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Views of Britain


Food in Britain

Click to enlarge Illustration by Artur Kornacki from Liceum Sztuk Plastycznych in Supraśl, a winner in the British Council's Views of Britain competition in 1997

  • What do you know about eating habits in Britain?
  • Can you give the names of some typical British dishes?


Now read the passage.  Before you begin, make a note of any types of food which you associate with British breakfasts.


If you stay in a British hotel which caters for tourists you will often find these 'typically British' items on the breakfast menu:
  • porridge
  • bacon and eggs
  • sausages
  • toast
  • marmalade
  • tea

However, when we asked a group of British people what they usually have for breakfast, we got these answers:

"Just a cup of coffee.  I don't have time for anything else."
"Tea - and maybe some toast, when I have time."
"Cornflakes and coffee."
"Nothing.  I don't feel like eating in the morning."
"Muesli and coffee."
"Breakfast?  No - I have a snack in the middle of the morning - coke maybe and a packet of crisps."
"Yes, I like bacon and eggs.  But I only have it on Sundays.  I'm trying to cut down on fat!"

So, what has happened to the Great British Breakfast?  Why does it seem to be disappearing from people's lives?   Here are some possible reasons - can you complete the table?

   TIME Nowadays life seems to be busier.  People have to rush to work in the morning and have no time for a big breakfast.
   LIFE-STYLE More and more people drive cars and have jobs where they are sitting all day, so they don't need to eat so much.
   FAMILY A lot of women go out to work. It is no longer the case that every home has a housewife who prepares meals for the family.
   HEALTH Doctors tell us that .........................................
   TRAVEL More British people now travel to other countries for work or on holiday and .................................................................

  1. Have you ever had a traditional British breakfast?  Did you enjoy it?
  2. What do you usually have for breakfast ?
  3. What did your parents use to have for breakfast when they were at school?
  4. Are there any differences?  What are the reasons?
  5. Are eating habits in Poland changing?  Why (not)?
  6. What "foreign" foods might you find on a typical Polish shopping list?

For those of you interested in cooking British food try our recipes, both old and new, below.

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