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Over 4,600 Quotes About Food, Beverages, Agriculture and the Pleasures of the Table

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(See also: British Food)

England & English Food Quotes

“The bread I eat in London, is a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk, alum, and bone ashes: insipid to the taste, and destructive to the constitution.”
Tobias Smollett, 'The Expedition of Humphrey Clinker' (1771)


What passes for cookery in England is an abomination.....It is putting cabbages in water. It is roasting meat till it is like leather. It is cutting off delicious skins of vegetables.....A whole French family could live on what an English cook throws away.”
Virginia Woolf, 'To the Lighthouse' (1927)


“It is impossible to read English novels without realizing how important a part food plays in the mental as in the physical life of the Englishman.”
Elisabeth Luther Cary (1867-1936) American critic


"To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day."
W. Somerset Maugham


“It takes some skill to spoil a breakfast - even the English can't do it.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
'Quotable Feast' by Sarah E. Parvis (2001)


"Doctor Johnson defined a sauce as something which is eaten with food, in order to improve its flavor. It would be difficult to believe that a man of the intelligence and culture of Dr. Johnson....had expressed himself in these terms, if we did not know that Dr. Johnson was English. Even today his compatriots, incapable of giving any flavor to their food, call on sauces to furnish to their dishes that which their dishes do not have. This explains the sauces, the jellies and prepared extracts, the bottled sauces, the chutneys, the ketchups which populate the tables of this unfortunate people."
Alberto Denti di Piranjo
‘Educated Gastronome’ (1950)


"On the Continent people have good food; in England people have good table manners."
George Mikes, British author
‘How to be an Alien’ (1946)


"the art of cooking as practiced by Englishmen does not extend much beyond roast beef and plum pudding."
Pehr Kalm, Swedish visitor to England (1748)


“Every country possesses, it seems, the sort of cuisine it deserves, which is to say the sort of cuisine it is appreciative enough to want. I used to think that the notoriously bad cooking of the English was an example to the contrary, and that the English cook the way they do because, through sheer technical deficiency, they had not been able to master the art of cooking. I have discovered to my stupefaction that the English cook that way because that is the way they like it."
Waverly Root (1903-1982)


“I was well warned about English food, so it did not surprise me, but I do wonder sometimes, how they ever manage to prise it up long enough to get a plate under it.”
Margaret Halsey, American writer (1910-1997)


“The British Empire was created as a by-product of generations of desperate Englishmen roaming the world in search of a decent meal.”
Bill Marsano


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