Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Unusual British Food: The Little Shop of Horrors

I am lucky to have a few really good friends among my coworkers. One is Helen Stewart, lovely librarian and Scottish native. She is a wonderful artist and can do pratically any craft she is interested in, it seems, and very well! She has a crafty blog here, and was interested in some of the blogs I've received lately on Haggis. She said there are plenty more - er - unusual foods to try from across the pond! - AA

Ladies and gentlemen….roll up roll up for the most hideous show imaginable.. sights that will turn your stomach, horrify your very being and putrify your soul….
I present to you – the horrors of the British kitchen!!!

First up – Jellied Eels - yes, I kid you not, Jellied eels. This is a traditional English dish that originated in the 18th century, primarily in London's East End. The dish consists of chopped eels boiled in a spiced stock that is allowed to cool and set, forming a jelly. It can be eaten hot or cold. I would rather be flayed by a medeival torturer than eat this. I used to think that this was an urban myth. I wish that were true.

Next in show – deep fried Mars Bars. Holey moley. Guaranteed to kill a man at 20 paces, loved and adored by pubescent British youth and the just plain insane. No need to embellish this, as all we’re talking about here is throwing a mars bar in batter and then submerging it in a deep fat frier. And then horror of horrors, eating it. The dish originated at chip shops in Scotland as a novelty item, but was never a mainstream item. Since various mass media have reported on the practice since the mid 1990s, in part as an ironic commentary on urban Britain's notoriously unhealthy diet, the popularity of the dish has spread. God help us all.

To close our show today I’d like to highlight pickled eggs and tripe.
Tripe is the stomach lining of animals (although in the UK it’s mostly from cows) and its pale, rippled appearance is enough to set off the gag-reflex in many people. Although its appearance is reason enough to hate it, the soft texture of tripe is another factor to loathe it.

As for pickled eggs -it’s a good indication of the sort of flavor treat that lies in store with a pickled egg that they can primarily be found behind the bar of a pub. The fact that they're preserved in a large catering pack which has probably been there since the pub opened simply makes it worse. Any foodstuff that requires a stiff drink to make it seem edible must be pretty gross and the fact that these hard-boiled eggs are doused with piquant and ancient vinegar makes them hideous in the extreme. Bon appetit and I hope you enjoyed the show!


Latter-Day Flapper said...

Never tried a Mars Bar, but I recently attempted a deep-fried Twinkie. NOT recommended. Deep-frying brings out all the worst chemical-y, processed-food flavors in a Twinkie.

Deep-fried Oreos, though, I'm sorry to say, are quite yummy.

Janice said...

Well as a Scot I'd have to say, I've never had a deep fried Mars Bar and have no intention of trying one! Nor do I fancy jellied eels eeeuch! I'm off to see your colleague's blog.

Katie said...

Ugh jellied eels. When I was in Germany I tried to be adventurous and tried a dish called jellied meat. It turned out to be brains! Yuck!