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Sponsoring Department
Summer 2022

Using my travel grant, I thought I was going to learn about some of the oldest European cuisine
London had to offer. Instead I ended up learning about how years of colonization, migration, and
deep seated roots made the people of Britian decide that Indian Curry would be their national

You did indeed hear it here first. Chicken Tikka Masala is the national dish of Britain. “In the
classic preparation of Chicken Tikka Masala, marinated boneless chicken pieces are cooked in a
tandoor and then served with a mildly spicy tomato-cream sauce. It is a well-liked takeaway
meal in Britain and a standard dish on the menus of London's curry houses, particularly in the
East End eateries along Brick Lane, sometimes known as "Curry Mile."

The centuries-long British occupation of India is to credit for this globalization. A deep and long
history that I had forgotten about completely is what shocked me when I spent my first couple of
weeks in London. “There are so many people of color here, and so much traditional/cultural
food”, I thought. After I retaught myself what had happened to India and how a lot of the British
population consists of South Asians, I started seeing that influence everywhere. From Brick
Lane, to art museums with what I consider stolen art, it was so interesting to see the ways in
which falafel wraps were sold on many corners of London streets or how as an art major, so
much of the art I was seeing had to do with colonization and the telling of stories through

Because my project, Eating Where Royalty Lives, was supposed to be on the history of European
food, since there barely was any of what I thought I was going to find I ended up changing my
project. It became the project of the many different foods that exist within London and I based it
in and around the meals I had with my amazing host family as well as some of the meals I had
when out and about. They chefed up just about everything, Thai food, burgers, Risotto, one day
we went out to eat and got Jamaican food; they are what I would consider “internationally
palated people”. When exploring through London I had the privilege of eating Japanese food,
Dominican Food, even more Thai food and everyone’s favorite, the Tesco 3 pound meals which
consisted of a sandwich or wrap accompanied with a drink of your choice and some chips or a
sweet treat. (that was a joke, everyone was tired of those by the end of the semester).

Overall, I learned so much about the food related history of the UK and just how much influence
India had/has over it. One thing that I found very interesting was the impact of Brexit on
Immigration. Many UK nationals feel as though too many ‘outsiders’ have been coming into the
UK and they don’t like it. Now imagine someone saying this and enjoying a plate of Chicken
Tikka Masala for dinner, doesn’t really make sense, does it?

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland