Our server in the very posh Queen Victoria’s shipboard pub was called Juan. No, he wasn’t from Mexico – he was a New Yorker. An oddity indeed as most of the cruise staff tend to come from the Philippines with a good smattering of Eastern Europeans and South Africans. His banter was on top form and his wit was as quick as the proverbial New York Minute. But the Spotted Dick had him stumped.
“What’s the special dessert today?” I innocently asked.
“Um – well it’s a sort of pudding, type of thing, like very British”
“Oh, well what exactly is it?”
“Well it’s hot and…. er ….it comes with custard.”
“Like apple crumble? Rhubarb pie?” I helpfully nudged.
“Look – it’s like this. I am not sure if my buddies in the kitchen are playing a trick on me but they said it is called Spotted Dick.”
No wonder he was embarrassed. The Brits have the weirdest names for some traditional culinary delights. Like –
Toad in the Hole, Mushy peas and Faggots. What? Yes indeed. They all sound pretty horrible but take it from me (a Brit) that they are “bloody marvellous” as my dad would say. Leftovers from the Sunday roast? No problem – throw them all in a frying pan and voila! you have Bubble and Squeak. Had a bad night on the Guinness last night – try a plate of bacon and eggs with black pudding. I LOVED this as a child (no I didn’t grow up on Guinness) and was horrified as a teenager to learn it was made from blood. Eeeuuuuwwww! Still ate it though – and loved it.
Imagine Juan’s face if I had asked him for a special order of Toad in the Hole with a side of Faggots before I go for the Spotted Dick!!!!