Of Spotted Dicks, Tarts, Bubbles, Toads, Faggots and Squeaks

My enthusiasm varies from high to low for tarts, spotted dicks and faggots. Now: before you leave, insulted, you should know one of my mantras: Nothing is what it seems to be. You are right to be disgusted about the title though, since it is the “tastelessness” of some  British foods that I write of…

Spotted dick (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/89/Spotted_Dick_Wikimeet_London_2005.jpg) Spotted Dick, is a British dessert made of suet (beef fat and flour) mixed with raisins and served with custard – not the custard one expects with crème brulée, but instead a poured yellow sauce, often made from packaged powder.

Tarts are indeed ladies of easy virtue, but they are also desserts, open face pies with fillings of fruit and the like. Toad in the Hole is Yorkshire pudding (batter) with embedded sausages. It is commonly found in cheaper eateries like pubs. Faggots are meatballs of animal offal, mixed with herbs and flour, often wrapped in a casing of intestine. Brains Faggots are reputed to be delicious with gravy. Bubble and Squeak is fried leftover vegetables and potato mash.

If your  taste is are offended you may now want to leave the post. British food used to be a good reason for folk to leave the country; to create an Empire to find better foods to eat. In 1969, when I emigrated to Canada, I immediately fell in love with my new home when I first tasted pizza, pecan pie, cheesecake, fresh-picked corn and American-style hamburgers. I thought these foods ambrosia, foods of the gods – I still do. With Spotted Dick and Faggots to look forward to, why on earth would I have gone back to the UK?

British food is generally not something I miss. But I do have a craving now and again for Hob Nobs and Digestives, but we can find these biscuits (whole wheat cookies) in most good US grocery stores. I also miss doorstoppers with syrup: very thick sliced slabs of white break with butter and a slathering of Golden Syrup. The refined sugar syrup came in a green tin with a picture of a lion on its side surrounded by bees and the biblical-toned motto ” Out of the strong came forth sweetness“. I was raised on bread and syrup – I attribute my curly hair to childhood daily diet of sliced white bread, butter and syrup eaten when I got home from school, before the family evening supper, which we call dinner.

But Spotted Dick, tarts and doorstoppers do not tempt me to return…

About Ed Medley

Ed Medley has been on a random walk for over 50 years. Many scribbles and snapshots at this site are from his vagabond transits; others are from his decades of international experience in geological and geotechnical engineering, academia, and mineral exploration prospecting.
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1 Response to Of Spotted Dicks, Tarts, Bubbles, Toads, Faggots and Squeaks

  1. Pingback: Jam, honey, bread, syncline | Ed Medley

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