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Ways to incorporate traditional and long-lost recipes into your British Food Fortnight celebrations.

Ways to incorporate traditional and long-lost recipes into your British Food Fortnight celebrations.

Co-op is the Official Sponsor of Love British Food and British Food Fortnight 2016.

Here are some top tips for communities, retailers, caterers and schools for incorporating tratidional recipes into their activities. 

You might also find our two documents A Potted History of British Food and A Potted History of British Cooking a source of inspiration!

Individuals and Communities:

  • Ask each family in your village, members of your club or each child in a school class to research and submit an old fashioned British recipe – for example, something that their grandmother or great grandmother used to make. The recipes could be displayed in a public place like the local pub or town hall and a vote taken. The favourite recipe could be re-created at a community British Food Fortnight meal.
  • Create a cookery book of recipes gathered from your community, and sell it for charity in your village shop or at your British Food Fortnight event.
  • Think about old fashioned cooking methods and if you have the facilities try to replicate them. You could cook on a fire, or try a wood burning stove. In the garden you could create an earth oven or underground cooking pit!
  • Host a fashionable British Victorian dinner party with soups, kickshaws (appetisers), sorbets, roasts and puddings – eight courses were not unknown! Why not dress the table Victorian style too with cutlery and crystal glass (if available)?
  • Invite your friends around for a British foodie feast with a difference. Think about the ways in which food was presented in yesteryear. For example you can go the whole hog with a medieval presentation of a roast dinner, or why not try using a vintage jelly mould?
  • Celebrate food from your region – look at what is available locally and challenge the community to come up with a new traditional dish with ingredients for your area. Name the dish after your town and pronounce it a new signature dish for your area. You could serve it at a feast or at a British Food Fortnight night in your local pub – plenty of PR opportunities!
  • Embrace Harvest time - British Food Fortnight takes place at the time of Harvest Festival and there are many traditional foods and customs associated with the harvest which you can try, many specific to regions of the UK. Check out to find your local harvest service.


  • Butchers, greengrocers, farm shops and markets; produce old-fashioned British recipe cards with recipes and suggested ingredients with which to make them. Butchers for example could promote latterly popular products like offal and mutton. It’s a perfect opportunity to dress a window in vintage style and even get your staff to dress up!
  • Invite suppliers into your store and hold an evening of tastings. Get in touch with your local history society and incorporate talks on food production and consumption of yesteryear.
  • Join with other retailers, pubs and other establishments in your town, village or city together and organise a British food trail. At each stop give the participants an ingredient (or a token representing the ingredient) for them to combine at the end into a traditional local dish!

Caterers, restaurants and pubs:

  • Ask your chefs to produce their own interpretations of traditional British recipes and hold a tasting night/event where the public vote for their favourite.
  • Approach local schools to ask whether your chefs can demonstrate cooking using local produce and traditional recipes – a great PR opportunity and chance to get parents through the door by giving out discount vouchers.
  • Kitchen gardens have played an important part in the food production of yesteryear. If you have a kitchen garden, highlight the produce from your garden on your menu and consider growing some heritage varieties – old fashioned vegetables like carrots and potatoes are easily obtainable from your local garden centre.
  • Produce dishes made from hedgerow ingredients like blackberries or elderflower for an old fashioned slant on the menu.


  • Continue the Royal theme of the summer and research the favourite foods of Kings and Queens gone by. Encourage children to dress up as Royals from different points in history, ask local producers to contribute and and if possible produce dishes for them to try.
  • Teach children about the different foods used in years gone by, and the foods local to your area. Recipes with quirky ingredients like rook pie are guaranteed to capture the children’s imagination!
  • Ask your school caterer to produce a British themed school lunch, and produce traditional-recipe menu cards detailing where the food has been sourced for children to take home to parents.