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TV Dinners and Canned food?Rush-Hour
So what do people eat when they have busy schedules and want to eat something quick and easy in the U.K? Well, in general many U.K. homes have more storage space and larger refrigerators, along with often a separate freezer. With many shops opening at 9:00 a.m. and closing at 5:30 p.m. it is not always possible to ‘go shopping’ after work without jumping in the car and going to a large shopping center, parking and heading to the supermarket. Many suburban towns have what is known as a ‘high street’, but with increased competition from large supermarkets and online shopping many ‘high streets’ in the U.K. are struggling. Buying an emergency carton of milk or a loaf of bread is like in Japan done at the local convenience store or newsagent. The range of food is limited and although a little higher than the big supermarkets quite reasonable. Many people do a ‘weekly shop’ in the U.K by car and need food that can be stored for a longer period of time such as canned food and frozen meals.


So what kind of canned food?


Courtesy of Hiveminer.com

One of the most popular kinds of canned foods are ‘Baked Beans’. These are basically haricot beans in tomato sauce (not ketchup). They are very cheap with cans coming in different sizes. Many large supermarkets also stock their own brands and can be seen for as little as 30 pence (approx 45 JPY). Baked beans are served hot and for some considered ‘student food’. Easy and popular meals are ‘Beans on Toast’, as the filling in a large ‘Jacket Potato’ or ‘Baked Potato’ or added to a main meal such as ‘fish and chips’. There are several varieties of baked beans including those with small sausages too. Alongside baked beans, is canned spaghetti, again in the same tomato sauce. The spaghetti is cut into short strips, but different versions including alphabet shapes and ravioli (pasta pillows filled with meat) can also be found.  Like baked beans it is often put on toast, for a cheap hot meal for children and adults. Another popular canned food in the U.K. is ‘Rice Pudding’. Rice pudding is a milk based dessert served either hot or cold. It consists mainly of rice mixed with milk, sugar and sometimes raisins or cinnamon. Of course many Japanese that I know here in Tokyo usually cringe at the mention of creamy rice with added sugar.



Courtesy of Hiveminer.com


Courtesy of Ocado.com


Did you know Fish have Fingers?


Courtesy of Birdseye.co.uk

Well, not really, this is another strange name given to a common TV dinner for children or adults. The ‘Fish Fingers’ are actually strips of cod or haddock coated in a breadcrumbs or light batter. They are actually quite healthy and a good source of Omega3 and the company that makes them in the UK is the largest holder of the M.S.C.- Ecolabel- (Marine Stewardship Council) in the world meaning that the fish is sourced from responsible and sustainable supplies. Birdseye.co.uk .Fish Fingers are often eaten with vegetables such as peas or with beans and chips!


What about if you’re out and about?
There is a common dish throughout the UK known as ‘The Cornish Pasty’.


Courtesy of propercornish.co.uk/

In the southwest of England is an area known as Cornwall and the ‘Cornish’ part of the pasty name refers to this area of the UK.  A Cornish Pasty can be described as a meat and vegetable baked pastry. It is made by placing some meat and vegetables on a circle of shortcrust pastry and then folding it over before crimping the edges together. It is then baked in an oven and can be eaten hot or cold. At one time it was thought to have become popular with coal miners, as they could eat it by holding the outside thick edge, so they didn’t need to use a knife and fork or get coal on the food down in the mines. This has since been discarded as untrue. They are delicious and especially good on cold winter days. Again they are especially popular as a lunchtime snack or as a full dinner with vegetables or the above baked beans.


Whichever you come across in the UK, we recommend you give them a try at least once. You may even like them, including the Rice Pudding!!