British food heritage

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Stephanie
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Re: British food heritage

Post by Stephanie » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm

I don't think EPD was particularly judging people or being a food snob. He just really likes making a lot of his own stuff, and cares about the process. Think folk have been a bit unfair here.
Last edited by Stephanie on Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changing title
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Re: British food heritage

Post by bjn » Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:53 pm

Yeahbut, he’s still an NMC.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by tom p » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:20 pm

Stephanie wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm
I don't think EPD was particularly judging people or being a food snob. He just really likes making a lot of his own stuff, and cares about the process. Think folk have been a bit unfair here.
There's only one person misrepresenting his views

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Boustrophedon » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:24 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:32 pm
Yes, exactly. Plus it masks the taste of meat heading towards rancid. Still tastes great in the modern world though.

The point being, just because food was produced out of necessity doesn't make it rubbish, which is what Don asserted.
No I didn't. IALBMCTT. I implied that about some food, not all.
Remember it's only a coup if it's from the coup d'état region of France, otherwise it just sparkling white terrorism.

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Re: The end of cows.

Post by Boustrophedon » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:53 pm

Talking of the end of cows, the back end, Oxtail is an excellent example of a cut of meat that would otherwise be inedible, but stewed with veg for utterly ages becomes sublime. BoustroWife is not so keen. Like a lot of dishes that need long slow cooking, it'a a winter dish, as a fire will probably be lit anyway.
Remember it's only a coup if it's from the coup d'état region of France, otherwise it just sparkling white terrorism.

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Stephanie
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Re: British food heritage

Post by Stephanie » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:03 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:20 pm
Stephanie wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm
I don't think EPD was particularly judging people or being a food snob. He just really likes making a lot of his own stuff, and cares about the process. Think folk have been a bit unfair here.
There's only one person misrepresenting his views
Sometimes tom, sometimes, I prefer to just post a general comment, and not single particular people out. That's my choice.
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Re: British food heritage

Post by tom p » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:04 pm

Stephanie wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:03 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:20 pm
Stephanie wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 2:37 pm
I don't think EPD was particularly judging people or being a food snob. He just really likes making a lot of his own stuff, and cares about the process. Think folk have been a bit unfair here.
There's only one person misrepresenting his views
Sometimes tom, sometimes, I prefer to just post a general comment, and not single particular people out. That's my choice.
I know, and I understand that, but sometimes doing that implies that many people are doing the bad thing, when there's actually only one person. So, sometimes, I might reply to correct the impression which may have been given. That's my choice too.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Stephanie » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:15 pm

I made a quick post to be supportive to EPD cos I know he likes food, and then did the thread split, that's all. I feel a bit upset about what's happening here, so I think I'll just be off again. Enjoy your thread.
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Re: British food heritage

Post by bjn » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:43 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:04 pm
Stephanie wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:03 pm
tom p wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:20 pm

There's only one person misrepresenting his views
Sometimes tom, sometimes, I prefer to just post a general comment, and not single particular people out. That's my choice.
I know, and I understand that, but sometimes doing that implies that many people are doing the bad thing, when there's actually only one person. So, sometimes, I might reply to correct the impression which may have been given. That's my choice too.
Tom, I generally agree with the underlying points you make in most of your posts, but how you say something really matters. It comes across as needlessly hostile, we aren't punching Nazis here, just disagreeing about food.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by lpm » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:08 pm

EPD's fatal flaw is assuming Universal Taste Buds.

But I've already done a thread on that.
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Re: British food heritage

Post by Martin_B » Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:41 am

I'm more concerned with Don's taste buds. Lancashire Hotpot isn't horrible (to me, and not to Lancashire folk for centuries, or it wouldn't have become a staple).

Also, Don said that
Cheap sh.t that takes an age to prepare

Hotpot takes an age to cook, but doesn't take an age to prepare; you do it in the morning, set it in a low fire (or low temp oven these days) and it's cooked when you come home from working in the fields (or factories, or office, etc)
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Re: British food heritage

Post by Grumble » Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:48 am

Martin_B wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:41 am
I'm more concerned with Don's taste buds. Lancashire Hotpot isn't horrible (to me, and not to Lancashire folk for centuries, or it wouldn't have become a staple).

Also, Don said that
Cheap sh.t that takes an age to prepare

Hotpot takes an age to cook, but doesn't take an age to prepare; you do it in the morning, set it in a low fire (or low temp oven these days) and it's cooked when you come home from working in the fields (or factories, or office, etc)
Lancashire hotpot is in the European tradition of cheap working class stews that have become classics. Very much like risotto or paella or a number of others.
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Re: British food heritage

Post by Martin_B » Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:18 am

Grumble wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 5:48 am
Martin_B wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:41 am
I'm more concerned with Don's taste buds. Lancashire Hotpot isn't horrible (to me, and not to Lancashire folk for centuries, or it wouldn't have become a staple).

Also, Don said that
Cheap sh.t that takes an age to prepare

Hotpot takes an age to cook, but doesn't take an age to prepare; you do it in the morning, set it in a low fire (or low temp oven these days) and it's cooked when you come home from working in the fields (or factories, or office, etc)
Lancashire hotpot is in the European tradition of cheap working class stews that have become classics. Very much like risotto or paella or a number of others.
And like them it can be delicious. OK, it can taste sh.t, too, if you make it poorly, but generations have made it tweaking their own recipes to create delicious staple dishes.
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Re: British food heritage

Post by veravista » Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:26 am

Personally, I prefer a Yorkshire Hotpot. it's exactly the same as the Lancashire version but you go next door and borrow the ingredients.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Lydia Gwilt » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:14 am

Andouillette is about the only thing that I have ever put in my mouth that I couldn't even chew let alone swallow - it was so disgusting. I seem to remember it being described as made of "eel and horse tripe" (John Lanchester, The debt to pleasure).
I also read a long time ago, can't remember where, that in the early/mid 19th C there was a thriving trade between Waterloo where they dug up the millions of horse/?human bones from the battlefield, ground them and shipped them to London for the bakers to whiten bread. Has anyone heard of this or know whether it was merely apocryphal.
I have also heard that pre/circa-Tudor English cookery was considered some of the best in Europe and European grandees tried to have an English cook on their staff - anyone know if that was true?

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Re: British food heritage

Post by bagpuss » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:22 am

Martin_B wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:41 am
I'm more concerned with Don's taste buds. Lancashire Hotpot isn't horrible (to me, and not to Lancashire folk for centuries, or it wouldn't have become a staple).

Also, Don said that
Cheap sh.t that takes an age to prepare

Hotpot takes an age to cook, but doesn't take an age to prepare; you do it in the morning, set it in a low fire (or low temp oven these days) and it's cooked when you come home from working in the fields (or factories, or office, etc)
Exactly. (Although I do hate Lancashire hotpot as I detest lamb and mutton but that's just my weirdness)

Long, slow-cooked dishes made with cheap scraggy ends of meat, bulked out with whatever root veg is to hand and with some kind of carb added at some point - spuds, dumplings, etc - are brilliant in so many ways. They take little prep time, will cook while you're getting on with your busy day, turn bits of cheap chewy meat into delectably melt in the mouth morsels, are highly adaptable to whatever you have available at the time and on top of all that, you can just throw in a few more bits of veg (or just some extra liquid to make soup) to make another meal tomorrow.

In the winter, this sort of thing is very much a staple in our house, though as 2 out of 3 of us hate lamb, it's usually done with beef, pork, or chicken. Chop some stuff up, bung it in the slow cooker, add some liquid, switch it on, work all day, dinner is ready with little extra work at the end of the day.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Holylol » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:22 am

Lydia Gwilt wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:14 am
Andouillette is about the only thing that I have ever put in my mouth that I couldn't even chew let alone swallow - it was so disgusting. I seem to remember it being described as made of "eel and horse tripe" (John Lanchester, The debt to pleasure).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andouillette

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Tessa K » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:34 am

Holylol wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:22 am
Lydia Gwilt wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:14 am
Andouillette is about the only thing that I have ever put in my mouth that I couldn't even chew let alone swallow - it was so disgusting. I seem to remember it being described as made of "eel and horse tripe" (John Lanchester, The debt to pleasure).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andouillette
True andouillette is rarely seen outside France and has a strong, distinctive odour related to its intestinal origins and components. Although sometimes repellent to the uninitiated, this aspect of andouillette is prized by its devotees.
A bit like that rotting shark stuff they eat in some parts of Scandinavia, then.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Lydia Gwilt » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:53 am

Yes, it tastes really, really extra dead. It was on canapes at a very high-powered conference where I was someone's guest, so I had to keep smiling not to let them down. Luckily there were potted plants...

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Re: British food heritage

Post by FlammableFlower » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:17 am

This wiki article on English cuisine is quite an interesting read amongst other things noting:
English cookery has developed over many centuries since at least the time of The Forme of Cury, written in the Middle Ages around 1390 in the reign of King Richard II.[1] The book offers imaginative and sophisticated recipes, with spicy sweet and sour sauces thickened with bread or quantities of almonds boiled, peeled, dried and ground, and often served in pastry. Foods such as gingerbread are described.[2] It was not at all, emphasises Clarissa Dickson Wright in her A History of English Food, a matter of large lumps of roast meat at every meal as imagined in Hollywood films.[2]
On our reputation:
In 1953, Britain's first celebrity chef, Philip Harben, published Traditional Dishes of Britain. Its chapter titles simply listed "the stereotypical stalwarts of the British diet",[45] from Cornish pasty and Yorkshire pudding to shortbread, Lancashire hotpot, steak and kidney pudding, jellied eels, clotted cream and fish and chips. Panayi noted that Harben began with contradictions and unsupported claims, naming Britain's supposed reputation for the worst food in the world, but claiming that the country's cooks were technically unmatched and that the repertoire of national dishes was the largest of any country's.[45]
And on the comment regarding spices:
Dickson Wright refutes the popular idea that spices were used to disguise bad meat, pointing out that this would have been as fatal then as it would be today. She suggests instead that spices were used to hide the taste of salt, which was used to preserve food in the absence of refrigeration.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by bagpuss » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:26 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:47 am
Tessa K wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:46 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 9:28 pm
More historical than that. Think pre world war. WW2 was hugely damaging for British food.
Pre WW2 there was a lot of food poverty so people didn't have much choice in what they ate unless they lived in rural areas and were able to grow their own veg. No one 'forgot' their heritage during WW2 as attempts to come up with recipes that replicated pre-war food show. Many people ate better during the war as rationing at least meant there was access to some foods they couldn't afford or get before and they were forced to eat more veg with less meat and dairy available. Of course people cooked 'simply', they didn't have the kitchens to do anything else.

The bacon thread isn't a sign we've forgotten our heritage.
The bacon thread is a very strong sign that we've forgotten our heritage. Good, dry-cured, actually-smoked bacon, whether streaky or back, is a lovely thing. But the vast majority of people (not just a bunch of middle class people on a small forum) don't eat that, they eat watery supermarket sh.t. With bread, the Chorleywood process for many killed off access to decent bread for decades. The cheese industry was almost destroyed by WW2, and we've only seen the re-emergence of cheeses such as proper red Leicester cheese in the last couple of decades. British butter and cream are shadows of their former selves, mainly as they're produced by (generally) Friesian cows when Guernsey or similar cattle produce a much better product with a higher cream level. I doubt any of us has ever tried a proper Cumberland sausage, because the last Cumberland pig died in 1960, after centuries of the breed being produced. Proper Lancashire hotpot is hard to make as well, because getting old of mutton scrag is f.cking difficult, and it's not the same with lamb. Pannage pork is a thing of wonder but hardly anyone has heard of it and hardly anyone can get hold of it, because many of the people who have the rights to produce it don't do so. For decades most of the chickens that we've consumed have been horrifically treated battery chickens, and again, moving back to slow-bred, good quality and ethically produced chicken has only been a concern in recent times.

Compared to the French or Italians, for example, who were no less poor, no more able to access cooking facilities, no less damaged by WW2, and yet have retained a very strong food culture rooted in their past, British people have allowed many of the excellent food produce we've developed over the years to wane or disappear completely, whereas in France or Italy there's been a high demand for good quality which hasn't been replicated over here (they have their problems, of course, like everywhere). There's been some recovery in recent years but still lots more to do.

Of course, the survival or former existence of foods such as Aylesbury duck (one producer left in the whole country), all the different pig, sheep and cattle breeds that the UK has produced (and occasionally exported to other countries where they are better received than they are in the UK), the hotpots and puddings and cured meats and breads and cakes and cheeses and so on gives the lie to the idea that everything everyone here ate was just boiled mush. It's just complete bollocks.
A contributor to the fall of good quality food in the UK compared with Italy and France, is a higher proportion of working women in the UK. In the early post-war years, France actually had a higher proportion than the UK but that switched over in the 50s and Italy has always been well below. Despite more women working, they still mostly had the responsibility for shopping and cooking and they had little time to actually do it. With a little more money and a heck of a lot less time, women had to turn to supermarkets as they just couldn't shop in umpteen specialist shops any more and not only that, they wanted to get food on plates with minimal time and effort. Add in the rise of a consumer culture giving us more things to spend money on, so a greater desire to buy food as cheaply as possible to leave more for other things, and what happened was pretty much inevitable. Had we had a much stronger food culture, it might have just about survived despite all that but with all of those things together, it would have had to be one heck of a strong culture to make it.

It's easy to blame supermarkets, and they definitely bear a portion of the blame, but there really was an incredibly strong demand for convenience over almost anything, especially in the 1970s - how else could you explain the horror that is Smash?

I deplore the loss of quality food as much as you do, EPD, but it's had so much to fight against that I think a massive decline was almost inevitable, though not necessarily to the extent that it happened. I'm hugely glad that we're starting to see a reversal* but as long as supermarkets still sell cheap crap, it's going to be something that only the relatively cash-rich and time-not-too-poor are going to be able to access. I'm not sure how that could be changed. Decent bread is simply more expensive than bagged, sliced, fluff so I can't see that ever going away. Although, that said, does it necessarily have to be? I don't know. Would it be possible to mass-produce a better quality of bread at a similar cost? I suspect not but I really don't know enough about the processes involved.


*There's a local farm that sells their excellent beef directly to the public. We have a cheese shop in our very small town that sells only high quality British cheese as well as some British produced charcuterie. Even our local Budgens sells locally butcher-made sausages, pies, etc. For bacon I'm stuck with supermarket produced stuff as the fabulous local bacon producer I used to buy from a few years ago seems to have disappeared.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Boustrophedon » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:33 am

Martin_B wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:41 am
I'm more concerned with Don's taste buds. Lancashire Hotpot isn't horrible (to me, and not to Lancashire folk for centuries, or it wouldn't have become a staple).

Also, Don said that
Cheap sh.t that takes an age to prepare

Hotpot takes an age to cook, but doesn't take an age to prepare; you do it in the morning, set it in a low fire (or low temp oven these days) and it's cooked when you come home from working in the fields (or factories, or office, etc)
To be fair it's the sheep fat I don't particularly like.
Remember it's only a coup if it's from the coup d'état region of France, otherwise it just sparkling white terrorism.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Boustrophedon » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:41 am

Tessa K wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:34 am
Holylol wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:22 am
Lydia Gwilt wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:14 am
Andouillette is about the only thing that I have ever put in my mouth that I couldn't even chew let alone swallow - it was so disgusting. I seem to remember it being described as made of "eel and horse tripe" (John Lanchester, The debt to pleasure).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andouillette
True andouillette is rarely seen outside France and has a strong, distinctive odour related to its intestinal origins and components. Although sometimes repellent to the uninitiated, this aspect of andouillette is prized by its devotees.
A bit like that rotting shark stuff they eat in some parts of Scandinavia, then.
At least Andouillette is popular across France, the Italian Salama da sugo has a similar reputation but:
The salama da sugo has been made in Ferrara since the Middle Ages and is a cult dish in this town. It does not sell well outside of Ferrara though.
I have not had the chance to try it.
Remember it's only a coup if it's from the coup d'état region of France, otherwise it just sparkling white terrorism.

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Re: British food heritage

Post by tom p » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:32 am

Lydia Gwilt wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:53 am
Yes, it tastes really, really extra dead. It was on canapes at a very high-powered conference where I was someone's guest, so I had to keep smiling not to let them down. Luckily there were potted plants...
Not just dead, but like how fresh cow sh.t smells. It's the worstest thing ever

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Re: British food heritage

Post by Tessa K » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:59 am

tom p wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:32 am
Lydia Gwilt wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:53 am
Yes, it tastes really, really extra dead. It was on canapes at a very high-powered conference where I was someone's guest, so I had to keep smiling not to let them down. Luckily there were potted plants...
Not just dead, but like how fresh cow sh.t smells. It's the worstest thing ever
Have you ever smelt a big silage heap close up on a hot day?

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