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Foods

Introduction

Although we are pushing the "envelope" for a genealogical site, we present here some of the Foods and Food Terms unique to Lincolnshire, or at least familiar to Lincolnshire folk even if invented elsewhere.

I have not tried the recipes or even, in many cases, the end results. I'll leave that to the adventurous. These items are presented more to give you a "flavour" of life in Lincolnshire.

Recipe for Lincolnshire Sausage

From Farne Hunt, Australia:

20 lbs Pork 50% lean, 50 fat
3 & 1/2 lbs Stale bread
7 ozs Salt
1 & 1/2 ozs Pepper
1 & 1/2 ozs rubbed Sage
Method of preparation:
Cut pork into small cubes. Soak stale bread in water, squeeze surplus water out of bread. Put into a mixing bowl, add salt, pepper and sage (mixed) into bread and mix thoroughly, add cut-up pork to bread and seasoning, mix again. Put through the small plate of a mincing machine once only and fill into sausage skins.

Recipe for Stuffed Chine

From Farne Hunt, Australia:

This superb Lincolnshire dish of salt pork filled with herbs is known as stuffed chine. Verlaine, in the mid-1870s, spent a year as a schoolmaster just north of Boston. He liked chine so much that he tried to find it elsewhere in England, but without success. To buy a chine, stuffed and cooked, or uncooked and ready for you to stuff, apply to A.W. Curtis and Sons of Lincoln (01522 527212).

You will receive a square block of meat, cut from between the shoulder blades across the backbone, a nice pink from the cure. Verlaine's chine was stuffed with leeks, spring onions, lettuce, raspberry leaves, parsley, thyme and marjoram. Nowadays parsley suffices, but you will need a great deal - enough to fill a baby's bath.

Take a careful look at your slab of meat. One side will be bordered with fat, the other will show the backbone. Turn the fat towards you, the bone away, with a lean side uppermost. Leaving a border of meat, make a deep slash from fat to bone (note not to the edge of the joint but to the fat at the edges, leaving a pocket for the stuffing). You will not go through, as there is the unseen barrier of the vertebrae wings of bone. Repeat, make five slashes in all. Turn over and do the same the other side. Soak the meat for 24 hours.

Meanwhile prepare an enormous chopping of parsley, and other greenery if you like. Use a processor, but do not reduce to a soup. A moist hash is easier to stuff than a coarsely chopped dry pile of parsley. Cram as much as you can into the slashes. Tie the chine tightly into a cloth. Put into a pan, cover with cold water, and simmer for four hours. Change the water as it becomes salty. Cool in the water for two or three hours, remove, drain and press under a weight, with the meat still in its cloth.

To serve, unwrap the chine, and slice it form the fat end, parallel to the fat. The slices tend to fall apart, but reassemble them on the plate. In Lincolnshire you eat stuffed chine with vinegar, but vinaigrette and salad with bread and butter and mustard seem better to me.

Haslet

Haslet (locally pronounced "hacelet") is a herbed pork meat loaf (or is sometimes prepared as a sausage). In Wales, it's pig liver cooked with onions and potatoes! Haslet comes from the old French word for entrails, but it essentially refers to the ingredients being very finely minced. A variety of recipes exist (use your favorite search engine).

Here's a comment from Elizabeth Davies in Surrey:

"On the subject of all the pork delicacies produced from Lincolnshire pigs, my Great Aunt Millie moved to Southsea, Hants, and went looking for her favourite, haslet, which is a sort of herby meat loaf. She asked for it in a local butcher, using the Lincolnshire pronunciation 'hace-let'. The supercilious shopkeeper said he had 'haz-let' if that was what she meant. She bought some, and found it was tasteless compared with the Lincs version. So she went back to the butcher and told him, "That definitely was 'hazlet' you sold me, but it was 'hacelet' I was wanting"."

A recipe from Ann C. Best, New Zealand:

1 1/2 lbs Lean minced pork
4 oz Stale bread
Sage
Salt & Pepper
Method of preparation:
Soak 4oz bread and squeeze as dry as possible, add a little fine sage and pepper and salt to taste. Mix with the minced pork and form into shape, wrap in a piece of caul, put on a tin and bake in a moderate oven one hour. One lady suggests adding a minced onion. Mostly eaten cold.

Faggots (Savoury Ducks)

Faggots are not unique to Lincolnshire and are well known in Yorkshire and are a Black Country delicacy. They are also known as "Savoury Ducks", probably a euphemism to hide the fact that seasonings were being added to the cheapest meat available. Basically, they are the same principal as Haggis, in other words all the bits that couldn't be used otherwise (nose, tail, teats, you name it really, which probably now end up in sausages or other things containing 'mechanically recovered meat'), wrapped in caul.

Here's one expatriot's comments:

"As an exiled Lincs boy in London I look forward to returning home to Scunny with Mum stocking up with a half or a quart of Judges's haslet. Have tried the stuff down south that they try and palm you off with but take my advice.... there is no substitute."
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Ever eaten a Charter?

From Farne Hunt, Australia:

A mystery dish appears often in Parson Woodforde's diary, evidently a special dish, called the Charter. He ate it first in 1777, at the house of a neighbouring cleric, a bachelor who kept a good table. Although it is clear from other entries that the Charter was a custard, nobody knew exactly what it was. Eventually some energetic inquiries by Mrs Baker of the Parson Woodforde Society produced the recipe which was published in the Society's magazine in 1968.

The Charter (Serves 6)

600ml (1 pint) cream, single or whipping
strips of peel from 1/2 lemon
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
sugar
18 dried apricot halves

Mix cream with lemon peel and leave overnight. Or, if you are in a hurry, bring them slowly to just under boiling point, then remove from the heat and leave until the cream is lightly flavoured. Beat the eggs and egg yolks, then add the strained cream, cold or tepid, and sweeten to taste - but very mildly as the apricots will be sweet. Divide between six small pots or ramekins. Cover with foil and stand on a rack in a wide pan. Pour in boiling water to come a little way up the pots and transfer to a low oven, gas 2, 150C (300F) for 30 minutes. Check after 25 minutes with a narrow-bladed knife: If it comes out only slightly creamy, remove the pots from the water-bath and leave to cool. The custards will continue to cook and firm up as they cool down. Remove their foil caps straight away, or they will drip water on to the custards as they cool.

Now deal with the apricots, which can also be done in advance, if more convenient. Pour boiling water over them and leave for an hour. Drain and add more water to cover. Simmer until tender, covered. Add 3 level tablespoons of sugar, and boil steadily, shaking the apricots or turning them over gently until they look glossy and candied, and the liquid has almost vanished. Watch attentively to avoid burning. Turn on to a rack to drain. Put on to the Charter custards just before serving.

Our ancestors never used these but.... If you have glace apricots or apricots in brandy, they could be used instead: The thing to avoid is canned apricots. Fresh apricots poached in syrup and well-drained would be more refreshing in summer.

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Everything But The Squeak

Although perhaps not unique to Lincolnshire, one expression that used to be common in the county was "Everything but the squeak." It refered to using every part of a pig in the butchering process, with nothing going to waste.

Here's more from Elizabeth Davies:

"My grandma, still alive at nearly 90, prides herself on being able to 'put a pig away' using 'everything but the squeak'."

Samphire

Another Lincolnshire delicacy is Samphire, a succulent, bright green plant with a woody "skeleton", found on marshland. It is boiled and served with salt and lots of vinegar. In season (May?) people head down to the marshes of Lincolnshire to pick the plants. It can be quite a family occasion, equivalent to mushroom picking in France. At the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, samphire was served at the wedding breakfast as symbolic of Sandringham in Norfolk, where the Queen has a residence.

Samphire is best cooked outside because it smells bad when being cooked.

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Frumenty

"Frumenty" is a traditional barley or wheat pudding.

Barbara Chamberlain reports: My Great Aunt Henrietta Hunt Beacock (b. Thealby abt. 1892) used to make it but I don't remember it as a Christmas dish, although it was definitely filling winter food. Sometimes she made it with broth and served it with meat, I guess it was a sort of barley or wheat risotto and sometimes it would have currants or sultanas and almonds with brown sugar on top - comfort food!

Sue Duckles provides: Frumenty is a traditional 'northern' dish, served on christmas eve to all comers. Flummery was more of a summer dish, made with semolina or ground rice and served cold.

Frumenty is defined on Wikipedia. Thank you, Maggie in Wigan.

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Brawn

Pam Downes tells me that "Brawn" was a Lincolnshire delicacy (according to her father). She never knew what Brawn was, apart from "some bits" of the pig served in jelly. Pam used to scrape the jelly off, but now that she knows how it's made, she might want to avoid some of the "bits".

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Christmas pudding - 1836

Brian Binns provides this recipe for Christmas Pudding, circa 1836, from the "Magazine of Domestic Economy":

Christmas Pudding.- One pound of bread crumbs, rubbed through the cullender; half-pound flour; one pound and quarter suet, very finely chopped; quarter pound sugar; one pound currants; half-pound raisins, stoned and chopped. Mix well together, and then add - two ounces candied citron; one ounce ditto orange-peel; one ditto lemon-peel; one nutmeg, grated; a little mace; cinnamon and three cloves pounded; quarter of a tea-spoonful of powdered ginger; the peel of one lemon finely-chopped. Mix well again, and then add - one wine-glassful of brandy; one ditto white wine; the juice of one lemon. Mix well together, then stir in gradually six well-beaten eggs. Boil five hours and sift sugar over the top when served.

It is exceedingly convenient when making Christmas pudding, to boil several at once in various sized moulds or basins, as they will keep well for a month or six weeks, and can be served on an emergency by merely re-boiling them - say one hour for a pint basin. After the first boiling remove the cloth, and when the pudding is cold cover it with a dry clean cloth.

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Tea

Carolyn tells us "I still get strange looks when I ask if the Tea has mashed (instead of brewed)."

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Last updated on 30-January-2014
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