English cuisine is shaped through the country's temperate climate, its geography, and its history. The latter includes interactions with other European countries, and also the importing of ingredients and ideas from places such as North America, China and India during the time of the British Empire and because of post-war immigration.
Since the Early Modern Period the food of England has historically been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the high quality of natural produce. This, in no small part affected by England's Puritan heritage, has resulted in a traditional cuisine which tended to veer from strong flavours, such as garlic and an avoidance of complex sauces which were commonly related to Catholic Continental political affiliations.
Traditional meals have ancient origins, such as bread and cheese, roasted and stewed meats, meat and game pies, boiled vegetables and broths, freshwater and saltwater fish. The 14th century English cookbook, the Forme of Cury, contains recipes for these, and dates from the royal court of Richard II.
Other meals, like fish and chips, which were once urban street food eaten from newspaper with salt and malt vinegar, pies and sausages with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, are now matched in popularity by curries from India and Bangladesh also stir-fries based on Chinese and Thai cooking. French and Italian cuisines are also now widely adapted. Britain was also quick to adopt the innovation of fast food from the United States, and continues to soak up culinary ideas from all over the world while at the same time rediscovering its roots in sustainable rural agriculture.