The Taste of Britain
and Medlar Jelly
Anyone who had more than just a passing interest in British food and its history should consider investing in "The Taste of Britain: by Laura Mason and Catherine Brown with a forward by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. (That bloke gets everywhere these days - when I left Blighty six years ago I only really knew him for the placenta-eating incident).
I first read about this book over at one of my favourite English food blogs, Jam Faced:
"It comes as quite a shock to realise you're an ignorant lug-head when it comes to food, especially when you've prized yourself as knowing a thing or two about eating and drinking. That's what I realised after plowing through this beautifully designed and researched encyclopedia of British regional food." Monkey Gland, February 2007The Taste of Britain is a fascinating account of everything I wish I knew, everything I have pretended to know and everything that is intrinsic in my make-up and a part of my culture. Don't expect glossy photos or even recipes. Don't expect all of it to make sense to you either. Instead, look forward to a fascinating, edible journey through the British Isles where you'll meet, and discover the history of, quirky-sounding foodstuffs along the way. Huffkin, Starry Rock, Norfolk Knob or Brawn anyone?
"...but what makes the medlar quintessentially British was the enjoyment of the bletted (rotten) fruit by drinkers of port of the end of a meal. Not everyone appreciated these 'wineskins of brown morbidity' (DH Lawrence quoted by Davidson, 1991) and their number reduced as time went on, but their use as a jelly which accompanies meats has seen their survival in a sphere wider than the private gardens of a handful of connoisseurs". The Taste of Britain, page 82.
Fish and Quips is an online event designed to promote the idea that English cooking is not always a joke. Read more about how to enter here. Sign up to add your name to the entrant's database as soon as possible, even if you are still only toying with the idea of taking part. Then make sure you have your entry posted and added to the database by Friday April 20th in order to be included in St George's Day roundups.