God Bless Her, and all that Sail in Her

Queen Liz 2

"God bless her, and all that sail in her"

Well hello there. Welcome to my brand-spanking new weblog British Food: A History.

From my love of cooking and interest in history, I thought it best I should start this blog on all things British and culinary. This interest has not come from nowhere, I have another blog called Neil Cooks Grigson which tackles all the classic as well as many of the weird and forgotten English dishes throughout the last 700 years or so. The idea behind that blog was to cook all the recipes in Jane Grigson’s English Food, a truly excellent piece of writing.

So what does this new blog have to offer if I am already sort-of doing it on another?

Well, the answer is that the other blog will have glaring omissions because the book does. So I always originally intended to produce an English Food V2.0. However, the more I researched for posts, the more I got interested in old recipe books and the history surrounding them and found that, although a great deal of fun the other blog is, I wanted to cast my net even further with this one.

The amazingly talented Mrs Jane Grigson

I want to add the recipes Jane Grigson didn’t use, I want to add the best of the ones I have cooked from the book, more importantly I want to look more at Wales and Scotland. Not just that, but to extend the map to the other countries that have had links with my own – for better, or for worse – like Ireland, France, India and the countless other countries too that have moulded our people, culture and food throughout history. I also want to go back in time to Britain before the Middle Ages too. What influence did  the Roman occupation have, for example? What about further back to prehistory? How did farming come about in Britain and what did the foraging people eat before farming on any scale even occurred?

So, the blog will be a mix of recipes, findings and short essays on our amazingly rich, frequently odd and overwhelmingly dynamic the Britons have been – and still are – with their food.

Most intriguing of all though, is to find a recipe and cook it and really experience how people lived; reading about is of course wonderful fuel for the imagination and it allows us to understand our past, and therefore our present and future. As is watching film documentaries. But these all fail in that the experiences are all second-hand. For example, eating something that a king from the Middle Ages ate on his coronation, in my opinion, the closest you can get to climbing inside a time machine and transporting yourself there.

So, there you go, that’s the idea behind it all. Let’s just see if I can pull it off…

13 Comments

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13 responses to “God Bless Her, and all that Sail in Her

  1. alifoodie

    Oh, I’m excited! Every day I check each and every one of my favourite food blogs for an update, so now I have another one to add to my list! I love Neil Cooks Grigson so I’m sure that this one will be brilliant too.

    • njbuttery

      Hello there!
      Thnaks so much for your comment. I’m glad you like the other blog. It’s early days for this one, but i have great plans for it…

  2. flittero

    You’ve already pulled it off. By seamlessly stitching your day job into the new blog you’ve enrolled another freshman. Tell me more.
    I heard Giles Coren chatting with Aggers on Test Match Special yesterday and he was saying that in Roman times there existed giant dormice (like rabbits) and the reason they don’t exist now is that the Romans ate them all. Was he bowling a tester?

    • buttery77

      Hey there.
      Thanks for the comments!
      I know that the Romans bred Dormice and didn’t just catch them, so perhaps there was a little bit of selective breeding going on. I shall look into it…

  3. Kathryn Marsh

    Just came across your Grigson blog when looking for a yorkshire spiced beef recipe and too lazy to head for the attic where I keep my library. It’s caused me to waste a LOT of time when I should have been clearing the freezer etc space for the half cow due to arrive from the farmer tomorrow. Many, many moons ago – long before the dawn of the internet – I cooked Hartley. Can I recommend her as a source for this blog and a back up for Grigson – fond as I am of Grigson. One of these days I’m going to work through Charcuterie and French Pork Cooking. I also did a lot of Mrs Acton back in the 50s/60s after I found a copy for 4d – then my weekly pocket money – in a jumble sale. No one comes near her on redcurrant jelly. Congrats on a worthy endeavour

  4. Kathryn Marsh

    Oh, and my grandmother (died 1951) cooked, as a family recipe, the hare lozenges from the Form of Curie!

  5. Kathryn Marsh

    Didn’t manage to clear as much space as I’d hoped. this is about to be the time I do those jerky and biltong experiments. A bit nervous of trying bresaola in even an Irish august

    • buttery77

      Bresaola-making sounds quite hardcore to me! Where in Ireland are you? Was in Allycastle over Easter and loved it. It is where my better half is from.

  6. Kathryn Marsh

    Just did a quick check because I reckoned Coren had his facts wrong – those giant dormice were back in the pleistocene. Romans ate the ones we still have around today but fattened them up. I reckon the ones that ate through my wiring one year in Sussex weighed about half a pound each. Suspect Coren was just winding Aggers up. Don’t listen often to TMS because Blowers annoys me – prat never remembers to mention the score. Rather listen to David Lloyd and the others on Sky – they talk more sense even when I don’t have time to watch.
    I like cooking Roman – all that fish sauce

  7. buttery77

    That makes sense – I know they are still eaten today in Eastern Europe. Seem to remember Heston Blumenthal hunting some down for one of his telly promgrammes, As for the sport. I have no idea what you are talking about!

  8. Hi there
    I’d like to use one of the images on your excellent blog. It’s for an academic article related to nutrition. I’d be really grateful if you could drop me a line so we could discuss this further. Thank you!

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