Food and drink is a big part of British culture. We eat too much and we drink too much. I'm not sure why. A lot of British food is very bland (boring/tasteless).
There are different levels of hunger in Britain. First, and most basic, you are hungry. Next, you feel peckish (a little bit hungry).
E.g. “How hungry are you?” “Just a bit peckish.”
If you want to say you are really hungry you can say you are starving. British people aren't really starving, but it is common to hear a British person say that they are starving to death.
E.g. “I'm starving to death. I didn't have breakfast this morning.”
You can also say: I'm so hungry I could eat a horse. British people don't typically eat horses though.
Different ways to say you want food or drink
I fancy (I want).
E.g. “I fancy a pint of beer.”
I could murder (I really want).
- “I could murder a hamburger right now.”
- “I could murder a drink.”
The English Breakfast
What does a Brit eat for breakfast? A typical breakfast usually consists of a fag, a cuppa, and a bacon butty. In Britian, fag is another word for cigarette. Also, if you want a shorter way to say tobacco in Britain, say baccy. But be careful: in America, fag is an offensive term for homosexual people.
Next, a cuppa. This word is a shortened version of cup of tea. British people usually pronounce ‘cup of’ as cuppa. So, if someone offers you a cuppa, they are offering you some tea. You can also say brew instead of cuppa.
E.g. “Fancy a brew?”
Finally, bacon butty. Butty means sandwich. Another way to say butty is sarnie. You can hear both depending on where in England you are. There you have it, the English breakfast: a fag, a cuppa, and a bacon butty. Lovely.
Another British breakfast is the full English breakfast. It is delicious. The full English breakfast usually has: a cuppa, bacon, toast, baked beans, sausages, eggs, mushrooms. It is an amazing way to start your day.
If you have eaten a lot and you are full, you can say you are stuffed.
- “That breakfast was so big. I'm absolutely stuffed.”
- “Have you got room for dessert?” “No. I can't. I'm so stuffed.”
Note: “have you got room for dessert?” means “can your stomach have dessert?” which means “are you full?” British people love to be stuffed.
Now we are going to talk about British sweets. Americans call sugary foods candy. British people call sugary foods sweets.
My favourite British dessert is the trifle. One day, I will teach you how to make a trifle. It is delicious, sweet, and creamy. It has custard and cream and strawberries and jelly. Amazing.
A note about jelly:in British English, jelly is a wobbly desert, often made out of strawberries. Americans call it jell-o. In American English, jelly is a paste that you spread on your toast. British call it jam. Confusing, I know. British people also have a different word for the American cookie. We call it a biscuit.
Sweet tooth: this is one of my favourite phrases. If you have a sweet tooth it means that you like sweet things, like chocolate.
E.g. “I'm finding it really hard to stay on this diet. I wish I didn't have such a sweet tooth. I love chocolate so much.”
A great traditional British sweet is the scone. It is a cake with currants – which are like raisins. They are served with strawberry jam and clotted cream. They taste absolutely gorgeous. They are usually served with a cup of tea too. It is a mouth-watering experience.
More-ish: how else can you say that something is delicious, tasty, or addictive? Well, there are plenty of ways, but my favourite is more-ish. If a food is more-ish, it means that you want to eat more of it. Easy, right? I think chocolate chip cookies are incredibly more-ish.
Britain has some great chocolate. Milky and rich and sugary. Here are the best chocolate bars:
- Freddo: small, tasty, cheap, and more-ish.
- Twix:: British people love putting stuff in their chocolate. This chocolate has biscuit and caramel inside it.
- Creme Egg: gooey (soft and sticky) goodness. The slogan for Creme Egg is 'here today…goo tomorrow'. Goo is sticky stuff in the centre.
- Turkish Delight: chocolate with a fruity jelly inside. Amazing. But weird.
Let's discuss British drinks. It may surprise you how many ways British people have to say drunk. We have a binge-drinking culture in Britain. This means that British people love to drink too much alcohol.
Let's look at some drinking slang:
Pissed: If you are pissed in Britain, it means you are drunk. Americans use the word differently. To them, pissed is a shortened version of pissed off, which means angry.
Other ways to say pissed": bladdered, wrecked, wasted, fucked-up, hammered, plastered, legless, trollied, smashed, trashed, sloshed, trousered, blitzed, shitfaced.
These words are only a few of the words we have for drunk. Trust me, there are plenty more. You don't need to know all of them. It's just good to be able to recognise them occasionally when they are used. Pick one or two of your favourites and use them in your conversations.
But what if you want to describe being a little bit drunk? Just say tipsy. If you are tipsy, you are just a little bit drunk. British and American girls will often declare that they are just a little bit tipsy, when in actual fact, they are completely shitfaced.
How do you describe someone who can't handle alcohol very well? They are called a lightweight.
If you drink a lot and end up puking/vomiting, you could say you chundered.
When you are drinking with British people, remember that we have a system of buying drinks called rounds. Each person in the group takes turns to buy everyone a drink. This is called a round. A common phrase that you will hear in a British pub is “whose round is it?”
Talking About Thirst
If you want to say that you are a little bit thirsty, you can say you are parched.
E.g. “Have you got any water? I'm parched.”
If you want to say that you are very thirsty, you can say you are gasping.
E.g. “I need a drink! I'm absolutely gasping!”
The pint: typically refers to a pint of beer/lager/cider/ale.
Britain is a nation of ale-drinkers. I'm not an ale expert but I do enjoy the names of different ales. For example: Ginger Tosser, Seriously Bad Elf, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Irish Death, Tactical Nuclear Penguin, Vampire Blood, Dead Guy Ale.
Pimms: beer is for the working class, Pimms is for the upper class. It's a posh and fruity drink for posh and fruity people. It's perfect for picnics and getting wasted while watching Wimbledon.
Lambrini: this is a very cheap wine. Working class teenage girls like to drink this. They will drink it from the bottle. This is typically drunk in parks at night time and on street corners.
WKD: another fruity drink. This is a weak vodka drink. We call it an alcopop, which is a word made by combining alcohol and pop (fizzy drinks like Coca Cola or Fanta). This is great for underage drinking.
And that's it for today!
I hope you found that interesting and helpful! If you want to learn more about British food and drink, let me know.
What is food and drink like in your country? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. ‘Cheers’, in British English, means ‘thank you’.
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