Monday, July 24, 2006

Spotted dick is off the menu for young diners

Another article from today's Times.


THE food revolution may have brought ballotine de foie gras and carpaccio boeuf to our tables, but traditional dishes such as Bath chaps and jugged hare have been left simmering on the hob.

Classic British cuisine is facing the chop because the youn-ger generation has not even heard of them, according to new research. A survey carried out by the UKTV Food channel has found a “generation gap” in culinary knowledge between those in the under 25 and over 60 age groups.

It found that less than 2 per cent of under 25s had heard of calf’s foot jelly, compared with 20 per cent of over 60s. Most youngsters had no idea what spotted dick was.

The biggest casualty is Bath chaps, a once popular meal of pigs’ cheeks smoked like bacon and wrapped in breadcrumbs, which appeared in the first English recipe book written by Elizabeth Raffald, a housekeeper at a stately home in Salford.

Jugged hare, where the hare meat is served in a sauce of its blood mixed with port, was second highest on the danger list. It was immortalised in Hannah Glasse’s 18th century book, The Art of Cookery, with a recipe that began: “First catch your hare.”

The two dishes were recognised by just 1 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively, of the young people questioned. By contrast, 40 per cent of the over 60s knew about Bath chaps and 33 per cent were aware of jugged hare.

Brawn — or jellied pig’s head — was the third least-recognised dish among the young respondents. Squirrel casserole is fourth on the danger list with a recognition rate of 4 per cent among the under 25s, compared with 18 per cent of the over 60s.

The findings prompted concern that increasing prosperity is driving offal from young people’s kitchens. Fergus Smith, the chef who has helped to restore the reputation of offal at St John Restaurant in Smithfield, London, said the findings were “quite gloomy”.

Desserts on the danger list include calf’s foot jelly, a sweetened milk and rennet pudding called junke,Sussex pond pudding made from steaming suet and a whole lemon, a sweet rice pudding dish called Kentish pudding pie and Dorset dumplings, which are apples served with suet.


“Cut it in little Pieces, lard them here and there with little Slips of Bacon, season them with a very little Pepper and Salt, put them into an earthen Jugg, with a Blade or two of Mace, an Onion stuck with Cloves, and a Bundle of Sweet Herbs; cover the Jugg or Jar you do it in, so close, that nothing can get in, then set it in a Pot of boiling Water, keep the Water boiling, and three Hours will do it, then turn it out into the Dish, and take out the Onion and Sweet Herbs, and send it to the Table hot.”