Reading my food blogs RSS feed, I came across a pair of Brit-related posts today. The first is from i was just really very hungry, praising the most recent series of Masterchef (Masterchef Goes Large! to give it’s full title). I have to agree with maki that this has been a well-crafted reality show, much better than other shows with a similar format (although I haven’t seen Top Chef, which she mentions).
The other post was from Accidental Hedonist, on the bizarre names given to British food. I won’t completely rehash her post, but basically she describes a theory from a book called Gastronaut, that British food tends to be looked down on by other cultures, not because of it’s quality but because of the strange names of the dishes. My understanding is that what is considered traditional British food dates from somewhere between the 17th and 19th Centuries and so the names are as antiquated as that suggests.
Looking at her list, I only recognised 11 of the 25 there, but I thought I would run through my understanding of those 11. I have given my descriptions, and then went back through and added some more helpful links, so that you can get a better idea, and in some cases, the recipes.
Black Pudding – a blood sausage, very traditional and often served with a full fried breakfast
Bubble and Squeak – a great leftovers dish, cabbage and potatoes fried together
Clapshot – a root vegetable mash – like Neeps and Tatties, a Scottish dish
Cullen Skink – a traditional Scottish smoked haddock soup
Flummery – a soft fruit pudding, like a fool
Hob Nobs – oatmeal biscuits (cookies) made by McVities – not traditional at all, as far as I know!
Knickerbocker Glory – an elaborate banana and ice-cream dessert, usually served with a cherry on top
Marmite – a salty spread, officially yeast extract – you either love it or you hate it (the website is great)
Spotted Dick – a suet pudding, studded with raisins. Something of a standing joke, so almost never seen any more
Toad-in-the-hole – sausages cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter – still very popular, despite the name, as it’s such a great combination.
and that’s without Clootie dumplings. Maybe there is something to this theory…