Today I’m taking you on a little tour of British food history. We all know foods that are named after places and things like Yorkshire Pudding and Shepherd’s Pie for sheep herders, but this goes deeper, and I’m digging into all the traditional British Foods Named After Famous People.

English tea sandwiches, the Earl of Sandwich, an apple and a slice of cake British Foods Named After Famous People

Great Britain (England), as most of us know, is the middle country surrounded by Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which make up the United Kingdom (minus the Welsh flag). Their respective flags also make up the Union Jack flag. This is all explained in the picture below.

A map of the United Kingdom with their flags

There are a lot of old traditional dishes that have funny names or, in this case, are named after royalty, authors, and well-known British people in history. I know people say British cuisine is bland, but the Scotch Egg and Cornish Pasty are far from bland. This collection is a great insight into some of the not-so-bland, typical dishes that come with extensive history.

Apple Charlotte

A baked apple pudding/dessert, similar to Summer Pudding, made with bread soaked in butter and filled with spiced, stewed apples. Believed to be named in the 18th century after Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III from the 17th and 1800s.

Battenberg Cake

Sometimes spelled ‘Battenberg,’ this is a checkered pattern cake, typically yellow and pink sponge cake squares covered in marzipan. It was created for the wedding of Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was born in Austria but became a naturalized British subject.

A slice of cake in a pink and yellow checkerboard pattern

Beetroot fritters à la Dickens

Beet and potato cakes served with a creamy sauce is a recipe from the cookbook ‘The Epicurean’ by French chef Charles Rahnhofer, named after the English novelist, Charles Dickens.

Beef Wellington

Filet/fillet of beef coated in mushrooms, liver pate, all baked in a puff pastry crust. Dating back to 1815, named for the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, who defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo.

Bloody Mary

A popular brunch cocktail made of vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce served over ice. Typically garnished with celery. The Bloody Mary is also known as Mary Tudor, the daughter of King Henry VIII (the eighth). The reason for the eponym is sketchy, but it is believed the name was given because of the bloodbath she created with the Protestants in an attempt to restore the Catholic faith.

Cox’s Orange Pippin Apple

This popular apple (also known as a Cox) is a stunning orange/red/yellow apple known for its crispness and juicy nature. Named after Richard Cox, who was a British brewer and horticulturist, and who grew them on his orchard in the south of England.

A red apple hanging in a tree

Cumberland Sauce

A classic English sauce made with redcurrant jelly/jam, sherry or port, mustard, ginger, lemon, and orange. Served cold alongside ham or rich gamey meats. Named in honor of Ernest Augustus of Hanover, who was born in Germany but became the 3rd Duke of Cumberland. Cumberland is a historic county in the North West of England.

Earl Grey Tea

A fragrant blend of black tea and bergamot orange oil. Created by Richard Twining (of Twinings tea) in 1831 at the request of Prime Minister Charles Earl Grey.

Pouring tea into white cup and saucer

Filet/Fillet of Beef Prince Albert

One of the lesser-known traditional British dishes. A filet/fillet of beef is filled with homemade pâté and served with beef sauce. Named after the husband of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert.

Lord Nelson apple

A red and yellow cooking apple named after Horatio Nelson, best known for his victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Madeleine cookies and sweet treats in a tiered cake stand with tea sandwiches


The sandwich was invented in England. Perhaps the most famous British sandwich is the tea sandwich, served for afternoon tea. It is so named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. It is said that he was hungry but did not want a large meal, so he asked for some roast beef between two slices of bread.

Victoria sponge cake

A light, airy sponge cake sandwiched with cream and jam. Originating from the 19th century, the cake was first made for Queen Victoria as an afternoon ‘pick-me-up’ to enjoy with her afternoon tea

Woolton Pie

A bottomless crust pie made with large chunks of vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, rutabaga/swede, and carrots. Frederick James Marquis,1st Earl of Woolton, the minister of food during World War 2, was the inspiration for this pie due to the shortage of meat.

If you know of any British Foods Named After Famous People that I’ve missed, feel free to leave a comment below.