Although not the biggest city in England, Liverpool is among the most well-known. The city’s name is derived from the old English words meaning muddy water and stream or pool, and it underwent a number of spelling changes before becoming Liverpool. The muddy part of the original name may have related to the fact that the river in question – an inlet that no longer exists – was crowded with weeds and plants, such as liverwort.
The borough of Livpul was founded in 1207 by King John, marking the beginning of the city’s history and by 1235, Liverpool had its own castle. Interestingly, all seven of the city’s original streets still exist today, but up until the 18th century, when it started to play a key part in overseas trade, the city was a rather inconsequential town.
On the banks of the River Mersey, the first ever commercial wet dock in England was built in Liverpool in 1715. The Canning Dock was built in 1737, but it was the Albert Dock, which was finished in 1846, which revolutionised how the port of Liverpool operated by allowing it to fully capitalise on the massive amounts of trade passing through the city. In fact, by the time the Albert Dock was opened, it was estimated that up to 40% of all international traffic was moving through Liverpool.
The Congregational Church, the neoclassical St. George’s Hall, and the 1836 opening of Lime Street Station are just a few of the noteworthy structures erected during this period of the city’s expanding riches. Albion House, another well-known structure in Liverpool, is also well-known for having served as the prior residence of the White Star Line, the official owners of the doomed RMS Titanic.
Since many residents of Liverpool worked on the different cruise ships that departed from Liverpool, the city experienced a wide variety of cultural influences, especially from the USA and Jamaica. Many Chinese immigrants also arrived in Liverpool in the late 1860s, primarily as a result of the Blue Funnel Shipping Line hiring Chinese seamen. Due to the influx of goods like silk, cotton, and tea, which increased trade and contributed to the region’s distinctive cultural diversity, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Liverpool formed close ties.
Liverpool was targeted by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, which resulted in some of the most extensive destruction seen in the UK. These bombing strikes are thought to have resulted in up to 2,700 fatalities, and substantial damage was done. The effects of this damage, combined with the city’s declining economic situation as other ports and international locations started to compete more successfully, led to Liverpool’s economic decline in the second half of the 20th century.
However, in place of its role as a trade hub, the city became known as a centre for culture, thanks to the vibrant music and cultural scene that developed throughout the 1950s and 1960s and produced perhaps the city’s most successful and well-known export, the Beatles.
Due to its rich cultural and industrial past, Liverpool was designated a World Heritage Site, and today it is one of England’s most energetic cities. It is no surprise that this thriving port has created a distinctive cuisine that is influenced by the different cultures that have impacted the city throughout the years. Here are some of Liverpool’s most well-known and well-liked culinary contributions:
This tasty dessert with an intriguing name was initially created as a means to use up leftover bread. Wet Nelly has some similarities to the well-known bread and butter pudding, and is a fantastic go-to recipe if you want something sweet to finish a meal. Scraps of old bread and cakes are the main ingredient in this recipe, which is then combined with spices, sugar, dried fruit, and eggs. The finished dish is served with cream, ice cream or custard.
These little hard-boiled sweets, also referred to as humbugs, were first made in Everton, an area of the city which is also home to one of Liverpool’s two famous football teams. They can be purchased in many supermarkets or specialty sweet shops, and are usually brown with white stripes and provide a distinctive peppermint flavour.
Scouse, the most well-known of Liverpool’s dishes, is so well-liked there that the name has evolved into a nickname for residents of Liverpool and for their regional dialect. It is a rich meat stew that is typically cooked with mutton or beef and thick-cut vegetables. Although it appears to have some similarity to other local English stews or hot pots, it has a very different origin, and may originally have been brought to the city from Norway by travelling seafarers brought to the city. Available throughout the city, scouse is usually served with a slice of bread and pickled cabbage.
Bubble and Squeak
Although this meal is very well known throughout England, Liverpool is where it is most frequently served at family gatherings. It usually has a potato foundation and is a classic way to use up any leftover vegetables from a Sunday roast. All the ingredients are diced up and fried in a frying pan and the name of the dish is derived from the sounds the pan makes when the food is cooking. Bubble and squeak is a flexible and filling dish that can be eaten at any time of day.
This unique seafood dish is formed of small prawns that have been clarified in flavour-infused butter before being stored in a jar. The dish is typically served spread over fresh bread or toast and the butter is typically flavoured with nutmeg, however cayenne pepper is occasionally included. Shrimps are abundant off the coast of Liverpool, and historically, they were preserved in this manner to enable for the storage of excess stocks for periods when catches were less successful.
Salt and Pepper Chips
Salt and pepper chips are a symbol of the connection between China and Liverpool, which is home to one of the oldest and largest Chinese populations in Europe. Traditional chip shop chips are combined with onions, peppers, and chillies before being tossed with a variety of spices. The meal, which is now a staple in Liverpool, is thought to have been created in the 1990s.
Gin was very popular on the Liverpool docks, both because of its high alcohol content and alleged health benefits, and was widely drunk by sailors. The city’s trade in overseas herbs and spices also contributed to Liverpool Gin’s development of a distinctive flavour. For many decades, gin fell into decline, but now new Liverpool distilleries are making gin using authentic recipes, and many pubs in the city have started to serve gin cocktails that pay homage to Liverpool’s maritime heritage.
Pea Whack is a substantial and warming meal and a unique Liverpool’s version of pea soup. Made using a ham bone, split peas, celery, onions, carrots, and garlic, the ingredients are added to a pot of water, brought to a boil, and then cooked on a low heat for a few hours. The ham bone is then taken out before meat is added and the result is the perfect dish for a cold autumn evening.