Sunday, 14 November 2010

London food

I don't recalled whether I blogged about it last time I had jellied eels, I meant to, but it probably didn't happen.

As you may know, I do live in London, and in the same way that Scottish people eat haggis, Londoners eat jellied eels, its their staple diet. For hundreds of years the only source of protein for dwellers of England's capital was the eels they fished out of the Thames. When other sources of protein came along Londoners stopped eating eels in quite the quantities they did, but some jellied eel shops still cling on.

There are places that have been selling the same thing for hundreds, possibly thousands of years, jellied eels, pie n mash, coffee or tea in a polystyrene cup. Its almost amazing that these are the only things on the menu, workers would eat the same thing every day, for sometimes their entire lives.

The again, this one time in Glasgow I did have a doner kebab every day for a month.
Jellied eels
These are jellied eels, prepared as follows:- you get your eel from the Thames, cut it into 'rounds', boil it up so all the collogen-like stuff leaks out, then cooled so the jelly forms round it, the served into a bowl and consumed with chilli vinegar.

It tastes vile, amongst the jellie, the fatty skin and the grizzly meaty bit, there's a wee knot of bone, that I guess you're supposed to crunch up and eat too. I don't understand how people could have eaten this stuff to such a degree, but they did, and so I plough through the bowl.

There's more jelly than meat, more jelly than eel, so you're left with a bowl of jelly, are you supposed to drink it, or just leave it so the waitresses can recycle and use it in the next day's fare?
Pie and mash
My dining companion had the companion dish, pie 'n' mash, topped up with 'liquor'. The pie tasted a bit like cardboard, the liquor, apparently made with cornflour and parsley tasted of polyfilla. The mash was okay.

Its the staple food of the Londoner, as vile as it is, its never going to die out, its always going to be available. Try it today, and again a year later, just in case.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I couldn't have put it better myself. (So haven't. I hope you don't mind but I have quoted your post on my blog)