Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Cream Teas

Every nation is rightly proud of its national dish but, for some reason, the English can never seem to decide what it is. Fish & chips was long held to be the meal in question but then someone would pipe up and argue the toss for steak & kidney pie. In more recent years it has been claimed that curry is now the national dish which is clearly nonsense. I mean, curry is lovely and a very welcome addition to the national menu, but we really should make an effort to have one stand out meal that isn’t imported.

I would like to put forward the case for cream teas. A nice scone (fruit or plain) with a pot of jam and lashings of clotted cream. It is quintessentially English in the same was as haggis (or the deep fried Mars bar) is Scottish and, I don’t know, leeks I suppose are Welsh.

Historians in Tavistock, West Devon, believe that they have discovered the origins of the cream tea. Apparently, after the Vikings had plundered the Benedictine Abbey there in 997AD the monks relied on local workers to help them rebuild it. To thank the men the monks fed them with bread, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The meal proved so popular that they continued to serve it to passing travellers and the cream tea was born.

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