10 September, 2008

The British One Hundred

Michele at Life, Lightly Salted brought a very interesting "One Hundred" list to my attention this morning: The British One Hundred, originally posted by Helen on her blog Food Stories. With it's narrow focus on British specialties, I found it to be an interesting study - and I was surprised at how many of the foods here I'd not only already tried, but that I actually have old family recipes for (mom's side of the family being from the UK.)

So, first the rules:
  1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
  2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
  3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
  4. Link back to Food Stories, if you would be so kind.
And on to the list (with commentary in some cases):

  1. Grey squirrel - Not only have I eaten grey squirrel, I have personally killed the ones I ate.
  2. Steak and kidney pie - I'm not all that fond of kidney, but I admit the pie was pretty good.
  3. Bubble and squeak
  4. Spotted dick - I've only had this canned (by Heinz, of course!) and I bought it because of the giggly name (which is, of course, sophmorically naughty in the US)
  5. Hot cross buns
  6. Laver bread
  7. Toad in the hole
  8. Shepherds pie - Only when made at home. For some reason, Americans can't fathom the difference between "shepherds pie" (made with lamb) and "cottage pie" (made with beef) and call them all "shepherds pie."
  9. Cottage pie - see above.
  10. Scotch egg
  11. Parkin
  12. Welsh rarebit
  13. Jellied eels I can scarcely imagine anything more wretchingly nasty than jellied eels. :: huarrf f::
  14. Stilton
  15. Marmite - I like Marmite, but I like Vegemite much better.
  16. Ploughman’s lunch
  17. Cucumber sandwiches - (yawn)
  18. Coronation chicken - Helen says, "now THIS is another reason why we have a bad rep," but this is just a rather dull variation on chicken salad.
  19. Gloucester old spot - If I had a larger yard, I'd try raising one or two, though.
  20. Cornish pasty
  21. Samphire
  22. Mince pies
  23. Winkles
  24. Salad cream - but I prefer mayonnaise.
  25. Malt loaf
  26. Haggis
  27. Beans on toast
  28. Cornish clotted cream tea
  29. Pickled egg
  30. Pork scratchings
  31. Pork pie
  32. Black pudding
  33. Patum Peperium or Gentleman’s relish - This list is the first I've ever heard of Gentleman's Relish, and now that I've looked it up and read about it, I MUST FIND SOME because it sounds to me awesomely delicious.
  34. Earl grey tea
  35. Elvers- Gaaaaah! Seriously, do eels really need two places on this list?? :: hurrrrk ::
  36. HP Sauce
  37. Potted shrimps
  38. Stinking bishop - I'll eat it if ever I find some.
  39. Elderflower cordial
  40. Pea and ham soup
  41. Aberdeen Angus Beef
  42. Lemon posset - Not yet, but I found a recipe for this and I plan to try it soon.
  43. Guinness - To all of you out there who are ravenous fans of Guinness: If ever we meet, I will happily buy you a pint to keep from having to drink it myself, but on the next round you agree to buy me a lager.
  44. Cumberland sausage
  45. Native oysters - Native to me, LOL. If I'm ever in the UK, I'll eat the native oysters there too.
  46. A ‘full English’ - just once. A New England "farmhouse breakfast" is very similar, though, and that's my family's favorite way to start a Saturday (and our only meal until supper that night!)
  47. Cockles
  48. Faggots - Anyone have a recipe for these? It's another thing I've never had that sounds delicious.
  49. Eccles cake
  50. Potted Cromer crab
  51. Trifle - My mother and my aunt discovered trifle in the mid-1980's and it instantly became their favorite dessert for the next fifteen years. I am so sick of trifle.
  52. Stargazy pie
  53. English mustard - No spice cupboard is complete without English mustard.
  54. Christmas pudding - Every Christmas, without fail, as long as I can remember. Thanks, mom!
  55. Cullen skink
  56. Liver and bacon with onions - One of my favorite meals when my wife and daughter are away; no one else in my family will eat liver and so when they are gone, I make this for supper and share it with my very appreciative dog.
  57. Wood pigeon
  58. Branston pickle
  59. Oxtail soup - another family favorite.
  60. Piccalilli
  61. Sorrel
  62. Chicken tikka masala
  63. Deep fried Mars Bar (eewww.)
  64. Fish, chips and mushy peas
  65. Pie and mash with liquor
  66. Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding (with gravy) - This was my grandmother's favorite Sunday dinner, and I don't fault her a bit for it.
  67. Pickled onions
  68. Cock-a-leekie soup
  69. Rabbit and Hare
  70. Bread sauce
  71. Cauliflower cheese - One of my daughter's favorite vegetable sides.
  72. Crumpets
  73. Rice pudding
  74. Bread and butter pudding
  75. Bakewell tart
  76. Kendall mint cake
  77. Summer pudding
  78. Lancashire hot pot
  79. Beef Wellington - Highly overrated.
  80. Eton mess - No, but Strawberry Shortcake is very similar.
  81. Neeps and tatties
  82. Pimms
  83. Scampi - Not the way in which Helen intends. Also, whenever I hear the word "scampi" I think of this.
  84. Mint sauce
  85. English strawberries and cream - I'm counting native strawberries and cream as equivalent.
  86. Isle of Wight garlic
  87. Mutton
  88. Deep fried whitebait with tartare sauce
  89. Angels on horseback
  90. Omelette Arnold Bennett
  91. Devilled kidneys
  92. Partridge and pheasant
  93. Stew and dumplings
  94. Arbroath smokies - I smoke my own trout, salmon, bluefish, etc. so I'm counting this; we're part of a universal brotherhood.
  95. Oyster loaves (but I wonder if we're referring to the same thing)
  96. Sloe gin
  97. Damson jam
  98. Soda bread
  99. Quince jelly
  100. Afternoon tea at the Ritz
So that's it - sixty-eight out of one hundred; I'll no doubt whittle down on a few more of them now that Helen and Michele have me interested. Alas, some of them - Afternoon tea at the Ritz, for example - may never be checked off the list.


Just Cook It said...

I am impressed. A good ratio indeed. I avoided the Omnivore's 100 but I'm tempted to do this one.

Just Cook It said...

But you don't like Guinness?! Eesh. You're missing out.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm glad you enjoyed the list! Could you please, please tell me what the squirrel tastes like? I have been dying to try it for ages! Also, which oyster loaves are you referring to?

Dave said...

Alex: I'm not a fan of any thick dark "bready" beers; porters, stouts, and bocks make me gag. I much prefer dry, hoppy lagers and pilsners, served ice-cold in the American fashion. Oh, and I also enjoy most ales.

Michele: That sounds wonderful, thanks.

Helen: Squirrel tastes remarkably similar to wild hare, but the actual flavor varies depending on where they're harvested. Truly wild squirrel - from deep woods, fed on hickory, butternut, black walnut, and acorns - are best if they're immediately skinned and then hung a day or two. They have the strongest "wild" flavor. Squirrels taken closer to home are domestic foragers, living on pilfered garden fruit and veg and stolen seed from backyard feeders, and they have a much milder taste because life isn't so hard for them. But in general, it's a very rabbity flavor.

Re: Oyster loaves - Bivalves on bread; a warm, fresh, soft boule sliced horizontally in half, with some of the crumb perhaps removed, buttered lightly and filled with tender and perfectly cooked creamed oysters (or perhaps lightly crumbed and sauteed oysters); the halves pressed together and served with a great knife for sectioning off and devouring with friends.

Nate @ House of Annie said...

Do you think most British would agree with the choices on this list? Would people from other parts of the UK disagree with some of their choices?

I wonder what some of the more well known UK chefs would have to say about what makes up the best representatives of British cuisine.

Dave said...

Nate-n-Annie: I'm sure that high-profile chefs in the UK would have differences with the list. I'm born-and-bred American, and I notice some things that are missing that I consider very typical: mushrooms on toast, for example, or potted prawns, or even the dreaded boiled beef (not that a deep-fried Mars Bar ought not to be dreaded in it's own right.) But I think Helen did a good job overall.

The regional variety within the UK is amazing for such a geographically small area - I know I would never attempt an "American Hundred" (though I'm tempted to come up with one specific to New England.)

pigpigscorner said...

awwww can't believe you hate deep fried mars bars!! I just can't get enough of it.

Dave said...

I don't actually hate deep fried Mars bars...they're just so shudderingly sweet that I can't stand more than a nibble. I just don't have the kind of concentrated sweet tooth necessary to enjoy them.