The United Kingdom has a long history and the local food has changed as different cultures and peoples have moved into the region. As each group of people moved into the UK they brought along their own ideas of what foods should be eaten. They also brought ideas on how to cultivate and grow various food crops in the UK. Over time these different peoples and culture brought a tremendous diversity of foods and drinks into the country.
The Romans, for instance, introduced cherries, cabbage and peas, and also brought in the idea of using stinging nettle as a food. The Romans also developed clever and innovative methods for cultivating crops including corn. Wine was also introduced into the UK by the romans.
The Saxons were people who were also very good at growing crops and were keen on using herbs as foods. This was no doubt how the use of herbs was first introduced into the UK. The idea of smoking fish was introduced when the Danes and Vikings arrived on the island. They also introduced methods for drying the fish. This influence was particularly seen in Scotland and the northeastern coastal regions of England.
As trade routes opened up more herbs and spices could make their way into the UK and certainly this meant that herbs such as saffron were introduced. Dried fruit and spices eventually could be imported from as far away as Asia. This meant that food became more complex and more different types of meals could be invented.
Eventually coffee and tea were introduced from South America and India. As the British Empire colonized more countries and expanded their rule they were able to make contact with even more types of food dishes and drinks. This meant that even more ingredients could be brought into the UK for use to make foods and drinks.
Modern Day Evolution
Today the UK has become a melting pot of people from all over the world. The ease of transportation and immigration has meant that you can sample food that is literally from all over the world. In big UK cities such as London it is not uncommon to find food that is Thai, Middle Eastern, French, Italian, Spanish, Indian, American and so on. Traditional UK foods still exist but it is not surprising to find food from other countries.
The influence of these other countries and immigrants may have also led to a change in what and how food is eaten. Food has also changed as people have adopted changing life-styles. For instance, today it is common to see people choosing low fat skim milk and healthier brown bread over full fat milk and white bread. This is largely due to changes in what people want, with some people becoming more health conscious. There are also more vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the UK than there used to be as more people have switched to these diet options. Food has evolved in the UK over the years and continues to evolve.