In 1987 I made my first trip to
My friend, Barbie, and I spent five weeks exploring all of the traditional sites—Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, British Museum, the Highlands of Scotland, the Welsh Folk Museum—well, just about everything! (Here we are at the center of the famous maze at Hampton Court.)
I even saw Princess Diana, Prince Edward, and the Duke and Duchess of
Perhaps my favorite places to explore were food related, from the large market in Harrods to the local food shops on the corner. When I returned to
Cadbury Drinking Chocolate
Digestive Biscuits (cookies that are tastier than the name suggests)
Thank goodness most of these are available here in the
, either at grocery stores with good international sections, or shops like Brits in US . Lawrence, Kansas
Somewhere along the way in 1987, Barbie and I made a stop at a pub for lunch. I don’t remember what town it was in, but I do remember ordering the ploughman’s lunch. I had read in numerous British guide books that this was a traditional lunch served, as you may guess, to ploughman when they took a break from their work in the fields. Turns out, it was actually created as an advertising gimmick for the country’s Milk Marketing Board in the 1960s to promote the consumption of cheese. However, there were references to the phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1837, and a meal popular before World War II was called the ploughboy’s lunch, so perhaps the marketing people were just promoting a menu item that already existed in one form or another. It’s a popular lunch order in today’s British pub.
If I remember correctly, the ploughman’s lunch I ordered was fairly traditional—a piece of cheese, a thick slice of crusty bread, pickled onions, some fresh veggies, and Branston pickle (we would call it relish.)
The traditional beverage of choice was, of course, a pint of beer or cider. I think I drank Diet Coke. Really!
Ever since then, I have often enjoyed a ploughman’s style lunch. It’s quick, simple and tasty. It is also perfect for a hot summer day since no cooking is required and it takes advantage of the season’s fresh vegetables.
I just stick to the basics—cheese (in this case both cheddar and a garlic/onion cream cheese), crusty bread (this is a slice of Italian leftover from dinner the night before, and a 9-grain loaf slice), veggies from the farmer’s market, marinated olives from the same Italian dinner, and a dill pickle wedge. You can mix it up any way you like—just pick your favorites!
Too bad I didn't have any Toffee Crisps around for dessert. Oh well...