Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Raise your glass to Saint George!

'St George’s day today. I’m a chef in a beautiful 18th century Inn deep in the Sussex countryside and I’ve been trying to plan a typically English menu to celebrate our Patron Saints’ day.

What are my options? Roast beef and Yorkies, Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, Fish and Chips all washed down with a pint of bitter. There-in lays the problem with English food.

It just doesn’t sound sexy!

France has ‘Soupe a la Tete de Pork’ for instance. OK, so its pigs head soup, but it sounds wonderful in French!

How about ‘Balles de Niege’? Well perhaps not, but I’d die for ‘La Jeune Dinde ‘ivre d’Armagnac’ - young turkey tipsy on Armagnac. And of course, a bottle of St Emillion to help it on it’s way.

Italy! ‘Polpettone alla Toscana’ and ’Spaghettini alla Carriettiera’! ‘Petto di Vitello Arrotolato’ and a glass or three of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Actually, there really are some pretty unusual dishes in the English repertoire if you really look for them. Rumbledethumps, Fidget Pie and Wet Nellie. Sussex Pond pudding, Tiddie Oggies and Fartes.(seriously!)

But they simply don’t get the juices flowing do they?Trouble is, most of the food eaten in English restaurants today isn’t native. Our most popular dish is Chicken Tikka Masalla, a concoction loosely based on Indian food and devoured daily by millions. The next fave is good ‘ole Spag Boll! If you’re not eating any of those you’ve probably been to the local Chinese takeaway for Chicken Chow Mein.
See what I mean?

No matter how high I fly the flag for my country's grub, it just ‘aint going to make a mark on the international ‘Carte d’Cuisine’



  1. I have to agree nothing sexy sounding about those dishes. But I love the way you say them. Cheers.

  2. At last! Someone who can tell this ignorant American what those dishes actually ARE!
    For instance, bangers and mash - something with mashed potatoes? But what is Toad in the Hole? I know you won't judge me, even though my mother's family is English as far back as William of Orange (who was of course French, but we won't quibble).

  3. For the record, bangers and mash is sausages and mashed potato. Toad in the hole is another sausage meal, but parcooked sausages are placed in an oven dish then batter is poured over them before placing in the oven. As for Fartes, I'll leave you to ponder on that one!

  4. Cool - thanks, now I can show off. Well, a little anyway. I'm not sure I'm up to pondering about Fartes. My mind works in strange and terrible ways and I'm afraid of what might appear there.

  5. Just serve my that roast beef cooked in lots of garlic with yorkshire puddin....and fish and chips please!! I tell ya I'm a cheap date. However don't tell anyone, I make a mean roast beef and gravy myself....!

    Love Thai too!

    Hugs Sherrie

  6. oh yeah...fish and chips..! one of my favs!



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