London calling: An Alphabet of Sights from #Brexit-infused England 2020-F is for food

The Times cited an article noting that the impact of migration on the history and culture of London could do worse than read How immigrants have made London and the chapter on food. London’s first coffee house was opened in the 1650s by an Armenian from Smyrna called Pasqua Rosée, its most famous food, fish and chips, invented by 19th-century Jewish immigrants who ate fried fish (the first shop to sell London’s most famous staple dates to 1860 and was run by the Jewish Joseph Malins in Hackney’s Old Ford Road).

The UK now celebrates National Curry Week every October. While curry is an Indian dish modified for British tastes, it’s so popular that it contributes more than £5bn to the British economy.

It’s possible to find almost any country’s cuisine somewhere in the UK, and some are concentrated, eg in London’s Chinatown or the Bengali community in East London, and even some of our Caribbean cousins around the British Isles. Many have gone from ‘tasting funny’ or ‘being smelly’ or ‘a bit spicy’, to must-haves. If you’ve lived in or visited the UK, you’ll know the joys of a kebab or a curry and a few pints on any night. Britain has also put its peculiar spin on food, so nothing beats curry and chips, for some. I I I promise Ironically, several of Britain’s traditional food places and eats have been preserved by immigrants taking them on and perhaps adding little variations.

Let’s not get into the lineage of the current Royal family being German.

Boris Johnson knows the importance of migration and foreigners to the development of the UK, having been born in the USA to English parents, bounced to England and back to the USA and then Brussels as his parents sought work and educational opportunities while he was a child. Significant members of his current Cabinet are the offspring of immigrants. So, it’s mighty peculiar that Brexit has a major pillar that is about denying movement of people. But, that’s politics, and the last thing I would expect is consistency and coherence, there.

London calling: An Alphabet of Sights from #Brexit-infused England 2020-E is for Englishness

The 2016 referendum on whether or not to stay in the EU got a 52:48 percent result to leave. But, the UK voice was not consistent in that direction: England and Wales voted clearly to leave, while Northern Ireland and Scotland voted decisively to remain. Further analysis of these results and some of the trends were clear and well-known; one is that identification with ‘Englishness’ explains a lot. (Other salient factors included age (younger wanted to remain), educational levels and social class (higher in either tended to want to remain).)