Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What makes us British


The national dish might be Chicken Tikka Masala. The right wing tabloids might vent their spleen against the latest wave of immigrants to come to Britain, which is either Estonians or Bulgarians, I don't recall which. Poles, it would seem are O.K. now, since they are such good builders and painter decorators, I imagine the Bulgarians or whoever will prove to be excellent plumbers and we'll be on to someone else*. We are probably heading for environmental catastrophe and London may well flood (which I have to say would be a bonus since the housing market is set to crash and if London does flood, my flat which is currently up a very steep hill will be a beachfront apartment. Sweet.). Our traditional values might be eroding as I type. You know, the values that we hold dear, like braying when laughing and the delightful coupling of snobbishness and ignorance we do so well in this country. These things having been said, I have to say I still love roast beef. I love the fact that it's so bloody British.

Despite BSE and the Foot and Mouth crisis, despite the flaccid squares of intensively reared cattle you find in the supermarket, despite all that, when you are confronted with a hunk of cow; a hunk of cow lovingly reared and intelligently slaughtered and hung and you roast it, that's the best of British right there. This forerib of Galloway beef is from Farmer Sharp in Borough Market and was dry hung for 5 weeks. I nearly wet myself when I cut into the meat after the briefest of roastings and nice long rest. Blood warm and so full of flavour I wanted to cry.

* Actually, as an aside why is it the tabloids never bang on about the hundreds of French coming over daily on the eurostar! Hundreds of them!


Jennifer Jeffrey said...

You are so much fun to read. Beachfront apartment!

cookiecrumb said...

When Cranky's dad was at Cambridge on a Fulbright, he procured a roast beef at the London PX, as a naval reserve officer, and delivered it to his wife's aunt and uncle in Manchester.
They boiled it.

Monkey Gland said...

jen: ta very much

cookie: With carrots?? Fine British dish ;-)!

Andrew said...

I must admit that I used to really dislike roast beef. It was far too bland for my liking; although, it may just have been bad roast beef.

The older I get, however, the more the idea of roast beef, Yorkshires, and real gravy, appeals.

Jared said...

The first time I had a forerib was at St John... Like your story, there was almost weeping involved. I'm actually choking up a little bit from pure nostalgia.

The Guilty Carnivore said...

The first paragraph could be similarly used to describe the States, with these choice substitutions:

Chicken Tikka Masala = Pizza
Bulgarians = Mexicans
Poles = South Indians
builders and painter decorators= doctors
braying when lauging = talking on cell phones
roast beef = pot roast

Jonathan said...

English plumbers are the best. I also think British people are also the worst at sport but the best at dogy accents.

Nice post

Jonathan (london plumbers representative)

Jennifer - Eat Drink Talk said...

Yum! Farmer Sharp's meat is so distinctive that I think I can actually recognise it if I'm eating out in a restaurant that he supplies.

He was at Salone del Guston in Turin giving out samples of his air-dried mutton to the Italians - and I think they liked it. Andrew is just the man for the job of winning Europeans over to realising that British meat has a lot going for it.