List Envy
List Envy
Aug 27, 2019
4: Top 5 British foods
Play • 50 min

Mark talks to podcaster and “unapologetic Anglophile” Jen Tierney about the foods eaten and loved by “a nation of shopkeepers”.

As a young girl, Jen was persuaded to watch a BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and has since made it her mission to consume all things Brit. As well as eating, Jen likes to cook, learning from /The Great British Bake Off/ and demonstrating more knowledge of British baked goods than the host of this podcast. Case in point: the popover.

Honourable mentions

Friends don’t take friends to Greggs

This is a vital public service announcement, brought to you by an experience Jen had in Brighton. Brits, please do not take your non-British friends to Greggs, even for the lols. It’s just not worth it, even if they do now serve a sausage roll that the Internet freaked out about.

Jen’s picks

In order of discussion:

Afternoon tea

You’ve got your tea, you’ve got your scones — or scones, your pronunciation may vary — and a variety of things to spread on top of them. If you’re lucky, you have some tiny little cucumber sandwiches. But it’s all about the ritual.

Jen’s first pick may open up deep, centuries-old battle scars between Cornish people and Devonshire people, who to this day cannot agree on whether you put the cream on a scone first, and then the jam, or do it the wrong way around. (This rule does not apply to the American lunch staple, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich ).

Cornish pasty

This is Britain’s offering to the savoury pastry gods, joining the ranks of the empanada and the calzone. Jen got to experience this particular delight in a chain store in Brighton (which makes good pasties, at least Mark thinks so, although according to TripAdvisor, you should not try the veggie pasties).

Full English breakfast

Bacon. Egg. Sausage. Beans. Fried bread. Fried potato (if you’re good). Fried tomato (if you’re nasty). Black pudding (optional). White pudding (even more optional). It’s a comprehensive payload of complex carbs, proteins and fats… everything a growing girl needs. Just probably not every day.

Mark’s picks

In order of discussion:

Fish and chips

Mark is aware of the responsibility of building a definitive list, and so although he doesn’t hold battered fish in the highest regard, the suffix “and chips” — or as the Scots call it, “supper” — is a shoe-in for his number one. If you haven’t, you should try a saveloy.

Sunday roast

Roast potatoes. Mashed potatoes. Other assorted vegetables. Chicken or beef (or turkey if it’s easter). Yorkshire pudding. Stuffing. Gravy. Delicious. And then… and then… there’s the roast parsnip, the lying turd in the punch bowl that is the British Sunday roast.


Mark’s home city of Birmingham claims this curry — usually containing lamb but equally chicken or veg (because if you haven’t tried a curried potato, you haven’t lived) — as its own, having been introduced to Adil’s restaurant in the 1970s. Mark’s recommendation is lamb and spinach, and if you’re pushing the boat out, get a keema naan on the side. Next time you’re in Birmingham, come to the Balti Triangle and enjoy a taste sensation.

More of Jen

Mark was a guest on Jen’s erstwhile podcast back in March 2018, talking about some songs he’d made, but Jen has a new podcast all about parenting, called Our Parents Did What?, which, if you enjoy Sawbones or This Podcast Will Kill You, you’ll be sure to love (you’ll quickly become acquainted with how charming Jen is, as you listen to this episode).


Special Guest: Jennifer Tierney.

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