Monday, March 10, 2008

Kumquats and Crumpets

Apparently, there seems to be somewhat of a crisis involving traditional British food dishes that are prepared so infrequently that they could disappear altogether by the year 2021, according to some British organization/company/I-don't-know-what-it-is-because-I'm-not-British-group.

How is that possible? I don't know that is actually is. But believe me, after remembering some of the crap that was passed off to me as "dinner" when I was a child, this really doesn't seem like such a bad thing. But some of the Brits are rather bloody upset by it all. However, after I read what dishes were on the "endangered dinner" list, I was right back to where I started. This doesn't seem all that bad.

You see, the dishes that are in danger are the traditional ones. The ones you think of immediately when you think of British cuisine. Those jolly ol' English favorites such as "toad in the hole" and the ever popular "spotted dick". That's correct. The spotted dick. Yes. You're supposed to eat it.

Now, look, I don't have a marketing degree or a history of PR employment or anything like that. So while I'm not an expert, I'm going to speculate wildly for a moment (because it's apparently quite fun) and just guess that those names really aren't doing anyone any favors. Let alone the toad and the dick.

You'll also be shocked to learn that the Brits rarely prepare other dishes such as "steak and kidney pie" and "jam roly-poly" from scratch. Wait. Aren't "roly-polys" those little sowbug things in the garden that curl up in a little ball when you pick them up? They make JAM out of those suckers?! WTF?! That can't be right! (Grrrr....stupid British lingo.) But even if that definition is incorrect, you can see where it's going to be a tough sell all the way around being named like that.

The survey found that only 5% of Brits aged 18-40 had ever cooked a spotted dick. They find it necessary to state that "Similarly, 6% of the 18-40 year olds had made a Beef Wellington." How is preparing Beef Wellington "similar" to cooking a spotted dick?! They don't SOUND similar AT ALL. No, one sounds like something you might actually find in Britain. The other one sounds like something you might find in a Briton's knickers. Totally different. It's like comparing kumquats and crumpets.

Other scrumptous sounding British dishes in danger of going to the big garbage disposal in the sky? Coronation chicken, sherry trifle and Lancashire hot pot. Again, WTF?

And the good folks over there at Tesco threw in another fact, but declined to state it's relevance. I'm going to do the same. They said that butcher shops are closing at the rate of 23 per month. 23 butcher shops?!?! Per month?! How many freaking butcher shops ARE there in Britain?! They must be like Starbucks over there! A butcher shop on every corner! Five or six butcher shops at every airport! Butcher shops at each end of the mall! Drive-thru butchery kiosks!

Yeah, that's never going to work. They should have just gone with the lattes like the rest of the civilized world and left the spotted dick alone! (Actually, if it had been left alone, it might not be spotted in the first place.)

And by the way, in case you were wondering, yes, for the love of Christ, yes, spotted dick comes in a can.

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