Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Cutlery

August 12, 2009

Whilst the rest of the world was still using its fingers to eat food as late as 1953, the English had long since recognised the benefits of an intermediary between dinner and digit. The invention of the sandwich in 1751 highlighted the advantages of keeping the fingers clean of grease, gravy, Marmite, etc., but it wasn’t for another 63 years that the logical next step was taken.

And Jesus spake thus unto the waiter "I haveth not cutlery" and the waiter thus respondeth "You're too early mate, the English don't invent cutlery for another 1800 years or so"

And Jesus spake thus unto the waiter "I haveth not cutlery" and the waiter thus respondeth "You're too early mate, the English don't invent cutlery for another 1800 years or so"

In the Autumn of 1814 Edgar Ramsbottom was in his parlour tuning his piano when is wife brought him a platter of fine pickles. Edgar was in a quandary because although he was hungry and loved the piquant taste of a well preserved gherkin he also knew the dangers of getting strong malt vinegar on the keys or body of his piano. Inspiration struck in a flash and taking the tuning fork he had been using, a C-128, Edgar skewered a particularly large gherkin and transferred it to his mouth without despoiling either his hands or piano with vinegar.

Edgar, sensing the enormity of his breakthrough, immediately gave up his job as a government approved leach healer and dedicated the rest of his life to perfecting his invention. He experimented with the number of tines. He found that 2 tines gave a better note when striking the food however 10 times ensured that even the most persistent  live shrimp was restrained. He eventually settled on 4 as the optimum  number, suitable for spearing all but the largest of morsels but still giving a pleasant tone when struck against the table top.

The fork was an excellent start but proved frightfully slow for eating soup and inadequate for slicing the larger gherkins into smaller mouth-sized pieces. He rapidly added the spoon and knife to his inventions and the classic cutlery combo was formed.

Related non-invention:
Chopsticks (Non-invented by the Chinese): Hold on Huang, chopping the top off the fork doesn’t invent a new form of cutlery. What you have just non-invented is the “not fork”.

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Cheese on Toast / Pizza

July 21, 2009

In October 1912 Mr Wilf Chumbly, of Halton near Lancaster, was looking for a warm meal with all the delicious taste of the cheese sandwich (with maybe only 50% of the bread). He had the idea to create a piece of toast and then to put cheese on top of it. Wilf called his new creation “Cheese on toast”.

The traditional Skittle's 12 inch "pizza" cheese on toast

The traditional Skittle's 12 inch "pizza" cheese on toast

His creation became wildly popular with his friends and relatives and soon he had opened the first home delivery food service, “Skittles” (named after the game he would play down at his local pub). Any resident of Lancaster, or the surrounding area, could call up Skittles and Wilf would cycle round to their house with a steaming hot piece of cheese on toast in a cardboard box.

When phoning in their order the broad Lancaster accent of Wilf’s customers meant that the phrase “Can I have a 12 inch piece of cheese on toast please, Wilf” would sound like “Can I have a 12 inch ‘pizza’ cheese on toast please, Wilf” and so in 1924 he renamed his company “Skittle’s Pizza” and created the famous logo  known around the world.

Wilf developed his product line to start adding extra ingredients to his cheese on toast and soon he had a variety of popular favourites, one of the most popular being the ham and Pineapple “Morecome”, named after the local seaside town due to its proximity to both several pig farms and the Del Monte canning plant.

Soon rip-offs of Wilf’s “pizza” had started appearing around the world and just like had happened with football and the squirrel previously it was the Americans who took a good idea and ruined it. Instead of keeping the traditional square shape they decided to make it round, meaning that a customer ordering a 12 inch pizza, instead of getting 144 square inches of cheese dripping goodness would instead get a meagre 113.097 square inches. It is this ridiculously shaped sham-pizza that  is now more prominent but true pizza aficionados still seek out the Skittle’s authentic version and add a splash of Lea and Perrin’s sauce before eating.

Related non-invention:
Welsh Rarebit (Non-invented by the Welsh): Oi Aled, if you are going to nick an English meal and pretend it’s Welsh at least add a bloody leek.

aficionados

The scotch egg

June 16, 2009

The scotch egg was invented by the English, and not as suggested by the name, the Scottish.

The addition of a sausage layer to the outside of a boiled egg came first, in 1354, but it wasn’t until 1782 that the breadcrumbs were added (by Mr George Percey of Bromsgrove) creating the staple of wedding buffets we’ve come to love.

A scotch egg (plus another half scotch egg): Combining egg and pork sausage doubles your chance of salmonella

A scotch egg (plus another half scotch egg): Combining egg and pork sausage doubles your chance of salmonella

The sandwich

June 16, 2009

The sandwich was invented in England by the Earl of Sandwich, an Englishman.

It combines bread (invented by the English) with “filling” (also invented by the English).

The sandwich as it should be: bread, filling and a hint of condiment

The sandwich as it should be: bread, filling and a hint of condiment

Related non-invention:
The open sandwich (Non-invented by the Swedish):  Just a badly made sandwich, you are fooling no-one Sven.