"It looks like we have food travel on the calendar this month, so I was planning to write a blog post on the best of British food," said my British colleague Laura.
"That will be a very short list," said I.
"Pardon me? And what would you put on the American list, fake cheese?" said she, and the argument started from there.
Eventually, we came to the conclusion that both cuisines were undeservedly underrated, but we couldn't agree on which cuisine was better. It was decided that we would both produce a list of 10 reasons why our home cuisine was better the other and let readers decide which argument was stronger.
British food is undoubtedly better than American food because...
1. It is seasonal. Our food adapts to the inclement British weather, there are as many foodie options as our ever-changing weather, a cold blustery day is perfectly complemented by a hearty winter roast dinner and no summer’s day would be complete without strawberries and cream.
2. The English Breakfast, need I say more? There is no better way to start your Sunday than with bacon, eggs and all the trimmings. Especially if the Sunday follows a heavy Saturday night.
3. British food is fairly healthy on the whole, “veg” being a vital component to most meals, no roast is complete without its two veg, and that doesn’t mean fries!
4. Our food is a great way to explore the country as each region has its own speciality; the Yorkshire pudding, the Devonshire cream tea, Welsh Rarebit...the journey need never stop.
5. Our chefs are as interesting as our food; Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and of course Delia Smith are British institutions.
6. Christmas dinner-the roast is the classic British meal which many families continue to consider an institution in their week, and of course their Christmas.
7. Experience fish and chips at the seaside, strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, tea at the Ritz. There are endless unmissable experiences which involve food in the UK!
8. Chocolate: our chocolate is unbeatable with both a rich history and taste – plus it doesn’t have melting preventers that make it taste gross!
9. British food is deeply woven into the nation’s history, no more so than curry which is now popularly considered our national dish.
10. We invented the sandwich-no better lunch exists!
American food is undoubtedly better than British food because...
1. We have brunch, America's very best culinary innovation. It's not exactly breakfast, nor is it lunch: it's brunch, and it's the best of both worlds. Plus you can sleep in on weekends and still eat eggs Benedict at 1:00 pm.
2. The US has a diversity of foods, both homegrown and adopted, that simply cannot be matched by the UK. Tacos to clam chowder to key lime pie to barbecue -- the US has range.
3. We have a strict policy: jellied fruit not jellied animals.
4. We understand corn. Mistakenly believed to be animal fodder by our British friends, there’s no end of wonderful foods that can be made from corn, from corn on the cob to corn soufflés to cornmeal crust pizzas to tamales to corn dogs to bourbon.
5. Salads. Some may think that Americans only eat fried things topped with bacon, so they may be surprised to find how important the salad is in American cuisine. It's true, we love salads, and we love salad bars because we can sneak bacon into our salads when no one is looking.
6. Sandwiches: the British may have invented the word sandwich, but we perfected the sandwich itself. Katz's Deli -- 'nuff said.
7. We saved wine. The British tried to wipe it out by introducing Phylloxera to Europe, so we had to come in and save wine for the rest of the world. This may be a bit of an oversimplification, but you're welcome nonetheless.
8. Tea is okay if it's supersaturated with sugar (i.e., sweet tea) or mixed with lemonade (i.e., Arnold Palmer), but coffee is where it's at. Bad diner coffee beats bad diner tea every time.
9. Our beer is cold, and so is our root beer. British beer = warm. British root beer = dandelion & burdock soda?
10. A famous line from Annie Hall captures the American attitude towards food: "Two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, 'Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.' The other one says, 'Yeah, I know - and such small portions.'" If we fall short on quality, we certainly won't let you down on portion size.
So what do you say, is American cuisine better than English cuisine or vice-versa?
Let us know what you think on Twitter at @lonelyplanet
If food and travel are your passions, then be sure to sample the many tasty offerings served up by the new Lonely Planet book A Moveable Feast, a 38-course meal of food tales from around the world.