English food and its unappetizing names

GingernutsSo after thinking about ginger nuts for over a week (incase there is any confusion, the following image represents my line of thought) I started contemplating the many other English foods that have unappetizing names.

Lets face it, English food doesn’t have the best reputation around the world, which I am sure is not helped by the names we have chosen to give to some of our best known dishes, all of which I may add are delightful to eat.

To quote English food writer Simon Majumdar – “we have done ourselves no favors at all when it comes to giving our food names that might make anyone actually want to eat them”.

So lets take a look at a few prime examples:

Spotted dick – The word ‘dick’ was widely used as a term for pudding in the 19th century. It is a very popular pudding in England and goes down very well with a dollop of custard.


Lardy cake – a traditional rich spiced form of bread found in several southern counties of England.


Toad in the hole – a traditional British dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter. It is usually served with vegetables and onion gravy.

Toad in the hole

Faggots – faggots commonly consist of minced pork liver and heart, wrapped in bacon, with onion and breadcrumbs. It is a very popular in the West Midlands.


Eton mess – a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue and cream. It is traditionally served at Eton Colege’s annual cricket game against Harrow school (London). It has been known by this name since the 19th Century.


Rock cakes – a small, hard fruitcake, they have been a traditional teatime treat in Great Britain for many years.

Rock cakes

Clotted Cream – is a thick cream (that has been cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time). It originated in the Southwest of England and is an essential part of a cream tea.

Clotted cream

Shepherd’s pie – originally called “cottage pie” the term “Shepherd’s pie” did not appear until 1877. It consists of using left over meat, mixed with gravy and vegetables with a mashed potato crust on top.

Shepards pie

Bubble and squeak – a traditional dish in England made with the leftover vegetables from a roast dinner and shallow-fried. It was a very popular dish during World War 2 due to rationing.

Bubble and squeak

Black pudding – made from pork blood, this a popular item in a traditional English breakfast.

Black pudding

Ploughman’s lunch – a cold English meal which consists of cheese, pickle, bread, boiled eggs and pickled onions. It is very popular to eat at a pub, washed downed with a pint of beer.

ploughmans lunch

Pork Scratchings – the roasted skin of a pig, a popular snack in the pub.

Pork Scratchings copy

And my personal favorite – Sussex pond pudding – the first recorded recipe dates back to 1672, it is believed the pudding originated in the county of Sussex. The pudding is made of a suet pastry which encases a whole lemon mixed with butter and sugar and then steamed for several hours. It actually sounds very nice.

Sussex pond pudding

Of course this lost is just scratching the tip of the surface here, but seriously it does make you wonder why. Put it this way, how quickly would you go over to someone’s house if the previous night, while talking on the phone, they said ‘oh yes, I haven’t seen you for ages, come on over and we will have some Sussex pond pudding’.

Now, I had never heard of Sussex pond pudding until I started researching English food history and I certainly haven’t sampled any of this delightful little dessert. Given its name, I doubt it is something us Brits would wish to promote as a national dish. Lets face it, our food has a bad enough reputation as it is…but come on, spotted dick and ginger nuts, well, at least we have a sense of humor!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s