English cuisine was primarily shaped during the Victorian era. The diet relies heavily on meats, dairy products, wheat, and root vegetables. The English are famous for their flower gardens, but they are also known for their kitchen gardens, which yield an abundance of herbs and vegetables. Breakfast is very hearty and generally consists of bacon, eggs, grilled tomato, and fried bread. Kippers (smoked herring) are also popular at breakfast. Many Britons still partake in afternoon tea, which consists of tiny sandwiches (no crust) filled with cucumber or watercress, scones or crumpets with jam or clotted cream, cakes or tarts, and a pot of hot tea. Tea shops abound in England, Wales, and Scotland, and Britons drink about four cups of tea a day. Coffee is also very popular with the younger generation.
The pub (short for "public house") is a central part of life and culture in the United Kingdom (Britain has over 61,000 pubs). British pubs are very cozy and homey, and they are famous for their beers, which are very strong. Pubs also serve food. The most common British pub meal is the "ploughman's lunch," named for traditional farmworkers. It consists of a large chunk of cheese, a hunk of homemade bread, pickled onion, and ale. Other popular menu items are shepherd's pie, Cornish pastry, Stargazy pie, and Lancashire hot pot. Britain's most famous dish is fish and chips, traditionally made with cod or pollack. There are some 8,500 fish-and-chip shops across the United Kingdom—they outnumber McDonald's eight to one.
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