Here are some favorite British foods and sauces that Americans love. I have personally tested these with my American relatives and friends. There are certain items that are loved by all and some that are loved by enough people that they are worth adding to the list.
Some of the items are somewhat expensive, because they have to be imported. Some of the items can be bought in large grocery stores where you will regularly find them on special offer cheaper than you can buy them online.
After 20 years, I can find many goods in the store that are an acceptable substitute for UK foods, such as “ShowBoat” baked beans. These beans are cheap and are a good substitute for Heinz baked beans. Other items are specific to the UK. There is no US substitute for HP sauce, OXO cubes or Bisto. There is no substitute for parsley sauce either, this is a big hit with my US family.
Bisto Gravy Powder. Mix water with the powder as instructed on the packet. Crumble an OXO cube, or 2, depending on the amount of gravy you are making. Simmer in a pan while stirring continuously until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and serve. If you are cooking meat or chicken, you can add a little of the meat dripping to the gravy mix.
OXO Cubes. These are easy crumble stock cubes that come in a variety of flavors such as beef, chicken, vegetarian. I normally use the beef stock cubes for every type of meal. They can be crumbled into the Bisto gravy mix, or used as an additive to a meat preparation. I always add 2 cubes to 1lbs of ground beef and 3 cubes to 2lbs of ground beef when preparing Shepherd’s Pie.
HP Sauce. This type of sauce is called brown sauce in the UK and it goes well with most pork and beef dishes. It is also good for breakfast with bacon and sausages. It is vaguely similar to A1 steak sauce. If you like A1 you will like HP sauce.
Parsley Sauce. This is a savory cream sauce seasoned with parsley. It is probably the most popular sauce in my circle of family and friends. It has even been given the thumbs up from a Columbian friend. I don’t make it from scratch, I buy Colemans Parsley Sauce mix. You mix it with milk, heat the mix and serve with ham or fish dishes.
Kerrygold Irish Butter. Very popular and it can be found in large grocery stores. It is expensive, and I only buy it when it is on special offer. The specials sometimes bring the price down to the cheapest of domestic butters.
Irish Sausages. Irish sausages are normally made with ground pork, though they are sometimes made with a ground pork and beef mixture. They normally include raw eggs and breadcrumbs. My favorite sausage for breakfast or sausage and mash meals. The drawback is that if you buy them online, they are expensive and I have only found them to be available in stores in places such as New York. An acceptable substitute that I use is to buy the basic breakfast sausage, but they are still a little spicy.
Some Like It, Some Hate It
Branston Pickle. A sweet, spicy chutney, containing chunks of vegetables in a thick brown sauce. It is commonly served as part of a ploughman’s lunch, which is basically crusty bread, butter and chunks of cheese. I like it, but I have found that its popularity is a 50/50 split with American born people. It is an acquired taste I think.
English Mustard. This is a very strong yellow mustard which is vaguely similar to the yellow Chinese mustard found in restaurants. Many people find it too hot. I like it and normally spread it on ham sandwiches to give them a bit of a kick. I tend to buy the powdered mustard because it seems stronger and I can mix a small amount when I need it. The powder lasts longer than the ready mixed variety.
Beans On Toast. I still can’t persuade many American born people that this is a wonderful snack, most people won’t even try it. They associate baked beans with BBQ.
Favorite Meals and Snacks
- Ham, boiled potatoes, peas with Parsley sauce.
- Shepard’s Pie.
- Sausage and mashed potato, with Bisto and OXO gravy.
- Bacon, fried eggs, sausage, fried tomato, baked beans in tomato sauce, all accompanied by HP sauce.
- Ground beef prepared with OXO cubes, with boiled or mashed potatoes.
- Fresh Cod with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce, (no batter on the fish).
- Roast chicken dinner, with roasted potatoes, roasted zucchini, peas, cauliflower and a Bisto and OXO gravy.
- Extra sharp cheddar cheese with Branston Pickle.
- Ham sandwich with Branston Pickle.
- Cheese sandwich with Branston Pickle.
- Ham sandwich with English Mustard.
Naturally, I like fish (Cod) and chips (fries) but I haven’t managed to make it to the UK Fish and Chip Shop standard yet and I can’t get the required standard in restaurants here, they use too much batter, the batter is not crispy enough and they usually don’t use Cod. The chips are not the same either. The chip shop must fry their chips in the same oil as the fish, maybe that’s the difference.
I get most of my items online from Goodwoods British Market. I don’t know if they are the cheapest, but they are reliable and the expiry date on the foods are good. I buy some of the items, such as Kerrygold butter in the grocery store when it is on special offer.