Traditional British food is out of favour

Traditional British home cooking is being shunned by the UK’s younger generations in favour of European and Oriental dishes, according to a survey, with one in five kids today not knowing the main ingredient in toad-in-the-hole.

The research, which was carried out by leading home appliance brand Belling, surveyed 1,000 UK adults and 2,754 under 16-year-olds to uncover an up-to-date snapshot of the nation’s meal-time habits.

The findings reveal a distinct generation gap when it comes to meal-time preferences with the nations under 35’s turning their back on traditional British dishes such as stew, steak and kidney pie, bubble and squeak and faggots at mealtimes, instead preferring to rustle up Italian and Chinese meals in the kitchen.

And, when it comes to under 16’s, traditional British home-cooked meals are rarely on the menu, according to the findings, which showed:

  • A third have never eaten toad-in-the-hole (33 per cent), stew (35 per cent) or rice pudding (35 per cent)
  • Only 18 per cent have tried Faggots
  • Two thirds (76 per cent) have never eaten liver
  • Only a third have tried bubble and squeak (34 per cent) and corn beef hash (37 per cent)
  • Tripe (5 per cent), jellied eels (3 per cent), pigs trotters (4 per cent) and dripping (8 per cent) are amongst the least tried traditional British dishes
  • 6 per cent think that toad-in-the-hole is made with toads or frogs legs
  • A fifth of UK kids don’t know the main ingredient in shepherd’s pie and toad-in-the-hole

Despite the onslaught of the Internet, when it comes to home cooking today mums know best, with 58 per cent of UK adults claiming to have learnt everything they know from their mum. However, celebrity chefs are gaining ground amongst the younger generations, who rated them above gran and dad as their preferred chef of choice.

Belling is asking the UK public to donate their favourite traditional British recipe for possible inclusion in a new ‘Bring Back Grannies’ Recipes’ online book. To take part just write in with your favourite family recipe and supply a picture of yourself with the finished dish. See for more information.

Celebrity chef, Brian Turner, said,“There is no doubt that our tastes are changing and new influences have made a huge impact on the food that children are eating today. Whilst exploring new dishes and flavours is a fantastic way to get children interested in food, there are many delicious traditional British recipes that have played a huge role in our country’s history and it would be a huge shame if these ever died out.

“Sharing and cooking long-standing family recipes is a great way to get children re-interested in our country’s classics and encourage them to try new things. Teaching kids the basics of cooking in schools is also extremely important and will get children interested in ingredients and where our food comes from at a young age. After all either at home or in the classroom, there is no harm in putting a modern spin on traditional English recipes by incorporating new ingredients to suit today’s tastes.

“It is a real shame to see our traditional recipes, such as shepherd’s pie and toad-in-the-hole, losing out in the popularity stakes and I really hope that this campaign will go a long way in bringing some old time favourites back on to the menu in homes across the country.”

Leading food historian and food author Laura Mason said, “It’s important to try and keep dishes both alive and evolving slightly to fit new tastes and ingredients, and to make good use of everything in the store cupboard. The British have always absorbed ideas from other countries into their food, but maybe we’ve done too much of this recently.

“Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers lived with more seasonal food supplies and less money and they could often make good meals out of very little. More and more, convenience seems to be uppermost in people’s minds when cooking, but slowly cooked dishes such as stews can be left to look after themselves and are great food for cold wet days.”

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