The British food translator: spotted dick and bacon floddies

posted by Daphne December 5, 2016
Welsh rarebit | Daily Delicious Eats

After a noisy morning flight filled with football fans, we arrived in Manchester hungry for the kind of hearty breakfast the British do best. When we sat down at The Albert Square Chop House – which we meant to try last Christmas, but it was closed and we were left contemplating our options in the pouring rain – I realised I had no idea what half of their menu meant. To spare you the confusion, here’s a British food translation from very British to garden-variety English.

Welsh rarebit

If it sounds like this dish involves cute little mammals, you’re right, the original (and correct) spelling of the dish is in fact Welsh rabbit. But the dish itself doesn’t contain rabbit or any other meat – it’s basically cheese sauce on toast. It’s possible that the name started as a joke (the Welsh were so poor that they couldn’t afford meat), but no one knows for sure. Common ingredients include Worcestershire sauce, mustard and even beer, so this is one of those vegetarian dishes that are manly man-approved.

Dippy eggs & soldiers

We can guess with reasonable certainty that “dippy egg” refers to a soft-boiled egg. But soldiers? They’re toast sticks. Not just toast – you have to cut the toast into little sticks, that’s when you get soldiers. Common spreads for the toast are butter and marmite, and you’re supposed to dip the soldiers into the eggs. I suppose you can dip them either leg first or you can waterboard them if you’re in a particularly nasty mood. Anyway, two toasts in a row. Can we assume that British mystery dishes are probably just different shapes of toast?

Oh, and recipe here.

Sausage/bacon barm

This is a sausage or bacon sandwich. I guess not everything is toast. Then again, the bun in the sausage barm I had was toasted, so… Yes, when in doubt, assume it’s toast.

Gateshead bacon floddies

…Toast? NO! That would be ridiculous.

These are bacon, potato and onion hashbrowns. From Gateshead.

Bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak is made by frying up the leftover vegetables, usually potato and cabbage, from a roast dinner. It can be served with leftover roast meat or as an addition to the already generously sized traditional English breakfast. Apparently cabbage bubbles and squeaks during the cooking process. It all makes sense now.

Spotted dick

As the name implies, this dish is clearly unsuitable for vegetarians. No, seriously – this pudding is made from suet – raw fat – and dried fruits (the spots). The name may have evolved from the word pudding… puddink… puddick… dick.

And our British ancestors rightly decided the name could no longer be improved upon.

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