David Beckham, eels and the history of London food (Blog)



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We learned this week that David Beckham is looking to launch a chain of pie and mash shops, a traditional London eatery of which there are still dozens to be found. For the trademark dish, eels sourced from the Thames are jellied, placed in a pie and served with a 'liquor' sauce. Here are some other London-origin foods:

Fish and Chips - Brought to London by Jewish immigrants, the fried fish element as early as the 16th century.

Cockles and mussels - Shipped in from the coast and then sold fresh at stalls outside pubs, originally in the East End.

Chicken Tikka Masala - Its origins are contested, but we know that the first Tandoor oven used in the UK was at the famous Veeraswamy restaurant on Regent St in the 1950s and it is likely that it was here that the 'masala' sauce was first added.

The Chorleywood Bread process - In the 1960s, bakers based at the end of the Metropolitan line invented a new quick-dough method that revolutionised bread production and now accounts for 80% of the country's bread market.

The Sandwich - The name for stuff wrapped in bread comes from 18th century politician the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who liked quick food because it didn't interrupt his many hours spent in London's gambling dens.

Still hungry? For desert, how about the Eton Mess, a sloppy mix of strawberries, ice-cream and meringue invented at the famous public school.

Still still hungry?? You need help and help is at hand in the form of the Cake and Bake show, held at Earl's Court this weekend.