Why was British food so bad for so long?

English cuisine was historically bad in the cities because England urbanised fast and hard in advance of good transport and good food storage – hence corned beef, pickled everything, and mushy tinned peas. After that it’s a matter of lack-of-demand creating lack-of-supply – until recently. Multi-ethnic British cities are a fantastic place to find food these days (it ain’t the 50s any more, folks).

That is from reader comments on Brad DeLong’s blog, do have opinions on why British food was so bad?

Comments

I think that British cuisine suffered in comparison to French cuisine. But there was an obvious reason why the French restaurant industry was so well developed: the revolution. A lot of French aristocrats lost their heads and their cooks had to find some other way to make a living. They started restaurants. This hyper-competitive situation caused the French restaurants to evolve into something special.

An English friend of mine insists that cheap travel and EU work permits have made all the difference -- she says that since the 60s and the increase in lower and middle class travel British diners have been more demanding after they return home (there were always GREAT restaurants in London serving the upper and upper middle classes, after all).

What *she* sees as different now is the number of young British cooks who have worked and trained abroad and come home to open neighborhood restaurants or country restaurants.

Traditional English cuisine is not so bad, just a bit bland. I mean, there's nothing inherently wrong with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, meat pies, etc. if they are prepared well. I've lived in France and french-speaking Switzerland for years and you can get some pretty dismal food here too, beleive me. British cuisine's bad reputation probably originated because of this relative blandness, but it was cemented during the post WWII period when the Brits had to continue rationing even after the war because the country was broke. My father-in-law tells stories about the unbelievably bad food in London in the 1950s, and everyone blamed it on rationing.

Say, isn't there an old Ealing comedy about a neighbourhood in London that becomes French because of an old treaty that somebody finds? Instantly the food and weather improve, but at the end of the movie when the treaty is torn up and the neighbourhood reverts back to Britain, it immediately starts pouring rain.

Read the book Beef and Liberty, Ben Rogers' book of "Food Nationalism". He traces the relationship in the 18th century between the British figure of John Bull, the consumption of vast quantities of beef, and the fight against France. One neat aspect is how he shows how the French are portrayed as scrawny, undernourished weeds who eat frog legs covered in snooty sauces to mask the taste of their bad food. In contrast, Britain is portrayed as the land of plenty, of delicious beef and pudding nourishing the national will.

On Rogers' view, the reason why British cuisine failed to develop then was because the ingredients were of too high quality. In contrast, the French had to develop all sorts of sauces and so on to cover up the taste of the frogs and snails they were reduced to eating.

Krugman had what I think was an excellent piece on this a while back (and I speak as an English chef/social scientist!!)
http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/mushy.html

american in europe said:

"Say, isn't there an old Ealing comedy about a neighbourhood in London that becomes French because of an old treaty that somebody finds?"

Passport to Pimlico (1949)
http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/441383/index.html

British food isn't that bad. American food isn't that great either.
I'd rather have my mum's cooking than meatloaf or tuna casserole or whatever American mothers feed their children.
Other than BBQ and tacos, what american food is worth eating?
It's outrageous to have American people insult british food when the food in Britian is on average far better.

Cheeseburgers can be pretty great, Andrew; southern fried chicken, too.

Shameless self-promotion time, but following the post by d edwards.

I have a fairly long article (3000 words) that I am hoping to publish in a magazine somewhere on a very closely related subject -- the persistence of bad beer in Britain until CAMRA changed things, and what that means. On the off chance that anyone is interested they can find it at http://whimsley.typepad.com/whimsley/2006/01/learning_by_dri.html.

Andrew,

Just an off-the-top of my head listing of amazingly good American food that isn't easy to get elsewhere:

Strawberry shortcake
Pecan pie
Sweet corn, especially when made into corn pudding
Sweet potatoes, especially when made into candied sweet potatoes with pecans
West Tennessee barbecue
New York style pizza
Spoonbread
Turnip Greens

'You can get cheeseburgers as easily in Britain as in the US.'

Maybe you can now, but you couldn't 30 years ago. Mostly they were 'Wimpy burgers'. They were horrible.

I spent almost the entire year 1975 kicking around Europe, and without question the worst food was in England. Even a poor country like Spain had much better food (and at lower prices) in its ordinary restaurants than England.

I'm guessing that the British masses made do with very poor quality food during six years of war, and were too poor (and too Socialistic) to do much about it improving it until Maggie Thatcher unleashed the economy.

I suspect Barkley Rosser's idea that it has to do with the availability of good and varied ingredients is correct.

Tacos are American? No way! (Burritos are, so there's some consolation...)

The terrible English food is just the ying to the yang of English beer being the best in the world, and only the beligians are even in the same league. And the tea. You can't have everything.

A generation or two ago many poorer children in rural and semi-rural areas in Europe supplimented their diets with hunter/gatherer type activities such as stealing bird's eggs, trapping, fishing, eating nectar from flowers, picking berries, etc. Perhaps France's warmer climate sustains a greater bounty of such food, making it practical for things such as frogs and snails become part of the adult diet as well as that of children. This would have given French Chefs many extra foods and flavors to create dishes with.

Also, I have spoken to Americans who say they eat out a few times a week. Not so long ago I would have eaten out just a few times a year. I imagine the large difference in demand would have an effect.

A few years ago I visited London, after 25 years' absence. I was assured that British food had changed. Some English friends took me to a British restaurant to demonstrate the food had not only improved, it was cosmopolitan. The menu included lasagna, which I ordered along with a salad a glass of wine. The lasagna seemed to be a thick red paste-- it was accompanied by chips; the salad was lettuce and something unpleasant as a dressing; the wine was rot gut. I had several good meals in London, but all of them at restaurants owned, and mostly frequented, by foreigners. I also had several lunches at pubs. Comfort food, just like a quarter century ago: not bad, with ale.

The main reason it was so bad are those given in your post. The proof of this assertion is that the same conditions apply in Russia today, and the same results follow. The food is terrible and appears to be entirely canned or pickled.

England has some good foods, though - I loved the elderflower wine and the lamb chops. Ploughman's Lunch was a big favorite, along with the wonderful cider. Still, the worst thing I ever ate in my life was fried bread. It was in England, of course, right there with the evil-tasting Marmite. I had no problem with tongue, or with steak-n-kidney pie, but I drew the line at Marmite.

Having knocked Brit cuisine above, I will confess that when
I am over there I do always try to get at least one meal in
a good pub where I can have a nice steak and kidney pie with
a pint of bitters. Of course, the Indian restaurants are the
best in the world outside of India, at least in London, and
clearly the places to spend most of one's time eating while there.

Add to the list of good American foods:

Jambalaya
Shrimp Creole
Etoufee
Pralines
Gumbo
Cornbread
Chicken & Dumplings
Fried catfish
Fried alligator

Not universally American, of course. But growing up poor in Louisiana was, cuisine-wise, much better than it would have been elsewhere in the US.

With all this talk of English food, no one has mentioned the Cream Tea - something that we do best at. I mean it is something so simple yet so enjoyable and nothing beats having lashings of Cornish clotted cream and jam on scones, with some tea on a hot summers day. Ok, we haven't got the best reputation for food but at the end of the day but it's all about local ingredients and historical circumstances as has been stated in other posts. In fact, some English foods are making a comeback as "cusine" foods, such as the sausage which was once made of purely left over meat but now many brands use quality ingredients and different recipes for different flavours. PS, nothing beats a good roast dinner or an English breakfast!!

English Cuisine has many many great dishes as do all cuisines. What spoils it all is "Bad Cooking" To paraphrase a well known writer on Portuguese food who said Portugal has the finest ingredients but the worst cooks, so we have in Britain wonderful ingredients, but you wont find them in your local supermarket, and sure as hell, none of the catering establishments you are likely to visit will be using them. And given that large numbers of the British public eat meals regularly in industrial canteens where the sauces come out of tins, are probably "tandoori" and are slathered over water-pumped chicken, slammed into an oven, and placed on a hot counter to sweat for several hours, before being consumed and pronounced delicious ! Any definition of good food is so subjective as to be almost meaningless. Ponder on this-even the worst greasy spoon in the land will have its regulars, who will maintain that they enjoy the food and so by definition to them it's "good food"

The truth about the British and food is that as long as its cheap, they will happily eat crap,and pronounce it delicious. They know very little about food and take little interest. I know, because I am a chef and restaurateur. Many of the previous correspondents on this subject have sadly displayed their ignorance, and island mentality, by attacking the food of other countries. How come the most popular dishes in this country arent even British in origin ? Going back to the original thread of this diatribe, British food always was so bad and still is so bad, because we tolerate the most awful cooks and dont know enough to recognise substandard cooking.

English food versus American food?? The food in both these countries is by and large utter crap, there's nothing to choose between them. It's risible to see the title of this thread using the past tense, 'why WAS british food so bad?' - it bloody well STILL is and shows little sign of improving. Never mind all these gourmet london chefs whining about english plebs not appreciating their wonderful, ridiculously overpriced creations, or the multitude of cooking and food programmes on tv - when you go to eat out in london or anywhere in england it's a lottery no matter how much you pay, and the odds that you'll get a decent meal aren't much better than the national lottery either. As for eating at someone else's house, well you're better off pretending you aren't hungry when the food comes up because most people are crap cooks but think they're good, here and in the US. English and American food is a collective national embarrasment and the wonder is that there is so much obesity in the 2 countries, how can so many people bring themselves to gorge on such revolting tasteless garbage!!?

British food IS appallingly bad (steak and kidney pie is a culinary torture akin to waterboarding prisoners at Gitmo), and in many parts of the US "American" food is almost as inedible, no question. Both countries are seeing better cuisine in general thanks to local insistence on better, fresher ingredients. However, in the US the market is overwhelmed with franchised restaurant food, prepared and frozen at centralized facilities from barely-acceptable-quality ingredients and then heated up at Your Local Fast Food Joint.

There are some places where you get better food. In California, fresh produce is available year-round, and the people who bother to cook seek out those better ingredients. I for one am happy to clean the dirt off of just-picked green beans (all beans originated in the Americas, you know) from the local farmers market for my dinner. The guy who cracked that he can't get good food in San Francisco is delusional. There is incredible food available up there. He must be eating at Burger King at every meal.

What will it take for British food to really escape the stigma of its horrific past? It's cultural. Value food as more than simple fuel. Recognize the atrocities for what they are and don't romanticize them (spotted dick?! Steamed puddings?! Meat pies?!?!). Learn how to cook, for God's sake; beef tenderloin somehow doesn't thrill when it's cooked to the consistency of a hockey puck, and don't stew vegetables until they have the color and texture of newspaper soaked in paint thinner.

I think the poster who mentioned that Americans like their flavours bigger and stronger than the English must have something wrong with her taste buds ! I lived in California for 2 years in the early 90's and the universal aspect of the food there I was most struck by was that it all had so little taste. Even the delicious looking fruits and vegetables in the shops and supermarkets, from apples to garlic, tasted of naff all when you got them home and tucked in. The retail food outlets there are much the same as here in England - brimming with pre-packaged, pre-cooked, pre-prepared nasty crap for lazy people ( squeeze cheese, hickory smoked bbq sauce, gigantic packets of doritos, cake mixes etc.. - only more so, and the only all pervading tastes contained therein are those of sugar ( American baked beans are so sweet they taste like a dessert, their sliced bread tastes sweet, and the ubiquitous 'high fructose corn syrup' seems to wind up in every bloody thing you can think of ) and salt, and since there has been some pressure put on processed food manufacturers to reduce salt content in their products, even the taste of salt has been removed from many. No, I'm afraid pitching American food against English food is a bit like picking the winner of an arse kicking contest between 2 one legged men. The one thing that can be said in favour of English food is that it's terrible but by and large at least we only poison ourselves with it, the Americans on the other hand have vigorously - through the likes of macdonalds, KFC, pizza hut, burger king, coca-cola et al - taken to poisoning the rest of the world with theirs !!

British food has come a long way in the last decade. As we're now a multi-cultural society a lot of European and East Asian dishes are now served at least once on a British table.

Here's some foods I would class as good British dishes:

Fish & Chips
Steak and Ale pie with mashed potato
Cornish Pasties
Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Bangers and Mash

I honestly believe too it all depends on where you get them. For example, Fish and Chips from one establishment may be greasy and horrible with under-cooked chips whereas at another may be perfect.

Travel to the North of England (Lancashire and Yorkshire) for the best "chippies".

I'm an englishman and I live in the US, south Florida. Its not easy here to find a good restaurant as most are franchise. The franchise lowers the standard of the food and to a certain extent the choice. But you can find great restaurants with good food at good prices. It takes time to find them. I lived in Brazil for twenty years and got use to really good steaks, fresh fruit & vegetables from the street markets. Never had a good steak in the US. Only good steak in UK was a Aberdeen Angus, so its really a Scottish Steak? Other good steaks I've eaten were from Ireland and Poland. I'm even surprised at the lack of fruit choices in the supermarkets here in FL considering the climate here locally is ideal for many varieties. Hard to beleive but it is difficult to find good fresh citrus, once again Brazils fabulous range of fresh fruit right off the market stalls has spoilt me.

Wolfgang Puck although a franchise does offer some interesting choices. I recently found a Vegetarian Indian restaurant (Woodlands on University Drive,)that does a simple buffet of Indian food, very affordable at about $7 per person.

Funny when i first arrived in Brazil I ate in a Japenes restaurant in Rio, I hated it, (my english taste buds, etc at that time rejected it) and then never ate in another one for about twenty years until I moved back to Sao Paulo. I then got introduced to Sushi in Sao Paulo, Brazil also a great place for Italian food and the best Pizzas (cooked in wood burning ovens) I've ever eaten. Another great place for great food is in Curitiba in the South of Brazil, go to the area called "felicidade". Of course if you like meat then they have great "Churrascarias" in the South of Brazil as well.

Interesting I'v found a great Sushi restaurant to have lunch here in Sunrise, Florida, about $10 per person. Interestingly many of the Publix supermarkets ner where I live (ZIP 33321) have a "Sushi Man" and you can get reasonable fresh made SUSHI dishes to take home.

I recently travelled to Barbados and had a great fish dishes ( Marlin, Swordfish, Mahi-Mahi) right at the fish market at Oistins, real simple setting sat on wooden benchs $10!!

A couple of years ago went to Cordoba in Argentina, onca agin great food and was very cheap due to the exchange rate drop in favor of the US Dollar.

I spent a week in Montreal and had great food, visited the Italian market on a sunny September weekday, what color and variety. Had the best Chicken Caeser Salad at the small restaurent there, most succulent and tasty chicken breast I've ever eaten along with fresh salad.

Recently spent sometime in Lima, Peru. Fantastic Cevich, can and did eat it for lunch every day whilst there. Excellent fresh corn dishes, loved the really large corn that came with the Cevich as a side salad / vegetable.

After eating more than my fair share of red meat in Brazil I now rarely eat it at all, more due to personal health reasons. I prefer eat more Chicken or fish now. As my youngest son is a vegetarian and lives at home we do eat a lot of vegetarian dishes, which can be varied and taste really great.

Once again I or my wife cook and a major part of what we eat is homeade, we both take home made food into work for lunch, contrary to many other co-workers who either eat Tv type frozen dinners or bring in a Wendy's.

Interesting the Fast Food chains here in US are starting to offer healthier alternatives, Wendy's have some fresh salads and leaner sandwiches, along with fruit salads.

Unfortunately the worst food to be avoided at all costs is found at our local airports of Miami, Fort Lauderdale.

Luckily I had a Mum that introduced me to Home made Curries, served with fresh fruit side dishes all this back in the late 1950's. I must admit people thought I was strange eating such exotic food in those days of the Sunday meat and two veg lunch and awfull school dinners. Still it took me a while to get away from my English childhood food tastes. But eventually good food, well prepared will win out and you drop the likes for some of the worst English concoctions.

So really the best food is the result of the personal touch all along the chain from farmer to preparer or cook, takes time and love to produce it.

Mass production farming just kills it, makes it cheap maybe, but sucks the life out of it.
I now have great respect for the French Farmer wanting to keep their farms producing top quality produce rather than give in to mass produced corporate crap that seems to have become the norm elsewhere. My mouth waters at the thought of picking up a crusty Baguette, fresh butter with some cheese or Pate and munching it down with a glass of good red wine, something found very easily in most french towns.

Thankfully you can get great food and ingredientes in UK nowadays, thanks to the EU common market. As someone said the access to overseas travel since the 1960's has made the difference to UK taste buds which has spurred the availabilty and choice of many food products in UK shops.

Peter C

After spending a few years (1979 through 1982) in Europe, I've found the British fare to be the worst. I’ve enjoyed German, Italian and Spanish the most. The French cuisine was ok at best (mostly overrated), but I'm not all that fond of snails and such.
What came to mind was, who was the first French guy to look at a slimy snail trail, track it to it's source, and utter those immortal words "Mmmmmm Yummy!"... This is where the shiver runs up and down my spine.

And British burgers don’t even compare to American Burgers†¦. Example, you can travel all over Britannia and find American burger houses, but I’ve yet to see a Brit burger house anywhere in America.

I would also like to see a BBQ house anywhere in Europe that compares with anything in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma (just to name a few). Or even any Tex-Mex in the South Western States.

I could go on and on, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll just leave it at this:
I’ll take the hodgepodge of American cuisine over the blandness of Brit food anytime.

i luve gordon hes great

Hmm! nice blog,I am a huge fan of briritsh food. Today i am searching for a special restaurant that serve nice food in London then i find http://www.lacartes.com that have directory of over 1000 of Chinese, Italian, French, Thai,mexican and Turkish restaurants and takeaways.

One of the most memorable dishes I ever ate was a glorious steak-and-kidney pie served when my (then) wife and I were visiting some of her step-relatives (her mother married three times) in the English countryside. I also liked the steak-and-kidney pie with a half of bitter at a pub near where I worked in Westminster in the 60s. I admit that, when I first landed in England from Oklahoma, I was amazed at the idea of canned beans on toast -- and even more at canned spaghetti on toast. But the fish and chips were good and nothing horrible sticks in mind.

What seems obvious from this thread is that Tastes Differ. And every meal or dish is a new experience (unless you patronize food factories like Burger King or Red Lobster). My (now) husband and I at home mostly think of something different to do with beans or pasta or rice. To eat out, there are good Indian restaurants nearby in Jackson Heights, Queens (the Jackson Diner, Ashoka), and an excellent and inexpensive little French family restaurant, Les Pergola des Artistes, in NYC's theatre district. And in the Village, there's Chez Brigitte, an eleven-seat lunch counter where a cook from Madrid carries on the simple Marseille traditions of the founder.

In England because of our relative stabilty - by the 16th century the food -farming industry were efficiant at supplying the larger cities - Beef - Pork - Lamb Game could all be had even by peasents at least once a week.

Contrast France who filled out on snails - Frogs - horses and sparrows - of course they developed wonderful sauces to enhance the flavours.

Boring England basically did not need to leading to somewhat bland traditional cooking.

(continued from my previous post)

Also, I very much doubt yout thesis that "[m]ulti-ethnic British cities are a fantastic place to find food these days". Apart from London, which is very un-British in many ways, international restaurants in Britain are probably 90% Asian (South Asian and Southeast Asian). In other words there is a distinct lack of variety among those restaurants in Britain which are both good and affordable. It is extremely difficult to find, say, a decent and affordable French, German, or Hungarian restaurant in Britain. In Canada for example, this is so much easier.

Another interesting aspect is that many of the best restaurants outside London are located in tiny remote villages, and are hence not accessible to those without a car. Cities such as York, Sheffield, or Leicester are the places where such restaurants should rather be.

It is certainly possible to purchase good ingredients at affordable prices in British supermarkets, even though some products (such as nuts) are horribly expensive compared to many other countries. However, this is not really a good solution in times in which most of us have to spend more of their time working. Moreover, imported specialties have horrendous mark-ups in Britain. Imported cheese from France or chocolate from Switzerland, for example, can be had much eacher in Canadian than in British supermarkets, even though the distance is much longer.

In that sense Britain still has a very long way to go in terms of good food.

I wonder if the prevailing mindset and lifestyle have anything to do with determining the nature of a country's cooking/eating habits... Soul-less corporate food, no matter what country we're talking about, would seem to thrive where people - and now I'm going to use that trite, universal refrain - "can't be bothered" to cook something from scratch. Maybe it's because some people don't enjoy being in the kitchen, can't see it as anything more than a chore, can't derive happiness from preparing and consuming food, or think of such enjoyment as somehow a waste of time, as unvirtuous. In some cases it is indeed laziness that keeps people addicted to "ready foods", but in others, it also seems to be tied in to personality.
PS - I'm in Canada.

As a Scot and Brit I do concede that there is a lot of bad food in the UK, mostly because far too many people have no concept of good ingredients and proper cooking methods. Convenience is the name of the game for lots of people and they'll settle for bad quality food if it can be prepared quickly and fills you up.

That is not to say that British food is universally bad however especially when you consider the availability of ingredients, the traditions and recipes that have had hundreds of years to mature. Good quality British pork products are in my opinion the best in the world, it's a shame you're not likely to find a good pork pie or really great sausages in supermarkets but go to a good butcher, farm shop/market, bakeries etc. and you'll find the good stuff. Of course it comes at a price, the best British food isn't mass produced and the cost reflects that.

There's a comforting simplicity to British food too, it's food to warm you up after a hard day, a long walk in the countryside or after a miserable wait for the bus in the pouring rain. Nearly all our food reflects the lifestyle of most British people - in a climate like ours and with the conditions in which we live, that is to say long working hours and the tendency for the skies to be grey is it any wonder that the preferred cuisine is what it is - lots of meat and carbs, high energy and filling. Sitting down to a plate of escargot doesn't sound as appealing to me after a long, wet day as a nice plate of roast chicken, gravy, veg and most importantly a pint of British ale.

Mass produced, mass market food is always going to be bad - I've yet to come across a country where that isn't true. Go to the small places, the family owned places, the genuine producers and places that appreciate good quality ingredients. Britain has an extraordinary natural larder available, living as I do in Scotland there's always great Beef, Pork, Chicken and game (and I challenge anyone not to enjoy a roast haunch of wild Scottish venison or the excellent variety of fish available here) not to mention the almost unrivalled variety of cheese - the French like to think they know cheese but I'd disagree, British cheese is without a doubt the best in the world, made from cows allowed to graze on lush green pasture (thank the rain for the green and fertile British countryside) and produced using ancient methods, matured as necessary and enjoyed as is.

Then theres the Beer and Cider, grapes of course don't grow terribly well across much of our island so the focus was made on perfecting Beers and Cider, the result being the massive variety of styles and regional variation available today, produced in the traditional way. It always makes me a bit angry to see people selecting some mass produced, chemical filled formulaic lager product when all this delicious and genuine real ale and cider is available to them.

This country lad wouldn't trade our cuisine for anything, nothing else fits our character and country - it was developed by us, for our needs and the opinion of other nationalities matters very little to me. Food means different things to different countries, I enjoy the cuisines of different countries but know a huge amount of it is entirely unsuited to Britain.

I came across this discussion after googling the question 'Why is American food so bad?', having just spent six weeks of gastronomic torture in the Land of the Free.

Heck, NOTHING was cooked with herbs, except the occasional coriander ('cilantro') thrown on various things as a garnish. There was quite a lot of spice, very often killing any taste the raw ingredients might have once possessed, but the most striking thing was the sheer QUANTITIES served of endless confections based on refined fats, starches and sugars.

The strangest thing of all was that there were plenty of great raw ingredients - especially fish - but that these were MASSACRED by the local population, with batters, 'breading' and awful chemical sauces. And that the locals seemed to have NO IDEA about different cooking-times for different ingredients (or, indeed, about appropriate cooking-times at all).

I'm English, living in Amsterdam. Both English and Dutch traditional cuisine are bland and unimaginative,. But British supermarkets are now FULL of great ingredients and even great prepared food (especially Waitrose). And Amsterdam has almost shockingly inventive chefs who specialize in novel combinations and very precise cooking.

I had a VERY good pizza (and one of the best IPAs I've ever tatsed) at American Flatbreads in Burlington, Vermont (easily the best food and drink in 6 weeks - the next best place was Ore's café on the plaza in Santa Fe NM). And I saw (but didn't taste) something that actually looked like edible bread on my last day in New York (Le Pain Quotidien - a recent anglo-french import).

But the general quantity and quality of American food was, along with the horrendous resulting obesity, the most striking aspect of a six-week family holiday in America.

I think in fact, that as with the language of our transatlantic cousins, the reliance on spices rather than herbs and over-cooking is a throwback to seventeenth-century colonial culture. Old English cookbooks use lots of sugar and spices with meat, for example, but almost no herbs (which were seen as medicinal rather than culinary). Until the Revolution, America was a provincial backwater, developing more slowly that the metropolitan cultures across the Atlantic, which the US only began to rival economically (though still not culturally) around a century ago.

Maybe when America becomes a more civilized place, they'll start to learn about using herbs and thinking about cooking-times and quality unrefined ingredients.

Oh, and BTW, it was the Romans who invented snail-farming and eating 2000 years ago. The French simply continued the idea. OK, it's all about garlic, herbs, good olive oil, and texture. Maybe that's why the Yanks don't understand it

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