By Order of Captain Aubrey, Spotted Dick

James Hanley

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

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44 Responses

  1. 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. Saul Degraw says:

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

  3. Saul Degraw says:

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

  4. 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

    • James Hanley in reply to LeeEsq says:

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

    • zic in reply to LeeEsq 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

      • LeeEsq in reply to zic 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

      • zic in reply to 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

      • Kim in reply to zic says:

        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

    • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


      Where did the word desert come from?Report

  5. 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. Tod Kelly says:

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

  7. 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 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