Friday, 28 July 2006

Awful old grub

A recent survey of changing food tastes has shown that many classic British dishes are set to disappear from the nation’s larder. No surprise there then, and good riddance to some of those mentioned. Anyway, I’m not sure that some of them were ever “classic”: squirrel casserole? boiled haddock heads stuffed with suet? Just because some miserable peasants were obliged to eat these things when the mouldy black rot had got their turnips and they had nothing else doesn’t really make them, as some maintain, “a powerful link to a bygone culinary era", with their recipes staying in the cookbooks for ever.

But of course some simple traditional dishes really should be preserved in the modern cook’s repertoire lest future children never have the chance of appreciating them: one such is English Toast, a good and almost forgotten recipe for which I published a couple of years ago. When this appeared two elderly readers were kind enough to post comments sharing their memories of clever variations on this old favourite, and these are included here.

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