Monday, September 12, 2011

Americans & Food

I find it quite disconcerting when American visitors to Britain criticize British food. 

This is especially so since most of them have barely set foot outside the designated venues on their tour of “Ye Olde Tea Shoppes of Shakespeare Country” and “ Old Ma Gwyns House” in St Martin in the Fields. And they seem to think we all go around wearing smocks and knee breeches, tug our forelocks and say  things like “Oo Arr m’lud ‘twas that bloke over yonder what shivered me timbers”.

Equally disconcerting is the American aversion to organ meats in a country that is blessed with the finest farmed and wild meat bearing beasts on the planet.

They will eat factory floor sweeping  chemically enhanced dross called a hot dog, have no problem devouring acres of plasticized muck known as cheese slices, slather everything with genetically altered tomato waste (oops sorry Ketchup) but get a case of  the shudders at the thought of biting down on a nicely sautéed kidney.

As a result it is almost impossible to buy suet for a nice Steak and Kidney pudding over here.
Yes you can get universally awful vegetable suet but what about a good old chunk of hard fat from a healthy beef kidney, nicely minced, ready to enhance a proper pudding pastry.
An unabashed plug is about to follow:

I had almost given up on having a decent steamed pudding until I came across U.S. Wellness Meats.
I purchased a goodly supply of suet from them and, to make up my order, added some lamb and beef kidneys and a healthy portion of ox tail.

Oh my goodness what wonders did I behold when my shipment arrived.
Huge 1lb Beef kidneys, meaty oxtail, luscious lamb kidney, visions of puddings and pies galore.
Now for you who are used to AtoraTM beef suet, the US Wellness product is rather coarsely ground so immediately upon receipt you need to chop it into smaller (still frozen) chunks, bung it in your food processor and reduce it to the nice “AtoraTM sized”  grains needed to make a nice smooth pastry.

Immediately after I got the goodies, from a recipe given to me by my daughter, was born the most delicious Steak & Oxtail Pudding.

My family drooled over it (not for long, drooling ended where devouring began) but when I described it to an American friend he got all pale about the gills.
Funny lot these Yanks.
Steak & Oxtail Pudding


  1. I fear that the American aversion to offal has spread to the UK- or at least it had for the past twenty years or so. The 'foodie revival' in Britain has meant that such goodies as pigs' ears and trotters have reappeared on menus and crispy intestines and sweetmeats have graced the mebus of the finest restaurants. But the good old fashioned livers and kidneys are hard to find on everyday menus and in the everyday shopping basket. Indeed, liver has become a premium product, very expensive to buy. And don't get me started on giblets- want to make giblet gravy for your Christmas dinner? Uh-uh, no way, all poultry now comes giblet free in the supermarket and you have to warn your butcher if you want them. But we are not all slaves to the gravy granules yet!

  2. Oh, thank you for sharing! The whole vision behind this dish was a delight to read. Having grown up your typical Midwesterner, I am admittedly forced to retrain my palate to the notion of such new flavors. You do give me hope though!