Thursday 20 September 2012

The discreet charm of English cooking


I love English food if you can still find it. Apart from being delicious it seems so eighteenth or nineteenth century. It seems to belong to the world of Surtees, not ours. A masculine, class-bound, sanguinary world, not the world of the Sunday Times supplements or press releases from the Department of Health. Cold game pie, jugged hare, gooseberry pie about which Southey sang, spotted dick, steak and kidney pudding, as good as Elizabethan poetry in their way.

John Bull, Mr. Jorrocks, Mr. Pickwick, Dr. Johnson, Sir Winston Churchill, the great fat English heroes, grew fat on English cooking. Sir John Falstaff too, though he was no hero but a murderer.

I stole this picture, which seems the perfect accompaniment to my argument, from the Facebook wall of Mr. Alex Woodcock-Clark, who commented on it:

This man is committing about six crimes right here. Possession of a firearm. Owner of a restricted breed dog. Dog off leash. Guarding cholesterol rich pudding. Glorifying morbid obesity. Being an elderly male in a youth culture. Sporting mutton-chop whiskers non-ironically. Plumage of endangered bird in cap.


  1. i ve been a a bit of a bad boy lately with my true comments... but still i should warn you that eating spotted dick steak and kidney will not get you anywhere healthwise and for sure they re not cool at all with black and brown texture all over the picture.

  2. i must say the six crimes described made my day with my favorite: sporting mutton chops non ironically:)))

  3. Yes! Alex's post made me laugh loudly and often. Dear old John Bull is hardly ever mentioned these days. He embodies ideas of patriotism and nationalism that are deeply unfashionable. This charming Christmas card might be construed as 'inappropriate' (that terrible word that alerts you that the speaker is a wrong 'un) in a multi-faith society (the Christmas pudding) and xenophobic even (which actually I suppose John Bull is, triumphantly so).

  4. I prefer hearty country food. It’s increasingly difficult to find good restaurants which offer real Anglo-American cuisine.

  5. Ha ha very funny and thinking about it that is rather an ageist slogan on the pudding and I wonder where he bought he suit from?

  6. English food: KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Pizza, Curry, Biryani, Samosa, Dim Sum. ;-)