A sign of the times ?

I read with interest this week that Chinese food has overtaken Indian as the nation’s favourite food. The tikka massala has been overtaken by sweet and sour pork. I did think it a slightly odd story at first, other than for the fairly obvious reason that it gives the press another opportunity to beat up our traditional English dishes (more’s the pity). But I thought a little more about why this may be the case and concluded that it’s actually a very good reflection of trends in British society.

We are eating out more than we ever have and we are getting take-aways and home delivery more than ever. Despite the growth in bistro-style restaurants – and those awful Slug-and-Piano fry-fests – it is no surprise that people prefer to eat Chinese (or indeed Indian) when they go out for something to eat. As the article I read states, they are still viewed as “exotic” despite being also classed as English. Never thought of the English as particularly exotic, but there you go. Then you consider take-aways and the point gets real focus. No matter where you live, think about the take-away menus sat in your end draw of the kitchen. Let me guess – chances are you’ll have at least three pizza menus, a couple of Indian maybe and almost certainly one or two Chinese menus. Traditional English ? Bistro ? Unlikely.

I think it’s a real shame that you can’t get great quality “non-exotic” food delivered to your door, not because it skews the stats for spurious articles such as those quoted above, but simply because I would love to showcase good quality, simple English fayre right in people’s homes. May even encourage them to have a go themselves…

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