Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Taste of Britain

and Medlar Jelly

picture photograph a Taste of Britain 2007 copyright of sam breach

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 2007
The 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?

picture photograph medlar jelly  parrett preserves somerset england 2007 copyright of sam breach
"...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.

2006 | Welcome to My Boudoir
2005 | A fantastic English Lunch at The Old Passage Inn - Arlingham - Gloucestershire - England with my mother and grandmother.

© 2007 Sam Breach at "Becks & Posh", This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, or at the aforementioned url, the site you are looking at might be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact[AT]gmail[DOT]com to report any suspected violations. Thank you.
The Taste of Britain


  • At 12/4/07 12:24, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    Sam, This is such a lovely ode to what looks to be an amazing book. When books take me on journeys I could hide all day in their pages!

    Most of what i know of medlars comes from Shakespeare. The jam looks tastier than its description!

  • At 12/4/07 13:42, Blogger MrsEm said…

    Hi Sam! I posted your farmer's market outfit on my site today :)

  • At 12/4/07 15:53, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

    they have so much attitude. they are only edible when they think they are...fruits with attitude, i am telling!

    heh..jam faced mentions vimto. i was going to write about bovril, mcvites and, i have to include vimto too!

  • At 13/4/07 05:57, Blogger Gemma said…

    Sam, I bought this book last month and it is fascinating, so much stuff that I have never heard of but want to try. I was looking through the south of England section late last night for fish & quips inspiration.

  • At 13/4/07 19:20, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh, oh, oh. I am smacking myself for not having a copy of this yet, especially as I'm sure that my pals at Kitchen Arts and Letters are waiting for me to come in for it. I wonder if I could convince Lloyd that this is what he really wants for his birthday...

    And I second Shuna's comment. This is such a beautiful post, Sam. It's just what I needed after a long winter, during which the food was not nearly as good as it should have been. Fortunately, that's about to change. :)

  • At 13/4/07 19:22, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Errm...I did not phrase that nearly as elegantly as I'd hoped. That is to say, the food chez Bakerina hasn't been as good as it should have been. *Your* food, on the other hand, looks as splendid as always. That lamb roast just about brought tears to my eyes -- in a happy way, of course.

  • At 15/4/07 12:28, Blogger Katie said…

    I just discovered last fall the the strange tree with the weird fruit by mo vegetable garden is a medlar.
    Now I've learned that one makes jam with medlars.
    Maybe by next fall I'll have found a recipe...
    That book looks fascinating!

  • At 17/4/07 09:10, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Sam I have just found a recipe for medlar jelly in the old WI cookery book (from the war years) that belonged to my granny.


Post a Comment

<< Home