We have the United Kingdom as well as the rest of Europe, to thank for opening the world’s palate. If not for the hunger of medieval Europe and England for spices, the trade routes might never have been opened in Asia. Tea would not have been discovered. Without the explorers and Pilgrims and conquistadors, we might not have had the great Columbian Exchange which brought sugar, potatoes and other goods into Europe.
Remember, the United Kingdom was once a world empire. “The sun never set on the British empire” as it was once said. They once had land holdings in the Caribbean, India, Africa, North America and Australia! The English are a seafaring people and are very familiar with the ocean. They are very well traveled.
The greatest gift, I think, that the United Kingdom has given to the rest of the world, is to have simply spread different cuisines around the world. As well as share their own foods and traditions. Tea from China. Curry from India. Cheddar cheese. Beer. Fish and chips. They even gave us the sandwich!
Though British cuisine is often thought of as heavy, if you understand the culture you can appreciate the easy way that the British people have incorporated new foods into their own cuisine. Living in such a wet, rainy enviroment lends itself to comfort foods. If you want to learn more about British cuisine, I highly recommend this book!