Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
May 23, 2010 11:42 PM

British and other cuisines focusing on locally sourced ingredients [from UK board]

I think Gordito explained himself well. I think what he meant by a 'California feeling,' has nothing to do with Turkish food per se. Years ago, a style of cooking sprung up in California that was epitomized by a restaurant like Chez Panisse - also places found in the Napa Valley - an attempt to use in-season produce, lighter meals, locally sourced etc.

It sounds like what's happened in the UK, too! :-)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Seasonal; locally sourced?

    I'd have said that's the essence of British cuisine.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Of good British cuisine too, certainly! Without meaning to get the thread too far off topic, I'd suggest that anyone who is interested might want to check out one of the cookbooks by Alice Waters, the chef at Chez Panisse. She has several but the one we use at home is _The Art of Sinple Food_.

      1. re: Gordito

        I'm glad to see we were thinking on the same plane, so to speak. Someone should do a treatise about the similarity of 'fresh California style' vs British... would be interesting.

        1. re: zuriga1

          A much wider subject - cooking local and seasonal is a strong feature of many countries. I think particularly of Cyprus, Italy and Spain, where I have some reasonable knowledge.

          1. re: Harters

            I know this thread will be pulled soon. A bit of Googling found this... seems the main theme of California cuisine is fusion mixed with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Here's where the two cuisines differ. More to be found in Wiki if anyone is interested.

              1. re: Harters

                I think Harters is exactly right on this
                (Seasonal; locally sourced? I'd have said that's the essence of British cuisine.).
                If you look back at English inter-war cuisine it's remarkably similar in spirit to the food of Alice Waters, with a pronounced emphasis on lightness of touch, seasonality, quality of produce etc. This was probably the point at which english cooking was at it's most self-assured, and deliberately worked to eschew the received wisdom of la grande cuisine, preferring light dressings of oils and herbs to compliment and contrast with the flavours on show rather than the sauces and emulsifications of the french tradition which seek to enrich and synthesise flavour. English food was predominantly about what had been freshly picked from the kitchen garden, and displays of produce a la the Chez Panisse cafe were a common center pieces on the tables of grand country houses, which in this period is still where most of the highest level cooking was exhibited. Anyone interested would be advised to read one of Alice Waters books alongside Arabella Boxer's Book of English Food, an absolutely fantastic cookbook.

                1. re: skut

                  Interesting comment about the interwar years, skut. It's not a period I know much about, in food terms. My area of historical study is the Great War and, now I think of it, I can see how that might relate particularly to the cuisine of the middle and upper middle classes.

                  There had been food rationing duiring that time (as later in WW2), so there will become a much greater reliance on home grown (and , therefore, seasonal) foods. Many of the "great houses" suffered as employees went off to war and, in many cases, did not come back. The population move to the towns and cities also increased as industrialisation took a still firmer hold. Both will have meant that simpler farming and cooking methods will have been needed - there was not the staff to do otherwise.

                  Certainly an interesting area to do some follow-up reading. I keep meaning to find a research project for the immediate postwar period. Food sounds as good a subject as anything. Thanks for the pointer.


                  1. re: skut

                    Really? What are your sources for this?

                    I don't think California cuisine and British cooking are particularly related, myself.

          2. re: Gordito

            I'm not keen on that one tbh. One of the Chez Panisse books would be better.