Monday, 3 June 2013

Traditional English Food Trivia

Welcome to the Summer Banquet Blog Hop and giveaway (see end for giveaway details- NOW CLOSED)!
The theme of this blog hop is historical food and so I thought it would be fun to look at trivia associated with some traditional, English regional dishes.

Black Pudding and the Wars of the Roses
As a vegetarian of twenty-five years, I'm bemused to admit that as a child, black pudding was a favourite treat! For the uninitiated, the main ingredient is blood (which gives the black colouration) mixed with a filler to make it solid enough to form into a sausage. In past centuries it was considered a delicacy, especially in Lancashire.

Black pudding
Indeed, the Lancastrian towns of Bury and Ramsbottom still host 'The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships'. The aim is to throw six-ounce black puddings at a pile of Yorkshire puddings sitting on a 20-foot plinth. This tradition is said to go back to the Wars of the Roses when opposing soldiers ran out of ammunition and threw food at one another.

The Black Pudding Throwing Championship

Roast Beef and Beefeaters

When mighty Roast Beef was the Englishman's food,
It ennobled our brains and enriched our blood
Out soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good
Oh! The Roast Beef of old England,
And old English Roast Beef!
Henry Fielding, 1731, The Grub Street Opera

Roast beef and the English have become synonymous, and is the reason the French disparagingly call us 'rosbifs'. In Shakespeare's 'Henry V' on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt, the French trembled facing the English because:
"…great meals of beef and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils".
Such was the reputation of beef that King James I gave his royal bodyguard, the Yeoman of the Guard, extra rations and hence they became known as 'beefeaters'.
A Yeoman of the Guard, or beefeater - at the Tower of London
Cornish Pasties and the Devil
A pasty is an old English term for a pie baked not in a dish. The traditional pasty was a portable meal for tin miners, with a thick pastry edge to hold the pie by, keeping dirty fingers away from the food. The filling would be beef, potato, onion and swede or turnip, and some had a fruit filling at the other end - a sort of two course meal.
A Cornish pasty
 
According to a Cornish saying, the Devil took care to stay on the Devon bank of the River Tamar [dividing the counties] in case he ended up diced in a pasty.
The River Tamar
GIVEAWAY - details.
With the release of Verity's Lie just a couple of weeks away, my giveaway prize are an eBook copy of Eulogy's Secret AND Hope's Betrayal! For a chance to win just enrol for my NEWSLETTER and leave a comment with your email address. Winner announced on June 10th.
AND THE WINNER IS DEBBY- congratulations Debby, your ebooks are in the mail.

Coming soon!
 
Blogs participating in this hop:

29 comments:

  1. Wonderful post. Very interesting. Thank you for the chance to win your book. jman1985@yahoo.com

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Marsha, and good luck with the prize draw!
      G x

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  2. I signed up for your newsletter and am now making a comment. Thanks for the picture of black pudding; I've wondered for a long time what it looked like but never made the effort to Google it.

    My email address is ShaunaRoberts [at] nasw [dot] org.

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    1. I can imagine you have better things to do than google images of black pudding! Glad to forfill a need.
      G x

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  3. Loved the bit about Cornish Pasties - of course living in Devon as I do, I reckon the Devon Pasty is better.... *laugh*

    Thanks for a fascinating article - thoroughly enjoying all the contributions to the Banquet Blog Hop!

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    1. It's a great hop, isn't it! I'm learning so much (who'd have thought Careme created the chef's hat?) and thoroughly enjoying it.
      G x

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  4. Really enjoyed this blog post and now I can follow you other than Facebook! I must give credit to Helen Hollick. It was her post on Facebook that led me here! Now I am hungry!

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    1. Talk about hungry! Your description of hot apple pie is to die for!
      Thanks for visiting,
      G x

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  5. I already have your books so please don't put me in the giveaway. Just wanted to say that I enjoyed the food posting particularly the Devil and the Cornish Pasty.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Sophia, and I hope you enjoyed my books!
      G x

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  6. I am originally from West Virginia, and my mother used to eat Scrapple, which reminded me of Black Pudding (at least, in principle). For those who are not familiar with Scrapple, it is also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name pon haus, is traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then panfried before serving. Scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. Scrapple is best known as a rural American food of the southern Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Virginia and West Virginia). Scrapple and pon haus are commonly considered an ethnic food of the Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Mennonites and Amish.

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    1. Fascinating - thank you for sharing 'scrapple' - it sounds like the ultimate in food recycling. I love the word 'scrapple' - the 'apple' at the end makes it seem more scrummy than it probably is (especially for a vegetarian)
      G x

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  7. I love black pudding, which I eat on a regular basis served with lingonberry jam and plenty of bacon - as it has been served for generations here in Sweden. Oh; and we always drink milk with it. Nice post!

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    1. I wonder if black pudding has a high iron content (all that blood) - as mentioned I've been vegetarian for over two decades now and the only 2 things I miss (very slightly) are turkey on Christmas day and black pudding. Bizarre.
      G x

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  8. I thought I had left a comment earlier, but it doesn't seem to be here. I did sign up for the newsletter, though. I think I was just ruminating on the eccentric charm of throwing puddings at other puddings.

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    1. Great comment 'throwing puddings at other puddings' - thank you for visiting,
      G x

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  9. I love the bit about the black pudding. I was in England but did not try it. I am already on your newsletter list.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks for visiting Debby, and you will be entered in the prize draw.
      G x

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  10. Black Pudding does not offend me, as i've had duck blood.......

    i signed up for your newsletter, as cyn209 at juno dot com

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    1. Duck blood...now there's a random thought.
      Thank you for visiting and good luck with the draw.
      G x

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  11. Loved the dessert cart when I visited England many years ago! I was amazed how they served whipped cream on the side with every dessert! Thank you for the giveaway! denannduvall@gmail.com

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    1. Speaking for myself, I'd far rather custard than whipped cream - but that's just me.
      G x

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  12. Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

    mosthappyreader (at ) gmail (dot) com

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    1. My pleasure, thank you for visiting.
      G x

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  13. This post was full of nostalgia for me. My transplanted-to-the-states family still enjoys blood pudding over the holidays, and I can't seem to make myself bake a pie in a pan. I love the crust of a pasty too much!

    I look forward to receiving your newsletters and thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

    obstinate.headstrong.girl.usa@gmail.com

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    1. Fantastic ! Making your own pasties - you must be a very popular cook.
      Thank you for visiting and good luck with the giveaway.
      All the best,
      G x

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  14. Pudding Throwing Championship? It sounds fun :D
    We have several contests with food as well in Italy.
    One of the most renowned - and currently a national Championship - is Cheese Launching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilpT9nZJsak

    They say this game was already popular among Etruscans.
    carladotsalerno@tiscalidotit

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  15. Lisa Barmby-Spence6 June 2013 at 04:08

    Very interesting blog post - though the thought of black pudding just makes me shudder... purple_alicorn @ hotmail . com

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  16. Grace is also bingo online obsessed by all things feline.

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