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Spotted dick will never stop being funny.
February 6, 2007 8:43 PM   Subscribe

No spotted dick until you finish your bubble and squeak! An American girl eats her way through the UK, detailing her adventures tasting such traditional delicacies such as haggis and scotch eggs.
posted by SassHat (138 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Spotted Dick is vile (hush, you), but bubble & squeak is sublime.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:52 PM on February 6, 2007


Haggis! The king o' the puddin' race!
posted by docgonzo at 8:53 PM on February 6, 2007


Cute site... She's a much braver person than I am (gustatorially ~ is that a word? ~ speaking).
posted by amyms at 8:54 PM on February 6, 2007


(Oh, and having just read the link, I feel obliged to point out: If you buy shite haggis, it's gonna taste [and look] like shite.)
posted by docgonzo at 8:54 PM on February 6, 2007


Oh, and "Spotted Dick" always makes me think of "Randy Johnson."
posted by docgonzo at 8:56 PM on February 6, 2007


bubble & squeak is sublime

It DOES sound good... Anything with brussels sprouts as an ingredient is A-Ok in my book.
posted by amyms at 8:56 PM on February 6, 2007


Wikipedia's Spotted Dick entry really is the height of rigour and objectivity: "Spotted Dick is a steamed suet pudding that looks like someone took a dump on an omelet, containing dried fruit, usually currants."
posted by docgonzo at 9:00 PM on February 6, 2007


I just had "good" haggis for the first time on Burn's Night, and it was sublime. My previous experience with it was not so fab.

There is a great restaurant in Houston called The Black Lab that serves all these wonderful things, and it's my favorite place for brunch. Yum!

Bubble and squeak! Yum! Toad in a Hole! Yum! Shepard's Pie! Yum! Cock-a-leekie! Besides, why doesn't American food have such dirty names?
posted by Brittanie at 9:10 PM on February 6, 2007


What a fun find SassHat! I *love* this site! Being an American who lived in England for 4 years I did the same kind of comparing and analysing in my thoughts about Brit food and it's delightful to see another expat's experience.

Maybe she could also review fish n' chips, Karo Syrup, Pork Brains in Milk Gravy, steak and kidney pie?
posted by nickyskye at 9:16 PM on February 6, 2007


For years, I've wanted to open a restaurant featuring such English (well, British) delicacies. Everybody laughs at me. But one day, I will.
posted by unSane at 9:17 PM on February 6, 2007


Hmm... someone just cleaned up Wikipedia's Spotted Dick entry.
(Did you know you don't even have to register and log in to edit Wikipedia? You just click 'edit'. It's a little scary. I mentioned this to my wife, and she fell into the habit of tidying up and fixing articles. It was all downhill from there.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:26 PM on February 6, 2007


I'm not sure that Tesco represents the best and brightest of British cuisine.
posted by zamboni at 9:34 PM on February 6, 2007


The current me looks back on horror at the 8-year-old me that loved scotch eggs back when I lived in Bath. My mother also recounts that as the low point in our family's diets.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:42 PM on February 6, 2007


Does she work for tesco?
posted by gergtreble at 9:46 PM on February 6, 2007


Scotch Eggs
Haslet
Black Pudding
Haggis
Stilton
Suet pudding
Pease pudding
Roast beef
Bacon and eggs
Shepherd's Pie
Cullen skink


mmmm
posted by unSane at 9:56 PM on February 6, 2007


She certainly didn't like Marmite.

Okay. I have to do this now. It is absolutely foul and it won't come off my teeth. Help! Where is water? I need water! Okay, so I can't finish the cracker. It is all the worst flavors in the world, concentrated into one devil-spawn foul mix. The texture is like really sticky smoker's lung. Only stickier. It is salty and sour and bitter all at the same time. I think I may cry. The flavor is indescribable, but it is similar to what I imagine it would be like to give a blowjob to a diseased hobo. No, it's worse than that. I don't think I'd have as many scarring memories from a diseased hobo. And at the end of that, at least someone is happy. I think it's safe to say that I'm never ever eating Marmite again.


Ouch!
posted by gergtreble at 10:01 PM on February 6, 2007


I think she needs to try traditional peasant (and non-peasant) Chinese cuisine, next.

Anecdotdaly, I've an Italian friend who dated a girl who's family was very rural Chinese peasant - and he never batted an eye at any of the food he was offered.

Except for the crysanthenum-petal covered sugared lard. Very irrational, that.
posted by porpoise at 10:02 PM on February 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe she could also review . . . Karo Syrup

Karo Syrup is English/British? My as-southern-as-could-be grandmother used it in all sorts of stuff.

http://www.karosyrup.com/history.asp

"The Corn Products Refining Company of New York and Chicago is formed, and on May 13, introduces Karo Light and Dark Corn Syrup. "
posted by mrbill at 10:06 PM on February 6, 2007


British Cuisine? Spare me. Gastronomically impaired with a Scot's/English heritage, it wasn't until I moved away from home that I discovered that carrots weren't an orange, boiled, mushy, paste. My mother once actually presented the table with brussels-sprouts that had balckened and charred outer-leaves; a result of the giant pot of water she drowned them in having eventually boiled completely off.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:11 PM on February 6, 2007


Funny, reading her comparisons makes me think that the USian food is strange, not the British. You use jelly in salads? WTFnF?
posted by wilful at 10:18 PM on February 6, 2007


That is so not bubble and squeak if it's out of a packet.
posted by tellurian at 10:24 PM on February 6, 2007


Oh, and many of these foods are designed to be prepared at home. Buying them from Tescos is not going to exactly do them justice. She couldn't even make custard, which is the easiest thing in the world..
posted by wilful at 10:25 PM on February 6, 2007


YUK!!! She's an entertaining writer, but someone needs to invite that poor girl to dinner so she can sample English food, rather than English food-like products.

Yorkshire pudding cannot exist outside of a roast dinner, and bubble and squeak doesn't come from freezers at Tesco. In her review of Branston Pickle, the word "cheese" doesn't even appear until the last sentence. She gets points for trying Marmite straight on a cracker, though.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:25 PM on February 6, 2007


Apropos of bubble and squeak, my recipe:

cooked cabbage
mashed potatoes
any other leftover cooked vegetables you'd like to add to the mix, eg carrots, peas, broccoli, spinach or whatever you've got on hand
onions, minced
bacon fat

heat a bit of bacon fat as you would butter, and brown the onions.

mush everything else together. if you've got bacon left over, crumble that up and add it, too.

fry the lot in the remaining bacon fat. serve with some fried eggs, some baked beans and buttered toast with marmite. add a cup of tea, and voila! breakfast. no freezers needed.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 10:43 PM on February 6, 2007


Ah, a topic close to my heart. My father's from Scarborough, Yorkshire, the epicentre of such delicacies as chip butties and drippings sandwiches. Over the years I've been regailed with stories of nutrition from my father's childhood. The strange part is that people there are notoriously long-lived despite the horrific diet. My grandmother's side lives well into their 90s on about a 99% saturated fat diet.

I remember going into Tescos in the early 90s in Scarborough and their produce section consisted of cans. Awesome.

Bubble and Squeak (like a lot of these names) sounds like rhyming slang...anyone know for sure?
posted by jimmythefish at 11:08 PM on February 6, 2007


...oh, and nothing beats the time that my little brother (about 14 at the time) thought that the Marmite my grandmother was putting on toast was Nutella. He kept saying 'more, more' as we all watched. I wished I had a camera when he bit into it.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:11 PM on February 6, 2007


I may be alone here, but a good haggis is a good haggis. Its all in the spices, perhaps.
posted by Kudos at 11:16 PM on February 6, 2007


Spotted dick always made me think of Michael Jackson.
posted by sluglicker at 11:25 PM on February 6, 2007


Bubble and Squeak (like a lot of these names) sounds like rhyming slang...anyone know for sure?

It's come to be part of rhyming slang - for Greek, hence Nick the Bubble in Lock Stock - but I think its original meaning pre-dates this usage. The derivation is apparently as follows: Francis Grose gives a definition of 'bubble and squeak' in his 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue', 1785, which indicated how the dish got its name:

"Bubble and Squeak, beef and cabbage fried together. It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking whilst over the fire."

Also the Hot Dogs in a Can are not "British Hot Dogs", they are just shit sausages from a can.
posted by greycap at 11:26 PM on February 6, 2007


The Spotted Dick wikipedia entry may now be void of the comment docgonzo mentioned up-thread, but it now has something which is probably even better.

"French cyclist Richard Virenque's nickname is "spotted dick", due to his record 7 Polka dot jersey wins at the Tour de France, and the fact he won them while he had a severe case of venereal disease."

Even better, unless you happen to be Richard Virenque, that is.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:42 PM on February 6, 2007


If you don't like spotted dick and custard then you are, by definition, a freakazoidal maniac.
posted by vbfg at 12:08 AM on February 7, 2007


bubble & squeak is sublime

It DOES sound good... Anything with brussels sprouts as an ingredient is A-Ok in my book.


It alludes to it in the article but doesn't make clear that it's an absolutely incontrovertible rule - bubble and squeak is made from left overs. I suspect cabbage is more common than sprouts, simply because sprouts polarise opinion like no other veg, but I agree sprouts work better. The one real rule to it though is that everything must be cooked a day before, left in the fridge, then made into patties and fried. Nothing else will do.
posted by vbfg at 12:17 AM on February 7, 2007


I also love the fact that the article describes their size in terms of sushi for those of you not used to bizarre foreign foods.
posted by vbfg at 12:20 AM on February 7, 2007


What, no room for the deep fried Mars bar? Actually delicious, unless the chip shop in question fries them in the fishy oil. Go to Rapidos on Broughton St, Edinburgh, girl, and get yourself a molten chocolate fritter.
posted by imperium at 12:30 AM on February 7, 2007


Bravo! However, why on earth is she buying these things from Tescos? Those Cornish pasties she tried were the worst sort of lowest common denominator supermarket packet food. If you have to buy these classic examples of British cuisine (many of which are really designed to be made at home out of cheap easily available ingredients) then at least source decent versions. Sticky Toffee Pudding for instance. Mmmm.

Oh, and you're really not supposed to eat Marmite like that — I'm not suprised she had such a reaction to the stuff. You spread Marmite very, very thinly indeed. If you can't see through it to what's underneath then you haven't spread it thinly enough.
posted by pharm at 12:31 AM on February 7, 2007


Frozen Yorkshire Puddings are the devils work and anyone who encourages their spread needs re-education via the firing squad. They are only a traditional accompaniment to roast beef to foreigners, i.e those unlucky enough to be born outside the borders of the People's Republic of Yorkshire. They should be eaten on their own as a first course, smothered in onion gravy, before the meat is even out of the oven. None of this individual crap either. One large roasting tin cut into pieces - more soft bottom rather than crispy edge which is what god, himself a Yorkshireman, intended.

The only possible exceptions to this rule are the Pub Grub style giant puddings filled with stew or, the ultimate hangover cure, and something which I have only ever seen in Bradford, a giant pudding filled with a full english breakfast.
posted by vbfg at 12:31 AM on February 7, 2007 [4 favorites]


What, no room for the deep fried Mars bar? Actually delicious, unless the chip shop in question fries them in the fishy oil. Go to Rapidos on Broughton St, Edinburgh, girl, and get yourself a molten chocolate fritter.

Those things are a badge of Scottish identity now. There are people all over England who don't believe they exist. Leave the M6 / A74 at the last junction in England, about a hundred yards before the border itself and turn right and you'll find yourself in Longtown - the last town before the border. There is no chance at all you'll get one there, and they'll look at you like you asked to piss in their fryer if you try. Turn left at the top of the same sliproad and you'll be in Gretna, first town in Scotland, and the chip shop has a sweet shop attached purely for the purposes of frying.
posted by vbfg at 12:43 AM on February 7, 2007


Excellent. Not directly from the post, but now I know what that throwaway line from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels refers to.

The first reference to the meal is from a rather surprising source - Thomas Bridges' 'A burlesque translation of Homer', 1770:

"We therefore cooked him up a dish Of lean bull-beef, with cabbage fry'd, ... Bubble, they call this dish, and squeak."

Francis Grose was a collaborator in that work. He goes on to give a definition of 'bubble and squeak' in his 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue', 1785, which indicated how the dish got its name:

"Bubble and Squeak, beef and cabbage fried together. It is so called from its bubbling up and squeaking whilst over the fire."

By 1951, and possibly earlier, bubble and squeak lost meat as an ingredient. This may have been due to the rationing in force in the U. K. during WWII, when meat was scarce. This was committed to print in the 1951 edition of the food bible of the day, the Good Housekeeping - Home Encyclopedia:

"In the modern version of bubble and squeak the meat is usually omitted."

In a throwback to the Greek myth link in first citation we have the current rhyming slang use of the term - meaning Greek. This is by no means common but was recorded in 1968 by Leila Berg in her book Risinghill: death of a comprehensive school:

"'Why do they call Greek children Bubbles?' said Mr. Colinides to me ... Later it dawned on me that it was short for bubble-and-squeak'; rhyming slang.

posted by dreamsign at 1:05 AM on February 7, 2007


Hell, if I had known I could just blog about all the food I've been eatin'...

She gets points for loving the Irn-Bru (but who doesn't?), but minus points for not trying my favourite British combination -- chips and gravy.

(I also add cheese, but that's something else entirely...)
posted by Katemonkey at 1:31 AM on February 7, 2007


It's amazing how many people go through the process of indepently discovering cheesy chips and gravy, get all excited about it and then discover it's the signature dish of Quebec.
posted by vbfg at 1:45 AM on February 7, 2007


It's a fun idea and it's nicely written and her outsider's viewpoint is refreshing. But as others point out, all she seems to do is review the local supermarket's "value" range. And, while a Cornish pasty eaten after surfing in Cornwall is great, a Cornish pasty from the local gas station is like eating a meat and starch flavoured loofah.

Which brings me to the weirdest thing of all. She actually seems to like most of this factory food.
posted by rhymer at 1:59 AM on February 7, 2007


Marmite is delicious.

The girl writes very well. Her description of marmite had my wife and I in fits of laughter. However, her reviews are meaningless. They boil down to: sweet = good, anything else = yuk!
posted by mr. strange at 2:07 AM on February 7, 2007


She needs to get some British friends. Who would let a friend eat this Tesco sludge?

Either that, or she could go to a trendy british cuisine restuarant (or a few of them) to try their fare.
posted by asok at 2:14 AM on February 7, 2007


Ah yes, mr.strange, how right you are. What was she playing at with those pickled onions? Silverskin onions are for cocktails, aren't they? I doubt she could take the pressure of a strong pickled onion considering her aversion to savoury. She also appears to not be trying the local crisps, which is a bit suspect.

If she comes down my way I'll help her see the light.

Makes for good reading, though. Maybe she would be happier contributing to the PimpThatSnack pantheon.
posted by asok at 2:25 AM on February 7, 2007


Ah, pickled onions: Up there with rollmop herring as the food of the gods IMO.
posted by pharm at 2:30 AM on February 7, 2007


She needs to get some British friends. Who would let a friend eat this Tesco sludge?

Funny, where I live I wish I had access to a Tescos. We have an intermittently stocked somerfield on the high street and that is it. What I miss are the options and quality of Canadian grocery stores. Loblaws where art thou?

I don't know how many times I have resolved to cook from scratch only to get frustrated by the unavailability of basic ingredients.

The food here will eventually force me to leave once I burn out on baltis and thai.


Marmite is delicious.


Marmite is brewery sludge. That you eat. I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the British are more inscrutable than the Japanese.
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 AM on February 7, 2007


I don't know how many times I have resolved to cook from scratch only to get frustrated by the unavailability of basic ingredients.

In Birmingham? Surely you jest? That or your profile needs updating.
posted by vbfg at 3:04 AM on February 7, 2007


Marmite is brewery sludge. That you eat. I am gradually coming to the conclusion that the British are more inscrutable than the Japanese.

Dude, just don't even get me started.
posted by dreamsign at 3:11 AM on February 7, 2007


Yorkshire Pudding from Tescos?? The clue is in the name - get your Yorkshire Pudding from Yorkshire (or at least the recipe).

Still, good review for 'the Bru', our other national drink.

Imperium, the Rapidos deep fried Mars Bar is a taste expolsion, but I prefer the deep fried ice-cream you can get in Glasgow (and Monster Mash).
posted by Shave at 3:19 AM on February 7, 2007


Hall's don't make haggis, they repackage shit. Get a MacSweens (meat or veggie, both great).
posted by Shave at 3:24 AM on February 7, 2007


Veggie haggis? How does that work?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 3:58 AM on February 7, 2007


She really doesn't have the hang of this at all. Eating a Scotch pie on a plate with broccoli? WTF?
posted by fire&wings at 4:03 AM on February 7, 2007


Where are the Twiglets? The Baltis? The Kebabs?
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:13 AM on February 7, 2007


The only possible exceptions to this rule are the Pub Grub style giant puddings filled with stew or, the ultimate hangover cure, and something which I have only ever seen in Bradford, a giant pudding filled with a full english breakfast.

I used to work in a pub in Towton, (on the site of the battle of Towton) which was "the home of giant yorkshire puddings". They were made in a bread-loaf tin, cut in half, and filled with a variety of roast meats, before having onion gravy ladled over them and being served to delighted (but sometimes horrified) patrons. Those things were huge.
posted by cardamine at 4:33 AM on February 7, 2007


Those Cornish pasties she tried were the worst sort of lowest common denominator supermarket packet food.

the ones i buy in michigan supermarkets are much better looking than that ... (yes, we do have them here and they're not made by some chain supermarket, but by genuine u p or wisconsin cornish pasty makers ... and in our part of the u s they ARE called "cornish")
posted by pyramid termite at 4:42 AM on February 7, 2007


Popovers are the sweeter American equivalent of Yorkshire puddings.
They are both brilliant and neither should ever, ever be heated-from-frozen.

(Whoever said making British custard from scratch is easy is a better cook than I am - you are utterly doomed if you turn away from the saucepan for two seconds and I STILL have to check the instructions on the Bird's powder tin after too many years to count!)

Lovely post.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:49 AM on February 7, 2007


Funny, where I live I wish I had access to a Tescos. We have an intermittently stocked somerfield on the high street and that is it.

I used to live in Liverpool, which at the time had 51 Kwiksaves, one Tesco Metro and one Sainsbury's (which you needed a car to get to). Somehow I managed to get by, although Kwiksave did not stock frozen spinach, which I found hard to deal with.

Somerfield sucks ass, to be sure, but which basic ingredients can you not get?
posted by asok at 4:49 AM on February 7, 2007


by the way, she shouldn't think that the british are strange for having hot dogs in a can ... not when american supermarkets carry stuff like sweet sue whole canned chicken

yeah ... a whole damn chicken in a can ... "After following the directions to chill the product, I opened the can, dumped the contents into a large pan, and found myself staring at a quivering mound of congealed goop. Figuring there must be a fowl in there somewhere, I pawed my way through the gelatinous mass and, sure enough, discovered one very sorry-looking chicken about the size of a Cornish hen.

bones and all ... yum
posted by pyramid termite at 5:11 AM on February 7, 2007


Tesco value range? Pardon me while I vomit. Thanks.

Pasties are popular in northern Michigan, and I've always loved them. Best I ever had was enjoyed while watching the sunset at the Lissard (sp? southern tip of Cornwall).

Some Americans know Yorkshire puddings by another name: 'popovers'. Just they are eaten with jam in America.

Only thing I found new to me, which I liked, in the UK, were pork pies. These were lovely served hot along side a stack of American pancakes w/maple syrup (which of course got on the pie).
posted by Goofyy at 5:17 AM on February 7, 2007


Goofyy: The Lizard is the southern tip of Cornwall.
posted by biffa at 5:41 AM on February 7, 2007


Only thing I found new to me, which I liked, in the UK, were pork pies. These were lovely served hot along side a stack of American pancakes w/maple syrup (which of course got on the pie).

the mind boggles...
posted by altolinguistic at 5:42 AM on February 7, 2007


I never realized that "Smarties" were unknown in the United States. We have the same Nestle Smarties in Canada.
posted by generichuman at 5:43 AM on February 7, 2007


Some Americans know Yorkshire puddings by another name: 'popovers'. Just they are eaten with jam in America.

That was common in Yorkshire for yonks. Pudding and gravy to start with, to fill you up before the actual meal due to the paucity of yer actual food, meat and veg for the main course and then pudding and jam for, err, pudding - also the Yorkshire name for dessert, or at least it is in my part of Yorkshire.

Only thing I found new to me, which I liked, in the UK, were pork pies. These were lovely served hot along side a stack of American pancakes w/maple syrup (which of course got on the pie).

And again we have to crack the firing squad out. If they're hot then the only thing you're allowed to eat with them is mushy peas, possibly with a smidge of mint sauce on them. On plot night it's the traditional meal, followed by flpajacks which I think also get a mention on that page.

YOU ABSOLUTELY SHALL NOT HAVE THEM WITH PANCAKES AND MAPLE SYRUP. I can't even begin to describe how wrong that is. That said, I've heard reports from the US of people stacking their plates with pancakes, syrup, bacon and ice cream for breakfast. One day I hope to visit and persuade you of the error of your ways in person.
posted by vbfg at 5:47 AM on February 7, 2007


btw, in case you were wondering, Plot Night.
posted by vbfg at 5:48 AM on February 7, 2007


(blimey, VBFG, you're more of a militant Yorkshireman than my dad, and he's an ex-pat).

I don't understand why she misses M&Ms - we have them here (England). Perhaps not in Scotland?
posted by altolinguistic at 5:59 AM on February 7, 2007


This made me laugh having just returned from my umpteenth visit to the US sick of salt, high fructose corn syrup, fried goods & cheese. (Is there anything USians won't put cheese on?!?)

But screw Marmite. And Vegemite. The king of all yeast extracts is Essential Yeast Extract (scroll down a bit). Properly made, golden brown in colour & you can eat it neat from the jar.

And Tesco's?!? Meh.
posted by i_cola at 6:01 AM on February 7, 2007


I grew up eating pasties, my dad is from a mining town in north eastern PA that was mostly Cornish and Welsh immigrants. I always thought of them as British strombolis (or calzone).
posted by octothorpe at 6:04 AM on February 7, 2007


My mom spent 10 years in England when her dad was stationed there, and has maintained the Yorkshire pudding/roast beef Christmas dinner tradition. Which means it is what I insist upon. And the very idea of microwaveable Yorkshire puddings that are not being microwaved by me, at 1:00 AM December 26th with gravy (hello, Bisto, I love you), after being prepared by me (including accompanying smoky mess and avoiding oil burns by the grace of the sweet newborn baby Jesus) is a travesty.
posted by mckenney at 6:08 AM on February 7, 2007


(blimey, VBFG, you're more of a militant Yorkshireman than my dad, and he's an ex-pat).

'appen. There's a saying that goes something along the lines of "You never have to ask a Yorkshireman where he's from. If you've started speaking he's already told you." I model myself on that.
posted by vbfg at 6:10 AM on February 7, 2007


Whoever said making British custard from scratch is easy is a better cook than I am - you are utterly doomed if you turn away from the saucepan for two seconds

There are two good tricks to avoiding custard curdling:

1. Use a thermometer - it will only curdle when it reaches a particular heat. Take it off the flame just before it reaches this heat and decant into a china bowl inside a larger bowl of water and stir for a few minutes

2. Stir continuously while it's cooking, when you start to see the very first signs of curdling on the spoon from the bottom of the pan, dunk the pan in a sink already filled with iced water and whisk like crazy with an electric whisk. It will come together, lumps will disappear if you do it fast enough

If you're really nervous about it (or cooking on an electric ring), then cook it using a double boiler / bain marie, so the heat doesn't get too intense.

Yuk! Bird's Custard. :-s
posted by bifter at 6:11 AM on February 7, 2007


I think every yorkshireman is slightly militant when outside the county
posted by cardamine at 6:13 AM on February 7, 2007


We have the same Nestle Smarties in Canada.

No you don't. The UK Smarties have an extra sweet shell. I import Cdn Smarties every chance I get because i find the UK ones to be too cloyingly sweet.
posted by srboisvert at 6:18 AM on February 7, 2007


Still, at least she like Jaffa Cakes. Everyone likes Jaffa Cakes.
posted by afx237vi at 6:28 AM on February 7, 2007


There is a candy called Smarties here in the US but they are not chocolates they are sweet-tart fruit flavored candies.
posted by octothorpe at 6:32 AM on February 7, 2007


Still, at least she like Jaffa Cakes. Everyone likes Jaffa Cakes

Full Moon. Half Moon. Total Eclipse!
posted by cardamine at 6:39 AM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


They should be eaten on their own as a first course, smothered in onion gravy, before the meat is even out of the oven. None of this individual crap either. One large roasting tin cut into pieces - more soft bottom rather than crispy edge which is what god, himself a Yorkshireman, intended.

Hmm...my grandmother (from Scarborough) is famous for her Yorkshire puddings (swearing up and down that you couldn't get the right flour here in Canada whenever she'd come to visit) and she made them individually. YMMV.

For no reason whatsoever: Yorkshire Airlines. Luxury!
posted by jimmythefish at 6:44 AM on February 7, 2007


The Brits have Curly Wurlies. That's all you need to know.

(we used to have them in Canada -- they were called Wigwags, and were excellent when soft)
posted by dreamsign at 6:44 AM on February 7, 2007


Walkers Lamb/Mint crisps. Any UK MeFites who would like to send me a case of those, and a case of the smoky bacon ones will be my best friend foreeeeeeever. Probably the only potato chip flavor I've ever liked better than blue cheese/buffalo chicken and the sea salt/cracked black pepper kettle chips...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:56 AM on February 7, 2007


"Yuk! Bird's Custard. :-s
posted by bifter

True enough, bifter.

But I can wax both my legs while eating a curly-wurly in the time it takes to follow your (perfect) recipe for perfect custard from scratch!

Bird's has a happy nostalgic taste for me - but yeah, it is definitely pings on the objective yuck-meter!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:59 AM on February 7, 2007


Veggie haggis? How does that work? - soundsofsuburbia

It's just oatmeal,water, vegetable margarine,kidney beans, lentils, nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts), carrots, turnip, onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper, spices.

Very tasty, although I agree with MacSweens - "We think the Macsween vegetarian haggis is particularly delicious served with roast meat..."
posted by Shave at 7:12 AM on February 7, 2007


I can't take this very seriously, though she is funny. As mentioned up thread several times, all of this food is factory made pap. Yuck. I made (never having eaten it before) a from-scratch haggis for Burns Night and loved it. We also made cock-a-leekie soup and tipsy laird and drank entirely too much whisky.

I think she should have to try everything again made by someone with at least a modicum of culinary talent and then make a decision.
posted by janespeed at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2007


Marmite needs to be spread very sparingly (the small jars it comes in is a big hint) on hot, white toast immediately after melted butter (real butter, none of that pretend muck). Heaven.

Dollops of it on crackers?! Ridiculous behaviour.
posted by normy at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2007


These imitation "Smarties" that octothorpe talks about are really called "Rockets" up here in the land of Canadia.

I have some UK heritage from my grandparents but the only foods I've inherited are yorkshire pudding (with a roast dinner), mince and tatties and shepherd's pie. And I'm sure our version of each is an atrocity onto the Yorkshire gods.
posted by utsutsu at 7:31 AM on February 7, 2007


Marmite = the stuff you scrape out of the lawnmower.

I could also do without kippers for breakfast. Your breakfast really shouldn't stare back at you.

But other English goodies... Eccles cakes, a ploughman's lunch, yarg or stilton (latter esp with apricots), good cider (NOT Strongbow), pasties, ginger cake and clotted cream, and that most heavenly of British concoctions, the cream tea... mmmm.

Chocolate stout and vanilla port are pretty damned good too.
posted by Zinger at 7:35 AM on February 7, 2007


Compare "Spotted Dick, S'il Vous Plait", British cuisine taken to Lyons, France.
posted by plinth at 7:58 AM on February 7, 2007


Interesting, I bet that's a good read. Actually, seeing that reminded me of an anecdote I think I once heard from some TV cookery programme. I think the claim was that two things a classically trained French cook could be relied upon to fail at are proper custard and, der-derr, Yorkshire puddings.

Yorkshire puds are simple but hard, but the only hard part is acquiring the knowledge that *everything* has to be absolutely as hot as you can get it, including the roasting tin you're pouring the batter into.
posted by vbfg at 8:03 AM on February 7, 2007


I think she should have to try everything again made by someone with at least a modicum of culinary talent and then make a decision.

Living in Scotland will make the path she took pretty much the only option.
posted by vbfg at 8:05 AM on February 7, 2007


Ahh, this is making me feel homesick, but luckily I'm off back to Blighty in a couple of days.

Put me in the disappointed crowd that all the food she got was from Tescos. A real pasty is an amazing thing, as is a really good haggis. Her Yorkshire pudding experience made me sad. Mini-Yorkshires, just aren't the ticket...
posted by ob at 8:07 AM on February 7, 2007


my favorite taste of london: scampi 'n' lemon nik naks -- stinky, addictive, and unfortunately pretty much impossible to get in the U.S. -- dang!
posted by doplgangr at 8:07 AM on February 7, 2007


I'm disappointed that she hasn't reviewed Mr. Brain's Pork Faggots (in a rich West Country sauce).

and spotted dick is awesomes
posted by infidelpants at 8:09 AM on February 7, 2007


vbfg, we can manage 'at least a modicum of culinary talent'.
posted by Shave at 8:10 AM on February 7, 2007


Also, it's good to hear Yorkshire folk on here. My dad's from Hull and whilst he hasn't lived their for well over 40 years, he's still a Yorkshireman (he went crazy when Hull was voted the worst British city.) Like jimmythefish's comment my grandmother and her mother (according to my dad's stories) existed on a diet of lard and both of them lived into their 90's.
posted by ob at 8:10 AM on February 7, 2007


Oh, and needs cheese toasties. None of that Welsh rarebit nonsense either.

Two slices of thick white bread, a big lump of cheddar cheese, whack it under the grill for a few minutes, eat. Perfect! Maybe stick some tomato sauce in there too, depending on how adventurous you're feeling.
posted by afx237vi at 8:10 AM on February 7, 2007


The Cookbook: Lobscouse And Spotted Dog has recipes for this sort of thing. It is also a great read, since it is really a: "Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels" (Master and Commander) by the author Patrick O'Brian
posted by Wezzlee at 8:11 AM on February 7, 2007


my favorite taste of london: scampi 'n' lemon nik naks

They are delicious but they are a pale immitation of ultimate* pub snack: Scampi Fries.

* Well, penultimate after pork scratchings.
posted by ninebelow at 8:18 AM on February 7, 2007


vbfg, we can manage 'at least a modicum of culinary talent'.

I've seen deep fried cornish pasties and deep fried haggis in Scotland, as well as the aforementioned Mars bars. Deep fried Yorkshire pud would be an experience.
posted by vbfg at 8:19 AM on February 7, 2007


She needs to try the popular Glasgow delicacy, Chicken Tikka Masala. Invented by Bangladeshi chefs in the UK, it's now regarded by some people as Britain's new national dish. And it's pretty good.
posted by teleskiving at 8:20 AM on February 7, 2007


We used to deep fry our left over yorkshire pudding and stuffing. It was a bit like Yorkshire tapas. Lovely.
posted by ninebelow at 8:28 AM on February 7, 2007


teleskiving: we have chicken tikka masala here in the States. In fact, it was the first Indian food I ever ate, about twenty years ago.
I was taught to eat marmite spread thinly on toast, with melted butter. As someone mentioned above, this girl needs a (Brit) food mentor. What she's doing is the equivalent of buying a beef and bean burrito at 7-11 and thinking that's the benchmark of Cal-Mex fast food.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:39 AM on February 7, 2007


The fun American < -->British dictionary.

mrbill, You are so totally right about Karo Syrup. I was thinking of Golden Syrup, treacle.

generichuman: I never realized that "Smarties" were unknown in the United States. We have the same Nestle Smarties in Canada.

It's interesting that some big corporations manufacture/distribute products depending on the country. For example Coca Cola sells Water Salad drink in Japan and it's not available in the West.
posted by nickyskye at 8:42 AM on February 7, 2007


Maaannn, this whole time I have been eating my way through the UK including a near heart attack inducing walk around Eninburgh with a deep fried haggis in hand and could have been a FPP?

I agree that Tesco's is a bad idea all around - at least try a Sainsbury range.

To the Yorkshireman in this thread, how would you rate the fare at Betty's at Harrogate? I liked the fat rascal alot but want to know how Betty's rates on the spectrum of tastiness to a Yorkshireman.
posted by jadepearl at 8:45 AM on February 7, 2007


She might give Stargazey Pie a try too.
posted by Abiezer at 8:51 AM on February 7, 2007


Anyone have a good pasty recipe? The Alton Brown one seemed too fiddly for simple miner food and many of the web recipes serve what seems like 4 thousand.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:51 AM on February 7, 2007


Is this another one of those "You stupid wankers, food was so much better before you bastards stole it from Britain" threads?
posted by tehloki at 9:00 AM on February 7, 2007


Seconding Shave on the MacSweens haggis, and with plenty of clapshot to go with.

And, speaking of faggots...
posted by breezeway at 9:10 AM on February 7, 2007


Good haggis is good; bad haggis is bad.
posted by grouse at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2007


To the Yorkshireman in this thread, how would you rate the fare at Betty's at Harrogate? I liked the fat rascal alot but want to know how Betty's rates on the spectrum of tastiness to a Yorkshireman.

Well, it has lace curtains and, more than that, it's in Harrogate. If you were a Yorkshireman I need go no futher, but in the interests of greater cultural awareness I'll explain.

Harrogate is where people who work in Leeds live but who feel that, because Leeds is in Yorkshire, they cannot actually live there themselves. This is because people who had their jobs transferred from the south by industry bosses who, bless their well meaning hearts, thought they were bringing word of the Empire, cannot quite bring themselves to accept that there is life outside of London.

The popular image of Leeds is of a stereotypically Yorkshire, and thus northern, city. Obviously in thinking this they betray thmselves because they don't realise Leeds was disowned by anyone who actually is a Yorkshireman at least twenty years ago. They will at least be aware though that Harrogate was disowned by people in Leeds twenty years before that and, since it has better poncy regency buildings than anywhere except Brighton, can kid themselves by visual means alone that they have a better quality of life there. The increasing number of shops built for twats in Leeds furthers the illusion. They almost certainly do have a better quality of life but, being twats, don't feel that in their hearts.

So, Betty's. Nice scones. That's scones with a short rather than a long 'o', despite what said twats might try and convince you of. Never been to the original one in Harrogate but there are a few others now. I had a full meal at the one in York last November when we got a surprise visit from some friends from somwhere near the MA / NH border. They loved it, and I was quite impressed with the food too. I forget what I had though.

My first real job was at a college for school leavers and adults here. I got my lunch there everyday, usually a cornish pasty or somethin similer. They never failed to be excellent.

tbh though the best food around here is a British interpretation of Indian curries. That's probably true all over the UK now, even the linked site says tikka missala is the true natinal dish of Scorland rather than the 'official' haggis. I live in Bradford though, which genuinely is the best place to get curry from aywhere in the UK, and not just a result of me playing a part allotted to me by this thread. ;)
posted by vbfg at 9:42 AM on February 7, 2007


If you didn't work it out there's a Betty's in Saltaire, the place I linked to.
posted by vbfg at 9:47 AM on February 7, 2007


Two words: Gentleman's Relish.

Also, does anyone know of a site that does something similar for American food? The chicken in a can was good but they have many other craaaazy products there. (Also, in some regions, mesmerisingly different knife and fork etiquette.)
posted by Mocata at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2007


PS: vbfg - I've never understood vowel length. Do twats say 'skonn' (as I do) or 'skone' (rhymed with 'stone')?
posted by Mocata at 9:55 AM on February 7, 2007


And, speaking of faggots...


Also speaking of faggots. Nice.
posted by vbfg at 9:57 AM on February 7, 2007


Mocata: As you do.
posted by vbfg at 9:59 AM on February 7, 2007


Yes, even though I'm from the south I can never say scone with a long 'o'. I probably got that from my dad but the long 'o' just sounds poncey to me...
posted by ob at 10:05 AM on February 7, 2007


Scampi fries make your pee smell very, very bad. So do Cheese and Ham nibbles.
posted by squashy wol at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2007


I could also do without kippers for breakfast.

Kippers for breakfast are great - and decent kippers are actually a genuinely good and healthy UK dish. For some reason, they're disgusting with coffee though. You absolutely need good strong tea.
posted by rhymer at 10:35 AM on February 7, 2007


YOU ABSOLUTELY SHALL NOT HAVE THEM WITH PANCAKES AND MAPLE SYRUP.

This is why we had a revolution.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


Police with guns and pancakes with pork pies?
posted by vbfg at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


To the Yorkshireman in this thread, how would you rate the fare at Betty's at Harrogate?

(From a Y'shire woman in this thread) Betty's is an overpriced tourist 'experience', at least in York which tbh is the only one i've been to. However, the yorkshire rarebit was rather nice.

The popular image of Leeds is of a stereotypically Yorkshire, and thus northern, city. Obviously in thinking this they betray thmselves because they don't realise Leeds was disowned by anyone who actually is a Yorkshireman at least twenty years ago.

If it was disowned before i was born am i some sort of...i don't know, regional orphan? Sometimes i tell people i'm from York...because it's nicer.
posted by cardamine at 10:49 AM on February 7, 2007


Q: 'Ow d'ye tell a Geordie?

A: Divvent, 'e canna be telt.
posted by breezeway at 11:23 AM on February 7, 2007


We have a place like Yorkshire in the south. We call it 'Essex'.

God save us from professional Yorkshirefolk
posted by i_cola at 11:47 AM on February 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


If Leeds and Harrogate have been disowned, where is the honest Yorkshireman to dwell?

Have you been t Hull recently? Full of cafes and 'bars'. The Calder valley is rural Shoreditch with a world music sound track.
posted by asok at 11:47 AM on February 7, 2007


Our food is bloody lethal unless you burn 3000 calories a day down the pits, and even then it's artery-clogging gloop. Fuck a toad right in the hole.
posted by bonaldi at 11:53 AM on February 7, 2007


This is a rather fantastic cookery site which has a load of traditional English recipes for anyone who fancies cooking them themselves. Plus its all written in a marvellously grumpy style...
posted by prentiz at 12:02 PM on February 7, 2007


This is cool. I've read a lot of British fiction (both kids' fic -- as a kid -- and SF) and so I've always wondered what these things are. I have been to the UK exactly once, on a job interview. I did a tour of London and ate a Cornish pasty. I also had dinner at an Indian restaurant, which is probably just as authentic by now.
posted by bad grammar at 12:49 PM on February 7, 2007


Posted before I read people complaining about the processed food, but most people (who aren't foodies and haven't read The Omnivore's Dilemma) probably eat processed food.

I bet a Brit could compile a similar list of "typically American" processed items.
posted by bad grammar at 12:54 PM on February 7, 2007


God save us from professional Yorkshirefolk

He's welcome to bloody try.
posted by vbfg at 1:35 PM on February 7, 2007


The drink I miss most from the UK - and even then I don't recall seeing it down south, perhaps it's more of a Lancashire thing - is Dandelion and Burdock. None of that nonsense that actually contains real dandelion or burdock of course.

As a mixer, with cheap vodka say, it's unsurpassed. But I never saw a pub that stocked it. Not that I ever asked. Pubs are for ale.
posted by NailsTheCat at 1:43 PM on February 7, 2007


PS: vbfg - I've never understood vowel length. Do twats say 'skonn' (as I do) or 'skone' (rhymed with 'stone')?

The correct pronunciation is the former.

vbfg is completely spot-on about Harrogate. It's a twathole for those unlucky enough to work in Leeds.

Sheffield, however, is the true jewel in the Yorkshire crown.

Spotted Dick 4tw. If she's sampling Scottish cuisine, she really must try some Potato Scones for breakfast one day.
posted by metaxa at 1:55 PM on February 7, 2007


All this time in Embra and the paer wee hing's never had hersel a deep fried pizza.

Or stovies.

Eating nothing but Tesco Value Chavswill rather marks her out as a candidate for deportation, even if only to England.
posted by genghis at 2:16 PM on February 7, 2007


Don't British people also put beans on toast and spaghetti on baked potatoes? What the fuck is up with the carbs, you guys?
posted by mckenney at 2:27 PM on February 7, 2007


Not forgetting that mainstay of the British pub menu, lasagne and chips. You might get garlic bread with it if you're lucky, just to increase your carb intake.
posted by squashy wol at 3:08 PM on February 7, 2007


At last! I will now know what people are eating in British murder mysteries.
posted by Carol Anne at 3:19 PM on February 7, 2007


pork pies. These were lovely served hot
That's ridiculous - the jelly would turn to liquid and make the pastry soggy. Just cut it in wedges and whack some Coleman's on it.
posted by tellurian at 3:30 PM on February 7, 2007


But other English goodies... Eccles cakes, a ploughman's lunch

Of course, real ploughman didn't cut about in the fields with a great chunk of cheese and some nice french loaf.

It was invented by the English Country Cheese Council in the 60s as a wheeze to get people to eat more cheese (slightly counterproductive as many people eat brie ploughman's lunches).

And who can miss out on banoffee pie? Marks & Spencer started marketing it as an "American" dessert in the early nineties, leading to an uproar.

The rather tasty cheesecake base and banana/toffee/sweet dairy topping was actually invented in Sussex in the seventies - Britain's best, most recent contribution to global cuisine.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:31 AM on February 8, 2007


god I miss steak and kidney pie.
posted by dreamsign at 7:19 AM on February 8, 2007


PS: vbfg - I've never understood vowel length. Do twats say 'skonn' (as I do) or 'skone' (rhymed with 'stone')?

The correct pronunciation is the former.


What's the fastest cake?

QED
posted by biffa at 7:30 AM on February 8, 2007


Man I love a lot of English food. Yorkshire pudding, Beefsteak and kidney pie, Shepard's pie, Scotch Eggs (perfect for picnics). Yum!.

wilful writes "Buying them from Tescos is not going to exactly do them justice."

I'm reminded of those poor bastards who have to consume Cheemo pirogies instead of making them from scratch.

vbfg writes "Frozen Yorkshire Puddings are the devils work and anyone who encourages their spread needs re-education via the firing squad. They are only a traditional accompaniment to roast beef to foreigners, i.e those unlucky enough to be born outside the borders of the People's Republic of Yorkshire. They should be eaten on their own as a first course, smothered in onion gravy, before the meat is even out of the oven. None of this individual crap either. One large roasting tin cut into pieces - more soft bottom rather than crispy edge which is what god, himself a Yorkshireman, intended. "

I never knew what the big deal about Yorkshire pudding was until I dated a woman with very English parents. Her mother's yorkshire was to die for and served as vbfg describes.


vbfg writes "That said, I've heard reports from the US of people stacking their plates with pancakes, syrup, bacon and ice cream for breakfast. One day I hope to visit and persuade you of the error of your ways in person."

Substitute medium crisp waffles and you've got my third favourite breakfast.

Mocata writes "The chicken in a can was good but they have many other craaaazy products there."

Having canned many a chicken at home that doesn't seem all that weird, but canned bread is just whack.
posted by Mitheral at 12:41 PM on February 8, 2007


It's interesting that some big corporations manufacture/distribute products depending on the country

Apparently even within countries. For example, my Newfie friends claim that Cadbury-Schweppes makes a Pineapple Crush! McDonalds serves poutine in Quebec and McLobster (or something?) in Nova Scotia. Of course there are good reasons, but it's cruel to deprive the rest of us! I suppose it's a matter of economics, but it's still neat.

I still can't believe the US doesn't have smarties!
posted by sunshinesky at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2007


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