker.

    Meanwhile, what you call chips are actually crisps, chipped potatoes that have been crisped, unlike chips, which are chipped potatoes that have been crisped. Again, all a much simpler solution.

    Chips can, and will, come with anything and everything.

    Incidentally, chip shop chips are a truly perfect food – they should be as thick as possible, and have crispy bits in the bottom, but be broadly fairly soft.

    You can also get a chip butty, which is a bread roll containing only chips, and once again, this is a balanced and reasonable meal.

    However, the bread roll can also be referred to as a bun, dinner roll, bap, cob, barm, kaiser roll, bread cake, barm cake, batch, muffin, softie, or buttery, depending on where you are. This is a perfectly reasonable state of affairs.

    You see, different areas of Britain have fierce rivalries over exact descriptions and origins of food. Cornwall and Devon, two counties right next to each other, have firm disagreements over who invented the pasty and in which order you put cream and jam on a cream tea.

    Jam encompasses everything you think of as jelly, because we think of jelly as something we eat with ice cream.

    Meanwhile, a cream tea is what you might think a biscuit is, which in the UK is a sweet food. Do not put gravy on it. Also what you think of as gravy is in fact some sort of sausage jizz, and what you call cookies are actually biscuits.

    You would also not put cream on waffles, because waffles are made of potato and look like this. Unless they're Belgian waffles, of course.

    Much like this, British pancakes are a cake made in a pan, and are therefore called pancakes. American pancakes aren't pancakes because they aren't made in a pan, so we call them Scotch pancakes in the UK.

    Meanwhile, these are flapjacks.

    Another Scotch food is Scotch eggs, which are eggs wrapped in meat and deep-fried, which honestly sounds like the most American thing America never created.

    With the possible exception of the deep-fried Mars bar, which is exactly what it sounds like, delicious, and also Scotch. Well, Scottish, which is what Scottish things are usually called unless they're called Scotch, or are literally Scotch whisky, which is just called Scotch, unless it's from Ireland, which is partly in the UK, and where it's called whiskey, which is different from whisky.

    Haggis is Scottish and real, but it's not an animal, it's just a stomach filled with animal. Totally normal.

    However, it's not a very common food, it's more of a speciality – it's not something you would find a pub, for instance. You will find food at a pub, you see, you just won't eat food at a pub, that would be weird.

    The British midweek tradition is to go for "a quick drink," which means much more than a single drink, but absolutely no food. Maybe some crisps. Or chips.

    At the pub, you'll need to drink in a round, where everyone has to buy everyone else in the group a drink until everyone has bought a round, and it's definitely not OK if you leave before your round is up, meaning you're locked into having multiple drinks. This is to speed things up.

    But that's OK, because the beer is great. It's not warm, though – well, some of it is. Lager is chilled, ale is served at cellar temperature.

    There's also cider, which is essentially always alcoholic, and what teens learn to drink in parks, as part of an ancient tradition.

    Finally, HP sauce is better than barbecue sauce, sausages are a food group, and Marmite is either great or terrible, and no one knows which, but it's important that you have an opinion.

    Hope that cleared everything up!