Sunday, March 19, 2006

British dining: not afraid to use those graphic descriptors!

Dining in any foreign country is always interesting, but I really like British food (and restaurant) names because it isn't like there is anything getting lost in translation- it's all there for us to poke fun at. Consider a few of the tasty treats that greeted us from menus on our trip:

"Offals": yep, these are just what they sound like: the unwanted cuts of meat, i.e., the entrails, of a butchered animal. If you are lucky, you can find them used in a "scrapple sandwich," or, in my favorite, the:

"Faggot": this is a kind of pork meatball made out of, you guessed it, offals. Yummy! A popular dish is "faggots and peas" which is really faggots paired with:

"Mushy Peas": These are actually a lot tastier than they sound, since they are essentially creamed peas and have a lot of butter- and I think some mint- blended in. They are a good accompaniment to fish and chips, although for some reason they usually come in a very unnatural, and therefore somewhat suspicious, shade of bright green.

If you aren't salivating for the fine British cuisine by now, consider the favorite "
Toad in the Hole." Although it suffers from a bad name, it's actually relatively benign and consists of sausages placed in a Yorkshire Pudding (big, puffy, egg-yolk-rich puff pastry).
If you get "bad" Toad in the Hole (or "Tow'd in't th'ow"), you might take your food back up to the barkeeper (where you ordered it) and tell him that this is more like "Frog in a Bog" (not a good thing.)

One item that is genuinely yummy, but sounds like a medical condition and not something anyone would want to put in their mouth, is
"Spotted Dick." This is actually a wintertime dessert that consists of rich steamed pudding flecked with dried raisins/fruits (hence "spotted") and, also not helping the visual/name association, covered in a heavy yellow sweet egg cream sauce. Popular with the kids at Christmas (not joking).

Perhaps this bold culinary history accounts for a few of the more graphically-named restaurants we saw and/or dined at. A popular chain of upscale new "gastro pubs" (which is really just a fancy name for "restaurant/bar that serves food other than that which has been described above") is called
"The Slug and Lettuce." TASTE-TAY! I guess the catchy name worked, because it sure caught our eye.

However, NOTHING could compare to the best restaurant name in the history of all time (aside from my favorite L.A. Skid Row-adjacent "Burgers 'n Sh*t"): Mudchute." No explanation necessary.


Æsop said...

You must stop by the Vienna Inn for my regular breakfast of scrapple and eggs. Scrapple is very big here on the East Coast and it varies in how it's prepared. I really think the Vienna Inn has the best I've tasted.

Mom made something called Toad in the Hole for us when we were kids. It was a buttered piece of toast with a hole in it. As the toast was fried in a pan, an egg was dropped in the hole and cooked in the toast. I still make it for the family. Mom stopped making this and other things (such as cheesecake) when she realized she was raising a bunch of overweight kids. About that time was when she switched from whole to low-fat to non-fat milk.

Yep, you missed some great food.

Welcome home.

- E

CDLeland said...

I cannot stop laughing