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the United Kingdom
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More than 165 million cups of tea are consumed every day in the UK.
At one point the British empire ruled approximately 25% of the world’s population and covered about 25% of Earth’s total land area.
Nowhere in the UK is more than 75 miles from the sea.
The United Kingdom, also called the UK, consists of a group of islands off the northwest coast of Europe. It is a unique country made up of four nations: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Humans have inhabited these lands for over 30,000 years. Dating to the beginning of recorded history, the UK has seen many rulers, including the Romans, Germanic Anglo-Saxons, and Normans. Eventually, in the early 1700s, the nation was united into the Kingdom of Great Britain. This government evolved into the constitutional monarchy that was headed by Queen Elizabeth II until 2022. This is the longest reign ever recorded. Today, King Charles III serves as monarch.
From the 16th through the 20th century, the British Empire expanded its territory across the globe through military conquests, which helped to coin the phrase, “The Sun Never Sets on the British Empire.” Beginning with the area that would become the United States in the late 1700s, the empire began to shrink, as many outlying territories declared independence from the United Kingdom. The influence of the UK has left an indelible mark on the world that continues to this day.
Sports, literature, and music are among the United Kingdom’s cultural claims to fame. Soccer, rugby, cricket, boxing, polo, and golf were all invented in Britain. The UK has also produced many great writers, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. The UK has also had a global influence on popular music, spawning cultural juggernauts such as the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Adele, and Radiohead.
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This month we are making Fish and Chips, a familiar, classic dish from the UK. Check out our tutorial and recipe here!
Fish & Chips
The history of this classic British dish is still debated today. Fried fish, or “pescado frito,” is thought to have originated in Portugal and been brought to England by Jewish immigrants. The origin of chips is less clear: France and Belgium both take credit for first frying potatoes, but we know that they arrived in England around the 18th century. Fast forward to 1860, when the first fish and chips shops opened in London and these two delicious foods were combined. Now, the meal is a staple of the UK; roughly 382 million baskets of fish and chips are sold every year in the UK.
- 1 1/2 lbs cod filets
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 quart vegetable oil
Place potatoes in a medium bowl and cover with cold water.
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a separate medium bowl. Add milk and egg; stir until batter is smooth. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a large pot or electric skillet to 350°F (175°C).
Drain and pat dry potatoes. Fry in hot oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Dredge fish in batter, one piece at a time, and place in hot oil. Fry until golden brown or internal temp. reaches 145°F (63°C). Drain on paper towels. Monitor oil temp to maintain 350°F (175°C).
Fry potatoes again in hot oil until crisp, 1-2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Serve with warm fish.
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United Kingdom Trivia
Worcestershire sauce was invented by two:
What is the longest running musical in London?
What year were the Rolling Stones formed?
How many times has England hosted the Olympics?
Which famous landmark is located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire?
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