10 British Foods Americans Just Don’t Understand Slideshow

We’re fascinated by their accents but confused by these 10 foods – read on for enlightenment
Stargazy Pie

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Jonathunder

Stargazy pie is a traditional Cornish recipe.

10 British Foods Americans Just Don’t Understand

Stargazy Pie

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Jonathunder

William and Kate. Doctor Who. Fish and chips. The way they say “telly” when they mean "television." Simon Cowell. Phrases like “bloody hell.” Americans have been fascinated by the British forever, whether for their self-deprecating sarcasm or or their Cadbury chocolates. We’ve rounded up 10 British foods, both regional specialties and commonplace offerings that we just don’t understand – from “pasty barm” to jellied eels.  And that's not to mention the fearsome haggis, the curiously named stargazy pie, or the rather unpleasant-sounding crappit heids.

Black Pudding

Black Pudding

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Black pudding is a traditional dish eaten in England, Scotland, Ireland, and, under other names, various other countries. It is simply congealed pig's or cow's blood, mixed with oatmeal or breadcrumbs as a binder, flavored with spices and onions, and stuffed into a casing. To those who haven’t grown up with the dish, it can be intimidating, though it's really quite delicious. Black pudding can be eaten in thick slices, crumbled, or whole (like a sausage).  

Chip Butty

Chip Butty

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It’s a bizarre name, but the food’s contents itself seems like it would be the average American’s dream if we'd just give it a chance. Butter two slices of white bread, carefully arrange some thick fries (“chips” if you’re British) in the middle, add some vinegar or ketchup, and enjoy.  

Crappit Heids

Crappit Heids

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A savory dish favored by the Scots, crappit heids are simmered, stuffed haddock heads. The stuffing’s binder is usually oatmeal, and other ingredients may include milk, chopped onion, suet, and sometimes even lobster.

Haggis

Haggis

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This classic Scottish dish, also popular in northern England, is a sort of coarse pâté or sausage made from sheep organs like heart, lungs, and liver, which can often put off Americans not used to the idea. The offal is then mixed with oatmeal, suet, and seasonings, and the mixture is traditionally boiled inside a sheep's stomach (or, today, more likely packed in plastic). 

Jellied Eels

Jellied Eels

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The traditional cockney dish has always been a favorite in London but recently has spread to northern Ireland and Scotland (is America next? Don’t hold your breath). The eels, boiled and then set in their own gelatin, are traditionally a street food eaten from a bowl and sprinkled with hot chile vinegar.

Laverbread

Laverbread

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This traditional Welsh specialty is made from laver, an especially nutritious type of seaweed, which is cooked into a paste. Americans may find it unappetizing at first due to its slimy, greenish-black appearance, but the dish is rich in protein, iron, and vitamin B12.

Marmite

Marmite

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A brown, sticky spread with a potent flavor, Marmite is either beloved or abhorred by British, a fact reflected in the company’s slogan, “Love it or hate it.” The taste is unique and exceptionally salty; Americans probably prefer Nutella

Parmo

Parmo

This Northern English late-night (or any time of day) snack consists of deep-fried breaded chicken covered in liberal amounts of béchamel sauce and Cheddar cheese. Other toppings can include bacon, pepperoni, garlic sauce, and even more cheese — and fries (again, “chips” if you’re British) always come with it. Picture a super-sized chicken parm without the bread; it's so big, it usually comes in a pizza box.

Pasty Barm

Pasty Barm

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Native to the town of Bolton in Greater Manchester, the pasty barm is two pieces of buttered “barm” (buns) with a meat-and-potato pasty (hand pie) sandwiched between them. The name itself confounds Americans.

Stargazy Pie

Stargazy Pie

Photo Modified: Wikimedia Commons / Jonathunder

This traditional Cornish recipe means sardines covered in pastry crust, often cooked with eggs, bacon, and a mustard sauce. The final product means sardine heads, eyes and all, poking out of a crust, which is why it’s probably hard for Americans to find this dish appetizing.