ROSE PRINCE insists the dishes which ranked lowest on a list of UK meals are divine delicacies

Britain, it seems, is now a nation of fusspots. A YouGov poll published this week revealed that many of our classic foods, including savoury black pudding, glorious steak and kidney pud, juicy kippers gilded under the grill and fine Scottish haggis are, I regret to inform you, terrible.Well, not to me they aren’t. As a food writer, it helps that I’ll eat almost anything if it’s nicely cooked — but it turns out I’m in a non-picky minority. When people ask me what I don’t like, I’m always stumped.Increasingly, however, few people share these tastes. In the survey, more than 6,000 adults were asked whether they liked a list of typical British dishes. YouGov ranked them in five tiers according to how many people liked them, from 80 per cent or more to fewer than 50 per cent.Yorkshire pudding, bacon sandwiches and fish and chips were among the most highly rated, while poor old liver and onion, faggots and jellied eels shared the lowest tier.These results left me feeling angry, sad and frustrated — but not surprised. Call it squeamishness or fussiness, but the British are not the eclectic guzzlers we used to be.In some ways our diet is more varied than ever: the shops are filled with out-of-season fruits, exotic herbs, spices and, if you’re a millennial, avocados that simply weren’t on the shelves a few decades ago.But, as the survey shows, we have lost our taste for many of the dishes that sustained and satisfied our grandparents. I believe these foodstuffs deserve to be championed and defended, especially since younger respondents in the survey hated them the most. If we don’t act, we could lose them for ever.Liver and onion, steak and kidney pudding and laverbread — the Welsh seaweed and oatmeal dish eaten with bacon and cockles — are all delicious in their own right, and a joy if you have never tasted them before. They are, however, something of an acquired taste — and jellied eels are perhaps the most challenging of all.My mother was a good cook and, with six hungry children to feed, she kept an eye on old-fashioned home economics.She served us liver, lamb’s kidneys and ox tongue and made a stupendous steak and kidney pudding. Ox tongue, slow-cooked and served with a mustardy watercress sauce, was redolent of fillet of beef at a fraction of the cost.Liver was sliced thinly, then flash-fried in butter. Tender and a little pink in the middle, it was beautifully complemented by crisp bacon and smooth, buttery mashed potato.But many of us remember how disgusting the grey, leathery ‘school-dinner’ version of liver and onion was. Anyone reared on that will be unlikely to have served it to their children, which I think explains why youngsters are rejecting liver in their millions.Yet other factors are also at work. It is a national scandal that, while we have never had so much food in the shops, on TV or in print media, our cooking skills are often worse than they were a generation ago.Offal, as school-dinner liver showed, must not be clumsily cooked. It benefits from good presentation. Children in particular eat with their eyes and can be easily put off for ever by food with unusual textures.These days, too, we are likely to learn how to cook from TV rather than from our mothers. With few exceptions the celebrities brightening our screens favour only the most familiar ingredients: ‘prime’ cuts of meat such as rack of lamb, duck breasts, sirloin steak and so on.Seafood consists invariably of salmon, tiger prawns and cod. How much more useful it would be to show viewers the economic, practical and healthy benefits of cheap c ...Read more

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