About Buying British Food | The History of British Food | Introductions to Indian Food

The History Of British Food


Let's start with the history of a very common food, bread. The earliest breads were unleavened. They varied in thickness, grain, shape and texture. Bread has been one of the many principal foods for man for the earliest times. Bread isn't just a stable British food. There isn't a single area in the world I've not been able to buy bread.

The evidence from archaeologists confirms that yeast was used in Egypt as early as 4000 BC. This date is referenced by food historians as the discovery of leavened bread and the commencement of the brewing industry. Experts say that its possible brewing began when the first food cereal crops were domesticated and they also agree that the discovery yeast powers were accidental.

English Bread: Victorian Milk Bread The job of a baker is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Loaves of bread along with baps, rolls etc have been discovered in ancient Egyptian tombs. Loaves which were made and baked over 5,000 years ago can be found in British Museum galleries. You will also find on display grains of wheat which ripened in ancient summers under the Pharaohs. In pits where human settlements flourished 8,000 years ago wheat has been found.

Even in the early days the ancient Greeks and Romans referred to bread as a staple food. All those years ago they used to disagree over which bread was best, brown or white. Bread is referred to in the Bible numerous times. In the Stone Age stone crushed barley and wheat was made into solid cakes. All evidence points to the fact that bread making, preparing grain and making & baking the bread was a woman's work. In the larger households, and palaces of kings and princes the role of the baker was specialized. The poorer people bought their bread to the bakeries to be baked or alternatively they could buy it ready made.

When in England I buy British Bread in waxed packs for freshness. Unfortunately, this isn't for sale in USA.


Butter is a very pouplar British food. Butter Pairs perfectly with Bread. Let's now explore the history of butter.

It has been noted that butter was used as early as 2,000 years before Christ. There are many references to butter in the Bible, referenced as the product of milk from the cow. Butter has been regarded as the food fit for the gods and using butter has promised certain immunities against evil.

English ButterThe word butter originates from bou-tyron. This means "cow cheese" in Greek. Others think that the word "butter" was borrowed from the language of the northern and butterophagous Scythians, who herded cattle. The Greeks lived mainly from goats and sheep. Their milk was mainly used for cheese.

The earliest method known for making butter came from the Arabs and Syrians. This method was using a vessel made from goatskin for a churn. Firstly, the animal was skinned, its skin sewn up tightly. An opening was left at the animals left foreleg, the cream was poured in here. The churn was then suspended from tent poles and swung until the butter came.

In Europe dairy work was always done by a woman. The word "dairy" is from Middle English deu - a female servant. Dairy work included milking, making cream and butter and also cheese. The dairy was associated with the house as opposed to the lands; "inside" has always been female in the Western imagination, and "outside" male. The mans place was in the public eye whilst the woman's place was to be at home.

Families were gradually pushed into buying their milk and butter supplies from local farmers. As population grew making butter on farms became more important. When bigger cities developed so did important tracing areas. This resulted in the establishment of Boards of Trade and then later with Mercantile Exchanges in Chicago and New York. If you want to buy British butter in USA, check our grocery section.