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Morning all,

Today I’m doing a post on some Strange British facts, I hope you enjoy.

1. Spotted Dick

Strange Foods - Spotted DickThis is one of Britain’s best known and most humorous foods if you get the joke. For those who don’t already know “Dick” is British slang for a man’s reproductive organ and a spotted reproductive organ is never good. Quite recently, and in a spasm of uncontrollable political correctness, several hospitals in Britain renamed this pudding “spotted Richard”. (Dick also being the abbreviated form of the name Richard) It didn’t catch on and common sense prevailed and the name was changed back again. Thanks to this patients can now grin and ask their nurses whether there’s any chance that they could have a spotted dick. In reality this is simply a suet pudding into which raisins and other dried fruits are mixed before cooking. Naturally, these are the spots. Where the ‘Dick’ part of the name came from is still a mystery although some claim it is a derivation of the word “dough” meaning dog or the German word “dicht” meaning thick.
Actually … this is a delicious pudding that is usually served with custard, another great British invention made from eggs, sugar and cream and known as Creme Anglais in France.

2. Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole Five Strange British FoodsIt is well known that people seeking instant hallucinations have sometimes taken to licking toads but to cook and eat them horrifies even the French who are quite happy to sit down to a plate of garlic snails. The very English Toad-in-the-Hole actually has nothing reptilian about it and is simply pork sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. To the casual onlooker the finished meal might look a little like several toads submerged in mud although many chefs and historians believe that there must be another origin to the name. Some say it was named after a game of skill involving the throwing of disks while others claim that during hard times actual frogs were used. The most likely answer is that it is a curiosity of language. The dish itself probably dates back to the late 1600’s when batter puddings were baked under spit roasted meat and known as dripping pudding. The drips would cause holes in the batter and poor cuts of meat known as toadies were cut off and allowed to fall into the holes. Over the years the name of this dish, Toad-in-the-Hole, has stopped many people from even trying it. This is a pity as it’s not only traditional, it’s tasty and best served with plenty of strong onion gravy.

3. Haggis

Strange Foods - Haggis Five Strange British FoodsThis is an unusual Scottish meal that is definitely an acquired taste. When you find out what goes into it you can only conclude that it was all they had left to use because somebody had taken everything else worth eating. It’s therefore not surprising that it’s appearance in popular culture is during the 1500’s when the average person Scotland was experiencing severe hardships caused by their own leaders as well as their English overlords. Haggis is made from the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep which is minced and mixed with oatmeal, animal fat or suet, and onions. It is flavoured with salt and pepper before being stuffed into a cleaned sheep’s stomach and then boiled for a few hours. Modern versions tend to now use artificial casings. Once cut or split the Haggis has a crumbly texture and is traditionally served with neeps and tatties (yellow turnip and potatoes) The original version may well date back to the Roman occupation of Britain during the 1st to the 4th centuries AD. Millions of Haggis are produced every year and shipped to every part of the world where Scottish communities traditionally serve it as part of the Burns Night celebrations.

4. Black Pudding

Black Pudding - Strange British FoodsThis is the British version of blutwurst and is usually made from a mixture of congealed pigs blood, lard and oatmeal. In Britain the quantity of cereal used is larger than other similar products found around the world. Common seasonings usually include salt, pepper, cloves and onions. It is generally served sliced and fried as part of a traditional English breakfast. The best black pudding is said to come from Bury in Lancashire where it has been considered a local specialty since the 1800’s. In this region it is still common for it to be served boiled and seasoned with vinegar. In general, blood sausage originates even further back in history and it is likely that it was made before the middle ages and is almost always found in regions where it was common to keep pigs as livestock. Fairly recently some fast food shops have started serving black pudding battered and deep fried.
 You will either love it or hate it. Black Pudding looks greasy but has a dry texture in the mouth and a strong flavour.

5. Periwinkles

Periwinkles Five Strange British FoodsMany English wrinkle their noses at the idea of happy French people gobbling down servings of snails doused with garlic and yet one of the great traditional foods of northern England is the common periwinkle, a form of sea snail. The winkle isn’t large and after they’ve been collected they need to be soaked in fresh water for 12 hours to remove excess sand and salt. Once cleaned, they are boiled and the flesh is then picked out of the shell with a pin giving rise to the term winkle-pickers. They are best served with salt, garlic and butter but can also be served soaked in vinegar if a more piquant flavour is desired. They are generally found on the west coast of England and other Atlantic coastlines. Although quite easy to harvest it takes a lot of winkles to make a meal and many considered it simply not worth the effort. Because they are so small they were often measured in pints and two full beer mugs is said to be able to feed six children or four adults. Also known as Littorina littorea, this little sea snail still remains a popular treat for those who have learnt to enjoy them.

If you have any other questions, tweet me @mrjamesvincent or check out my Instagram @james.vincent 

Check out full post here http://britainexplorer.com/ten-strange-british-foods/

James