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British Food Decoder
In London, local could mean any global flavor, but for pure Britishness, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding top the list. If you want the best-value traditional Sunday lunch, go to a traditional pub. Updated gastropubs, where Sunday roasts are generally made on-site with top-quality ingredients, are an excellent bet, too. The meat is usually served with duck-fat crisp roast potatoes and carrots, and with Yorkshire pudding, a savory batter baked in the oven until crisp. A rich, dark, meaty gravy is poured on top.
Other tummy liners include shepherd's pie, made with stewed minced lamb and a mashed-potato topping and baked until lightly browned on top; cottage pie is a similar dish, but made with minced beef instead of lamb. Steak-and-kidney pie is a delight when done properly: with chunks of lean beef and ox kidneys, braised with onions and mushrooms in a thick meaty gravy, and topped with a light puff-pastry crust.
Fish-and-chips, usually battered deep-fried cod, haddock, or plaice, comes with thick chips, or french fries, as we call them in the States. A ploughman's lunch in a pub is crusty bread, a strong-flavored English cheese with bite (Cheddar, blue Stilton, crumbly white Cheshire, or smooth red Leicester), and tangy pickles with a side-salad garnish. For a hot, comforting dessert, seek out a sweet bread-and-butter pudding, made from layers of bread and dried currants baked in cream until crisp. And one can't forgo English cream tea, which consists of fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream, and sandwiches made with wafer-thin slices of cucumber—served as an accompaniment to properly brewed tea.
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