Brit Language: A Food by Any Other Name Would Taste As Good

Yesterday, I got a hankering for back bacon. It’s certainly not the first time, but I live in a rural part of America so my back bacon access is severely limited. (All of you who are lucky enough to have a fry up whenever you like can doze off here.)  I tried talking to my local butcher who convinced me to try cottage bacon. No Joy! Not even a good imitation. My husband received Irish bacon in a Christmas gift exchange. We were all but drooling with anticipation waiting for the pan to heat up. It’s not like we are bacon virgins, we eat bacon almost every day. But, once again-no joy! Is it the magic of the Aga that makes your bacon so baconlicious?

I was truly a food snob before my trip to England in 2006. Like most nationals, I believed American food was superior to that of other countries. Though we were mostly limited to a pub/railway station menu due to our budget, I enjoyed the freshest yogurt in Cheddar, mouth-watering Cornish pasties, sweets to the sweet treacle tart, the most succulent sausages, and oh-my, that back bacon which miraculously showed up daily at every B & B. Did I mention I love bacon?

Back to my back bacon hunt, I found some on the web in Chicago. I hate having to mail away for food, and paying shipping for the privilege, but short of auctioning my organs on Craigslist for a plane ticket, this is now my best option. My web search led to some other intriguing foods, happily with some really weird names. Even Americans are familiar with Toad in the Hole, Bubble and Squeak, and Spotted Dick, but these are truly strange. We have some weird foods in America too: I am still traumatized after seeing my stepfather eat headcheese and there was that pickled tongue that lived in a jar in our refrigerator. What kid wants to go to the frig for a coke and be faced with a tongue?

These foods probably aren’t strange to you Brits, but I’m pretty sure most of these are new to us Yanks. No, these aren’t whimsical names of Dickens characters, but since many predate Charles Dickens, I think he may have missed a really good opportunity here, don’t you?





















There’s bound to be a story behind these strange names, but that’s a post for another day. I’m pretty sure headcheese and pickled tongue are just as scary as they sound. Give me a Singing Hinny or some Clapshot any day.

What your favorite food with a truly weird name?


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  1. avatar says

    I’ve alway meant to make some huffkins and singing hinnies, but haven’t gotten round to it yet. Inky pinky is a new one on me! My mother and her mother, being English, were not averse to offal; but I always turned it down. No tongue, kidneys, etc, for me, thank you veddy much!

  2. avatarSue says

    You believed American food to be better than Chinese, Italian, French, Thai. Really?? Why?? I’d love to know…

  3. avatarNancy Reiss says

    I was just talking to a Welshman last night about Faggots. Brains and bone mixed with potatoes and peas?! No thanks.

    • avatarMinerva says

      ‘Brains & bone mixed with potatoes & peas’????

      I don’t know where that recipe came from but it’s nothing like my 80 year old West Country recipe….there’s Pig’s Heart, Pig’s Liver, Belly Pork, Onion, Breadcrumbs & Herbs……..all minced, formed into balls & wrapped in caul fat. All plopped into a deep baking tray, topped up with a quantity of Pork Stock (to make a gravy), & baked in the oven.
      Traditional to serve them with Mushy Peas (Marrowfat Peas) & if you are hungry, Mashed Potatoes.

  4. avatarSharon Woodham says

    I whole heartedly agree with you about the bacon. I am English but have lived in Australia since I was 12, on my first trip home a few years ago I could not believe the difference in flavour and texture. All bacon here is bland and plastic in comparison. I am convinced it is to do with the growing and curing as it didn’t matter who or where it was cooked it was just so wonderful. I am hanging out for my next trip in a few months time.

  5. avatarLiz says

    As far as I know, butty is just Northern for a sandwich – any variety really, but most commonly a bacon one. Perhaps it’s from butter? Dunno.

    The wonders of the internet does reveal that Priddy Oggie is in fact, not an old English food, but a variation on the Cornish pasty,Tiddy Oggie. Evidently developed by an interesting gentleman by the name of Paul Leyton in the 1960’s:

    Being Welsh of origin, I’d say favourites of mine are Welsh rarebit and laverbread. Ah, no, not together! :)

    Funny how you just get used to names of foods – would love to know their origins! :)

    • avatarMinerva says

      Oh, now you’re talking Laverbread, Cockles & Smoked Back Bacon……….& lots of tea & buttery toast…….Breakfast of the Gods!

  6. avatarHagey says

    Try ” Babis yed ” This is as far as i know from the Wigan/ Leigh area of Lancashire. Without the accent it is “babies head”. Sounds a bit gruesome but all it is a steamed steak and kidney pudding served upside down so looks like a babies head also “as gettunt jack bit” being “have you got food” .

  7. avatarKat says

    As to the person above with their knickers in a twist about your comment on “American Food” – what is American food, really, but an amalgam of all cultures? Unless, of course, you are talking about corn, squash, and beans (native foods).

    I grew up in Louisiana with Texan parents, so my “American” food consisted of a basis of rice with various southern/Cajun seafoods, smoked meats, home-made Tex-Mex, occasional Chinese (rare back in the day – we had to drive to New Orleans), endless veg cooked with pork. And what “American” doesn’t eat Spaghetti and meatballs? And none of our foods were bland versions. Garlic and spice abounded!

    So, Italian or Mexican or Chinese doesn’t seem quite as exotic to me as British food!

  8. avatarMinerva says

    You could also try a ‘Wet Nelly’, ‘Chine’, ‘Haslet’, ‘Stargazey Pie’, ‘Bedfordshire Clanger’, ‘Berwick Cockles’, ‘Scouse’, ‘Brawn’, ‘Scratchings’, ‘Clapshot’, ‘Hasty Pudding’, ‘Pikelets’………..the list is endless.