Semolina, giblets, blancmange, liver, tripe; no, not the worst flavours in a box of Bertie Botts’ Every Flavour Beans, but some of the classic British food staples that are at risk of dying out, according to a recent YouGov survey.
Apparently, 69 per cent of Brits have never eaten tripe and have absolutely no desire to, while 65 per cent say the same of eels, 43 per cent of cockles, 32 per cent of both black pudding and rabbit, 29 per cent of beef dripping, 22 per cent of tapioca pudding and 17 per cent of suet.
Meanwhile, 16 per cent of us have never eaten neither bubble and squeak nor semolina pudding, 11 per cent have never tried corned beef and, arguably most shocking of all, seven per cent of Brits have never eaten treacle (?!?!).
So, seeing as it’s British Food Fortnight from Saturday September 22nd to Sunday October 7th, we’re taking a look at how we can bring some of these classics back. Tripe, anyone?
Hearty and traditional rabbit pie
People don’t always like the idea of eating rabbit, but it’s actually pretty tasty (kind of like chicken, in fact, but with a bit more of a gamey flavour) and it’s a great addition to autumn comfort food and winter warmer dishes like stews and pies, making it perfect for this time of year.
The English Kitchen has a fab recipe for a traditional rabbit pie, which is also packed with flavoursome smoked bacon, onions, lemon and black pepper, so it’s absolutely bursting with taste. And, of course, there’s plenty of beautiful flaky pastry holding all of that taste in. It definitely sounds like time to bring this British food staple of the past back in our opinion.
Tripe with spiced chickpeas
If you gloss over what tripe actually is (a cow’s stomach), and get away from the wartime image of it being served with mash and watery gravy (times were hard!), you could find yourself enjoying this classic ingredient very much indeed.
Nowadays, tripe often pops up in tapas-style dishes, like in this recipe for tripe with spiced chickpeas from Tim’s Kitchen. Flavoured with garlic, white wine, paprika, tabasco and bay leaves, this dish is ideal for dunking fresh crusty bread into – it’s not a load of tripe at all.
Fish pie feat. cockles
Cockles are apparently falling out of favour among British diners – most of us are much more likely to get a bag of sugared doughnuts at the seaside these days than a pot of cockles and whelks.
Cockles have a strong taste, which makes them a brilliant addition to a fish pie, really bringing out that seafood flavour. Spiced Peach Blog suggests incorporating them in this fish pie recipe (it explains that clams can easily be switched up for cockles in the instructions) which also features salmon, cod, leeks, parsley and dill for extra flavour.
Corned beef bubble and squeak
This next recipe incorporates two of the foods at risk of disappearing from our dinner tables: corned beef and bubble and squeak, in the form of corned beef bubble and squeak.
Bubble and squeak was a thrifty invention, traditionally using leftover veg from Sunday’s roast and frying it up into patties. These days, it’s not unusual for people to buy in the ingredients especially to make it, and it’s become a bit of a trendy brunch favourite.
Adding corned beef to the patties adds a whole depth of flavour though, and we love this recipe from Food on the Blog. Serving it with a fried egg so the runny yolk soaks into all that vegetable-y, corned beef-y (our new favourite adjectives) goodness is compulsory.
Jam roly-poly feat. suet
YouGov found that 17 per cent of Brits have never eaten a suet pudding – by our calculations, this means a significant proportion of the population has never eaten jam roly-poly, and we think that’s a real shame.
Suet is a key ingredient in this traditional school dinner days pud (see recipe from My Dish) and makes it lovely and stodgy and jammy in the best possible way. Of course, it’s not suitable for vegans or veggies, but there are substitutes available. And serving with custard is an absolute must.
Tapioca pudding is another throwback to 1970s school dinners. Rice pudding-like with creamy lumps, it’s not difficult to see why it’s fallen out of favour in the Instagram age.
However, tapioca flour is having something of a moment in other kinds of dishes, as it’s a great gluten-free flour alternative. Take these Brazilian-inspired tapioca flour crepes from The Spruce Eats, for example.
These are a popular street food in Brazil, and they’re really simple to make for yourself at home too. Then it’s entirely up to you whether you go for lemon and sugar, chocolate spread, peanut butter and banana, or something savoury like ham and cheese – a truly difficult choice.
Teeth-sticking treacle toffee
Finally, we had to address the fact that seven per cent of people have never eaten treacle. You’ve not lived until you’ve been seriously considering an emergency dentist trip due to this sugar glue (that’s basically what it is, after all) sticking your teeth together!
Bonfire treacle toffee is the best – and stickiest – place to start, and this recipe from Little Sugar Snaps is a great one to get going with. Just don’t expect to be able to talk for the rest of the day after eating.