Heritage food

By
The editor
Added
01 September, 2017

Finding out where your ancestors come from could open up a whole new journey in the kitchen.

Britons are well known around the world for their magpie approach to food, we are always quick to adopt a cuisine and take the elements we love in a dish to make them our own. Italian food like Spaghetti Bolognese or Indian curries may be far removed from what you’d find in their country of origin but they’ve evolved so much over time that we think of them as our own. But what about if you consider that our love of fusion food probably stems from our roots? As our ancestors traversed the globe, they often brought back ingredients, or tried to recreate dishes they’d enjoyed once back at home. And now we do the same, we think nothing of adding a Spanish chorizo to a pasta sauce or adding a touch of spice to Italian food.

When you find a flavour that you love, or hit upon a cuisine that just seems so right, it’s fascinating to think that might be because it’s somehow tapping into the food of your ancestors. And there may be a very good chance that the reason that you have a tolerance for hot food or always fancy Asian food is because someone in your family line hails from that region in your far-off distant past.

We teamed up with Ancestry DNA to help you discover recipes that suit your DNA by searching some of the cuisines on Cooked. Just like you, our authors always bring their own likes, dislikes and interpretation to the dishes they create.  So if you’ve always wondered why you love the fermented flavour of Sauerkraut so much or why you always choose to cook Vietnamese food. Turns out, your DNA may hold the answer…

The UK DNA breakdown

We do know that because of our long history and location, many of you will have British, Irish and Western European ancestors – remember those history lessons of the Vikings, Saxons and Normans racing around the northern hemisphere? So we’ve gathered a few of our top recipes that will help to inspire you to find out more about the food of your past, or even to set you off on your journey to discover your roots. (And we’ve got stacks of recipes for root veg too).

Great British recipes

Seafood would have provided much sustenance to anyone who reached these shores. Big soups with spices brought from their travels, whole fish caught and roasted over fire would have been favoured dishes. Old-fashioned fruit and nuts too; medlars and cobnuts, for example. Venison was a welcome treat and much more available than the beef, lamb and chicken we are used to. Later on, as people settled down regional specialities would have appeared, Cornish pasty is one dish that remains popular to this day.

Medlars

Medlar sticky toffee pudding

Cobnuts

Autumn coleslaw

Cornish pasty

Cornish pasties

Venison

Venison stalker pie

Irish cookery

While the Irish cuisine is rich and diverse, think of Ireland and two dishes always come to mind. Colcannon makes good use of the potato crops, though it’s easy to forget that they were a new thing in the 16th Century. And Irish stew has long been a staple too. These days we look to the Emerald Isle for soda bread, black pudding, and its fantastic-quality salmon and shellfish.

Irish stew

Irish stew

Colcannon

Colcannon

Soda bread

Soda bread

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