By Order of Captain Aubrey, Spotted Dick

Avatar

James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

Related Post Roulette

44 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    Russell Saunders was commenting on his love of marmite the other day, which had me thinking about the fact that I’d never tried spotted dick before (in addition to never having tried marmite). So thank you for the report. Will you do one on marmite?Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Eisenhower liked Suet so much that he ordered the Brits to end the Suet Crisis in 1956.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Thanks for keeping us up on the currant affairs of the Hanley household.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Pudding originally referred to what we call sausage, i.e. blood pudding is blood sausage. Over time, it became applied more and more to sausages that had ingredients to make them taste sweet like currants or sugar. By the late Georgian period, pudding was the word the British used for deserts. Americans also called deserts puddings until the 1830s, when the word desert became part of the lexicon in upper class households in New York and eventually the entire country.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Now that’s a fascinating linguistic history lesson. Thanks.Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      Additionally, the strong spices (cloves, cinnamon, ginger, etc.) commonly used in puddings masked rancid meats and fats.

      Pate, terrains, and meat pies are the heirs of this culinary tradition.

      And SPAM.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        That’s not true. Spices were added for taste but not to cover rancid meat. Even back than, people knew eating rotten food was a bad idea and generally didn’t eat it. It’s just that it was much more difficult to keep food fresh or preserved. Turning meat into sausage was a reliable way to do so.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        @leeesq rancid does not mean rotten; it’s fats in a pre-rotten state, like butter that’s sat out in the heat all day. Not necessarily going to make you sick, but not smelling so good, either.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Lee,
        Rancidity won’t kill ya. Rot/Mold/Botulism will kill you.

        I regularly cook with rancid butter — it’s not the best, but eh. It was in the fridge.
        (speaking of which, I need to make a trip to the store, for another 40lbs of food).Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      @leeesq

      Where did the word desert come from?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        French probably.Report

      • Avatar zic says:

        places without much rainfall.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        From the indispensable Online Etymology Dictionary.

        dessert (n.)
        c.1600, from Middle French dessert (mid-16c.) “last course,” literally “removal of what has been served,” from desservir “clear the table,” literally “un-serve,” from des- “remove, undo” (see dis-) + Old French servir “to serve” (see serve (v.)).

        Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Dessert is a word with its etymology in plain sight: desservir, de-serve, un-serve. Basically, clear the table. Comes at the end of the meal.

        Sort of like after, from ofter, meaning more (-er) away, essentially more off, or more aft.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Chris and James,
        Heavy desserts are commonly used to keep people warm at night. (Belly makes a good heat engine if it’s digesting something yum!)Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I just read the blog entry on the naval supper. It looks like something that would be delicious but instantly fatal or at least require you to starve yourself for a week afterwards. Refrigeration ensures that you don’t need to eat everything at once these days and can save a lot for latter. It also seems to be something best served to a large group to maximize the fun. Its a feast not a meal.

    On YouTube, you can watch a documentary about preparing a Tudor era Christmas feast using the techniques of the time. They loved good food just as much as we do now but the technology made everything more labor intensive back than. There is another BBC series you can watch or used to be able to watch on YouTube that samples British cuisine through different eras like the Edwardian, the Victorian, the Roman, the Restoration, and Elizabethan. Fascinating stuff.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Man, if ever there was a time we needed Schilling…Report

  7. Avatar North says:

    My family has a long tradition of making Spotted Dick/Figgy Duff (or Cannonball Pudding as we call it) from scratch. I can assure you that the real McCoy is infinitely better than that canned abomination you tried.
    Slick and doughy on the outside, dense and hearty on the inside, resplendent with currants and spices with a rum and brown sugar sauce, figgy duff is a feast fit for kings but should, admittedly, be enjoyed sparingly and with much exercise.Report

  8. NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

    Lobscouse and Spotted Dog is a brilliant book, and the fact that you don’t own it is a travesty in itself. Shame on you sir, you aren’t much better than Ossian.Report