It’s time to start making those plans for your timeshare trip to England for London’s 2012 Summer Olympics. While in merry old England you’ll undoubtedly come up against its interesting local dishes. Our guest author, Analise Marcus, is here to help you make sense of it all.
The English might not be known for their fancy food, but you don’t have to be fancy to be filling and tasty. Here is a whirlwind tour of some tasty English foods the flavors of which are more than equalled by their colorful names.
Bubble and Squeak
This was one of my all-time favorite dishes, a real down to earth fry-up that uses leftovers as the base for a great breakfast or lunch meal. I used to have it with tea for lunch at the Eagle and Child in Oxford; its name comes from the sounds it makes cooking in a hot pan. All the dish needs is leftover veggies and some potatoes. Mash everything together and fry it up in a shallow pan until it’s crispy. Serve with a runny egg and a giant slab of bacon to start your day with a full tummy.
Bangers and Mash
Bangers are English sausages and mash is, as you can guess, mashed potatoes. Bangers are slightly larger than the typical American sausage; they are thicker and longer, making them the centerpiece of breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. You can have a banger with a traditional English breakfast or “fry up” or over mashed potatoes in gravy for a very filling dinner. They get their name from the sausages made in England during WWII. Rationing meant that real meat was expensive, so average sausages were made with anything from cereal to water which often banged or even exploded while cooking.
You laugh now, but this is actually an incredibly tasty treat so popular that Heinz even offers a canned variety. Spotted Dick is a type of English dessert, much like a pudding or custard, with currants or raisins mixed throughout. “Spotted” refers to the dried fruit in the mix, though different reasons have surfaced as to the “dick” part of the name. One theory has “dick” stemming from an abbreviated form of the word “pudding” and here’s how: pudding becomes puddink becomes puddik becomes dick.
This traditional breakfast side in England might be more easily identifiable if it were called by its alternative name: blood pudding. Yes, this breakfast sausage (a savory pudding, not like your neighborhood Jell-O) is made with dried animal blood mixed with a filler, usually suet or vegetables. And I’ll tell you this: it’s a lot tastier than some of the other pseudo-animal byproduct meat dishes that we get served up in the U.S. If you want an authentically English meal, try a black pudding
I must’ve eaten at least one pasty every week while I lived in England. They’re like fast food but not fried: they’re sold at little pasty shops (the one near my house was the West Cornwall Pasty Co.) and you can take it on the go. The small to medium ones can fit in your hand; the larger ones take a little more care since they’re pretty darn big.
Traditional pasties are filled with stew beef, potatoes and onions but there are all sorts of variety like breakfast pasties with egg to Thanksgiving pasties with turkey and cranberries. Cornish refers to the county of Cornwall which is strongly associated with the food; pasty is derived from pastry which is used to make the baked dough pocket for the food.
Rent a timeshare in England, and you’ll have a good excuse to become proficient in English – food, that is!
Analise Marcus is an avid anglophile and food lover. She recommends booking affordable airline travel with an Travelocity promo code so you have plenty of funds to research all the local culinary delights wherever you go.