MPs invited to vote on nation's favourite dish


09 November 2009

Members of Parliament will tonight be invited vote to decide at Westminster what is the country's favourite dish: fish and chips or curry.

The Royal Society of Chemistry has arranged for a special two-dish tasting session at which a ballot box will be used for the collection of votes.

The hosts at the tasting between 7-9pm will be Dr Brian Iddon, MP for Bolton South and Mark Lancaster TD, MP for North-East Milton Keynes.

The tasting is part of an event to launch Chemistry Week 2009, the theme of which is food.

During this year the RSC has focused on the food cycle from farming through to waste, taking in production, transportation, storage, security, consumption and health.

At the House of Commons the RSC has already launched a major report on food called The Vital Ingredient. The report considered the impact of the chemical sciences and engineering across the entire food supply chain. This formed the basis for subsequent society submission to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Report on Secure Food Supplies to 2050 and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Food and to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Enquiry into Nanotechnologies and Food.

Today's tasting at the Commons will herald another RSC curry event tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at the Royal Society of Chemistry HQ on Piccadilly where curry will be hailed as The Dish That Conquered Britain.

At the RSC Chemistry Centre on Piccadilly an audience will hear historian and journalist Shrabani Basu, author of Curry: The Story of the Nation's Favourite Dish relating the remarkable way in which Indian food invaded the British Isles from the early nineteenth century, eventually to gain ascendancy through restaurants and takeaways.

Shrabani Basu said: "The story of Indian food in Britain goes back to the days of the Raj. Once the British had tasted Indian food, they were instantly seduced by the spices, and there was no going back.  

"Queen Victoria herself was a great lover of Indian food. Fascinated by India, though she never went there, the Empress of India tried to learn much about the country. 

"She had Indian servants who cooked curries for her and these were served to her guests at lunch-time every day," says Basu, whose forthcoming book Victoria & Abdul: The true story of the Queen's Closest Confidant will be published next spring.  

Afterwards key guests will walk along Piccadilly to dine at the legendary Veeraswamy, the oldest surviving Indian restaurant in Britain, where the tradition of drinking beer with curry was started by King Gustav of Sweden, who would bring a whole keg of Carlsberg beer to the restaurant to drink with his favourite duck vindaloo.

Related Links

Chemistry Week 2009 logo

Chemistry Week 2009

7-15 November 2009. This year's theme was 'Food'. Activities were organised throughout the UK and Ireland.



Curry: the dish that conquered Britain

Curry: the dish that conquered Britain

Tuesday 10 November 2009, 6.30pm Shrabani Basu discusses the phenomenon of British curry.


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