-The Cooking Colonel of Madras by David Smith

how to contact us

You can contact me through the email form on The Curry House website, although when I am in the middle of writing a new book I cannot promise to reply. My Twitter account has updates on what I've been doing, and shows photos of the meals that I've eaten at restaurants or made myself. So please do check it out here.

who writes Go4E?

David Smith

David judging the International Indian Chef Competition

    This is me - David Smith. I also write The Curry House website and am the author of Agnes Marshall: From Scullery Maid to Victorian Celebrity Cook, The Cooking Colonel of Madras and Quick Meals from The Curry House.

Go For an English is a personal account of English food and is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the food of England. It is not an encyclopedia or a history of English food so you're bound to find many things that I've left out because I ran out of time or because I couldn't find reliable sources on the subject.

I hope to expand the site as time goes on so I will be covering many new topics. In particular, I want to publish a series of interviews with English food producers but all that, of course, takes time.

why write about English and not British food?

Great Britain is made up of three countries - England, Scotland and Wales. If you add Northern Ireland to Britain you get the United Kingdom (UK).

The Scottish, Welsh and Irish are rightly proud of their own history and culture so it would be inappropriate of me to say I was writing about British food when I am really concentrating on English food.

Having said that, you will find numerous examples on these pages where products or dishes are universal to the British Isles so what I've written for England would apply just as well to the other countries.

where does the name "go for an English" come from?

The name comes from a BBC comedy series called Goodness Gracious Me. The programme was written and performed by British South Asians and is their take on modern British life.

"Going for an English", from the opening series in 1998, is the title of a sketch where some young, boisterous Indians in Mumbai go out to their favourite English restaurant. The sketch is a parody of young boorish Brits getting drunk and searching out the hottest curry at their local Indian restaurant. The Indians in the sketch go for the mildest thing on the menu and boast to each other about who has ordered the blandest meal.

I chose the name because, as you may know, I also write The Curry House website and wanted to write something new about my own native cuisine. Also, I wanted to try to correct a widely held view in other countries of the world (so cleverly parodied in the Goodness Gracious Me sketch) that English cooking is bland, boring and, frankly, inferior.

If you want to see what I mean you only have to listen to former President of France Jacques Chirac who was overheard talking about the British and saying "One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad" . He went on "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food." Ouch! Poor Finland! But is it true? I hope this website will help set the balance straight.

reference books

I used many sources to make sure I got my facts right when writing these pages, but I went back time and time again to the following three books which I can thoroughly recommend:

Traditional Foods of Britain
Laura Mason & Catherine Brown
  a regional inventory of over 400 British foodstuffs which have been produced in one region or town for more than three generations
The Great British Cheese Book
Patrick Rance
  cheese connoisseur Patrick Rance's definitive guide to the regional cheeses of Britain - an essential book for anyone remotely interested in traditionally made food
British Food
Colin Spencer
  1000 years of British food history eloquently and comprehensively written by food historian Colin Spencer

The Curry House Cookery Book