Why food in Britain is so much better than France

Fifty years ago, the food in Britain was comically terrible. The Wimpy Bar was the place for a date, fish and chips was the limit of takeaway and if you were lucky you might get a packet of crisps at the pub. Everything French was better. French bread. French cheese. French wine. French restaurants, bistros, cafés. Today the positions are reversed. Britain is the land of foodie innovation, with every cuisine in the world represented, deconstructed, reinvented. Reopening after the lockdowns, even after a number of casualties, Britain will return to a cornucopia of diversity and plenty of quality. From gastropubs, diners, dim sum joints, tapas bars, and artisanal sourdough

In praise of the bacon butty

I was tipped off to meet a white Hyundai at a French motorway toll rest area at 2.30 p.m. (I would be driving a red Seat, I’d said.) My prearranged deal was for €230 worth of gear. I swung into the car park 20 minutes early and waited nervously. Ten minutes later the Hyundai appeared and parked in a nearby bay. A young blonde woman in Sweaty Betty leggings got out and opened the boot. I got out of my car, sidled over and gave my surname. She found my name on her list and ticked it off. Then she rummaged about among a heap of labelled packages until she

A guide to Greek eats – from souvlaki to spanakopita

The legacy of Greek antiquity extends to the country’s cuisine. One eats there as the Ancients would have done—Greek yoghurt and honey for breakfast, simply-cooked fish and cold wine for lunch and supper—as one reclines languidly on the klinai couch, grapes dangling from the mouth, like Dionysius and Adephagia. Greek food can sometimes be disparaged as crude and one-dimensional: the runt of the Mediterranean litter, overshadowed by the glorious culinary traditions of France and Italy. But, for me, its beauty lies in its simplicity. And while it is often familiar it is simultaneously unexpected: fat olives in spectacular Greek salads, but also acerbic caper leaves. Feta crumbled atop everything, but

Even hungry migrants won’t eat the food in Italy

A few months ago, Nigerian migrants housed at a government hostel in Milan suddenly refused to eat any more of the free food on offer. Italian food is monotonous and indigestable, they explained. Then they went berserk. This was not a one-off case. Far from it. There have been hunger strikes, demos, sit-ins and the odd riot in protest at the stuff. Recently, a group of mainly Pakistani migrants based in a Reggio Emilia hostel were given their own taxpayer-funded chef ‘specializzato in piatti pachistani e africani’. They had complained that Italian food was making them ill. Many migrants en route from Libya to who-knows-where are marooned in Italy for