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Posted by: Taman Tun
« on: June 15, 2019, 01:13:03 PM »

This from Giles Coren in today’s Times:-
A ketchup sarnie is Great Britain on a plate.
Giles Coren

Understandably fed up with getting literally everything wrong, all the time, the political opinion pollsters YouGov turned away from politics this week to focus on cooking, with a national survey of the best and worst of traditional British dishes.  Which, of course, they got completely wrong.

In first place in their survey of 6,367 adults came Yorkshire pudding, a disgusting flat cap of flour and fat served traditionally with overdone beef by the sort of gastronomic illiterate who lives for the rest of the week on Pot Noodles and wears Union Jack underpants to bed. In second place came the rest of the so-called “Sunday roast”, complete with chewy silverside, soapy roast potatoes, frozen veg and Bisto gravy that nobody ever eats but is still the main reason just over half the country voted Leave (to the blank astonishment of YouGov) for fear of its being swapped out as our national dish by Eurocrats and replaced with coquilles St Jacques. Which would have happened for definite if we’d voted to stay in, even though Boris Johnson forgot to paint it on a bus.

Third came fish and chips, another dead dish that now exists only as pre-battered frozen cod and French fries, served occasionally to drunk people in shops that mainly do fried chicken, doner kebabs and late-night drive-by gang shootings. Nobody in this country has bought a piece of fresh hake or whiting, battered and fried and served with fat chips made from fresh maris pipers by a red-faced man in a blue apron, since 1963.

And so the completely wrong list of disgusting things that nobody eats, compiled by the people who thought Ed Miliband was going to win the 2015 election and Jeremy Corbyn hadn’t a hope of replacing him, goes on: through the carbonised pig products and processed bread that no one outside the building industry calls breakfast any more, to bland 1950s nursery food like bangers and mash and cottage pie, to such mythological, never-in-the-history-of-England-cooked-by-anyone constructions as toad-in-the-hole and cauliflower cheese, which YouGov thinks are liked by more than 60 per cent of the population but which are in fact a figment of their imagination — like Hillary Clinton’s US election win in 2016.

Also “liked by 60-69 per cent of the population” were Cornish pasties, those carpet slippers filled with cubed potato and sheep vomit that were invented by the Romans to poison Cornish tin miners in the first couple of centuries after Christ, and the ploughman’s lunch, invented in the 1950s by the Milk Marketing Board (true fact) to help sell their awful rubbery English cheese and now extant mostly as the only survivable menu item in provincial chain pubs, complete with shrink-wrapped rhombus of plastic cheddar, supermarket chutney and “bread” roll made from gypsum.

It is only when you get down to what the pollsters — who also told us that Theresa May would win by a landslide in 2017 — call the “worst tier” of food, enjoyed by fewer than 50 per cent of people, that you find anything remotely worth eating, such as kippers, haggis, faggots and black pudding. These dishes are all relatively healthy, economically viable, environmentally sound, strongly flavoured, uniquely British and delicious. So to find them at the very bottom of the pollsters’ list shows either that YouGov is as bad a judge of food as it is of political situations or that the British people are as slow-witted, timid, impressionable, reactionary and dull in their eating habits as they are in their voting. In the end, I suspect, the answer is a large dollop of both.

In the spirit of restoring some credibility to Britain’s gastronomic reputation, I, your restaurant critic since the (correctly predicted) second term of Tony Blair, have conducted my own survey of 6,367 (completely imaginary but no less reliable) adults and thereby derived a list of 15 British dishes that we really do all enjoy, with a deep sense of national pride and two fingers up right in the face of “International Gastronomy”.

• Baked beans eaten straight from the tin, cold, with a fork.
• Ketchup sandwich.
• Homemade frazzles: rashers of microwaved Danish bacon, well past the sell-by date, that shrink down after three minutes on “max” to the size of a postage stamp so that the greenish tinge disappears and you hardly notice the metallic tang.
• Firmly set old porridge from the bottom of the pot, peeled out still in the shape of the curved edge of the saucepan and slurped stone cold at the sink while washing up.
• Last week’s Domino’s pizza, minus the ham and cheese that you picked off next morning, eaten straight from the box when you went out to throw away the papers and found it in the recycling.
• The now-tasteless whole unpeeled carrot from the chicken stock you made with last night’s bones (for waste management reasons), salvaged from the sieve, slathered with black pepper and Hellmann’s.
• One loose chow mein noodle left to dry on a linen tablecloth over the course of a long Chinese meal until it bonds with the fabric, then peeled off and chewed while waiting for the bill.
• Wine gums (ideally Maynards) from the hot glove compartment of the family Volvo, discovered two hours into a long car journey in summer, that now have the consistency of freshly set jelly.
• Cobnuts happened upon in a hedgerow during a damp Kentish ramble in late August.
• Peanut butter finger, made by digging your index digit deep into a jar of Sun-Pat Crunchy and sucking it (in the presence of French people it is considered obligatory to show them your finger halfway through eating and invite them to sniff it).
• Wine gums from a very cold glove compartment in winter (ideally Haribo) that have frozen to the bullet-like texture of Rowntrees Fruit Gums, which the internet says still exist but I’ve not seen in a shop in 20 years.
 • Big Mac with the middle bun taken out and replaced by four Chicken McNuggets.
• Wet bogey slurped down out of your nose at a funeral when you sneezed up a greenie on to your upper lip in the middle of Abide with Me and realised you didn’t have a hanky.
• Frozen French bread pizza with three Kraft cheese slices melted on top. To avoid removing six layers of skin from the roof of your mouth, wait three weeks before eating.
• 99 Flake from Mr Whippy with TWO Flakes. And you can stick your poncy gelato where the sun don’t shine, Luigi.