I realize in this time I provided very little in my description of the English.
There’s always a particular attitude of the English that’s very hard to explain. They can be polite without being respectful, they can be critical without being argumentative, and they can be brilliant without being smart. Their particular attitude of the world is vastly different from the rest of the continent, and allows for an incredibly proclivity and range in sense of humor.
I contrast them with the French, their old rivals on the continent and an equally strange race. The French like to pride themselves on being intellectual, but the English would rather pride themselves on being witty. And the French who may have just as strong a resentment of authority will let those noblemen know with merely a snarl upfront and minutes of complaining away. The English, on the other hand, are nearly as keen to criticize before your face as they are to their friends, and their complaints can last for hours. To them, criticism is as much about the tact as the content. Their treatment, for example, of complaining about weather transcends the distribution of facts; it is an activity of patriotism that they pursue devoutly, almost worshipfully.
They also have much less sense in the sacred. Whereas the French must be committed to some notion of the pure and holy – be it in religion or in politics – the English are much keener to keep an arm’s length in their loyalty. They will make jokes of priests, politicians and monarchs alike. Finally, they are very individualistic; contentment is a vice, not a virtue; and, though they are not quite Americans, they believe in their ability to increase their standing in the world.
There is extremely little to say of their cooking however; as far as I am concerned only one tolerable creation of the English cuisine, and that is the HP Brown Sauce – and surely it would be that their best creation is able to douse their food and distract you from the appalling overcooked meats and bland fried dishes!