I know what you’re thinking - we’re about five minutes into 2022 and you’re already popping up in my inbox trying to spread joy and merriment when I’m still struggling to get over the fact I’m already back at work… That may well be the case, but why don’t you grab a coffee, carve out a few minutes of your day and settle into today’s edition?
💡 Store Cupboard Staples x Combinations That Shouldn’t Work, But Just Do… 💡
The festive period means different things to different people, but one experience that’s almost universal is the sensation of having time - time to slow down, to reflect back on the year gone and to project forwards into the one ahead. It all sounds very prosaic and if you did manage to do any of those things, then I applaud you, but for most, filling that time can lead them down some fairly unexpected rabbit holes…
Personally, I used this time to explore the condiment cupboard whilst rustling up all manner of different holiday sandwiches. Whilst initially comforted by a familiar array of friendly faces - various mustards, slowly greying pickles, and so on - one thing I wasn’t ready for was the sight of Branston Smooth Pickle. At once, reassuringly familiar but disconcertingly different, its gelatinous texture sent alarm bells ringing in my mind as I lamented the absence of the hallowed chunks that have come to define one of the ultimate store cupboard staples.
This experience got me thinking - how had other classic condiments evolved over time and how would history come to judge them? Were these evolutions the product of crass commercialisation or borne of genuine consumer insights and public intrigue? The answers deserve a research paper in themselves, but I’ll let you tell me what you think of these standout combinations and collaborations…?
🕵️ Who Knew That Was The Story Behind?! 🕵️
If checking out the retro BBC News link from the year 2000 got you thinking about all of the delicious meals you could have enjoyed your green ketchup with but never did, allow me to recommend one that stands head and shoulders above the rest for me - fish and chips.
Winding the clock back to the 16th Century, the act of frying fish in oil and flour was reputedly brought to England by Sephardic Jews fleeing Spain and Portugal at the time. With cooking not allowed on the Shabbat, the fish was often prepared on Friday and eaten cold on Saturday. Come the early 1860s, two entrepreneurs unknowingly laid claim to creating Britain’s first fish and chip shop - John Lees in Mossley, Lancashire and Joseph Malin in London. Whilst no one is quite sure who got there first, it’s even more of a mystery as to how the two elements of this classic pairing - fish and chips - were first combined.
Such was the importance of fish and chips to the UK population during the 1900s, it was one of the few foodstuffs not rationed by the government during the two World Wars, with supplies protected and George Orwell going so far as to claim its continued presence “averted revolution”.
Whilst the industry is not without its blemishes, namely through overfishing and its contribution to declining cod stocks, it is undoubtedly one of the UK’s staples.
Whilst chippies peaked at over 35,000 in the 1930s, they still number over 10,000 today, almost ten times the volume of McDonald’s outlets for comparison.
Now that we’ve covered all that, the only question left to discuss is what you’ll be having yours with? Check out this map detailing regional preferences for inspiration, ranging from pickled onions up in Edinburgh to mushy peas in Manchester.
📒 Recipes 📒
For better or for worse, January often sees people laying a little low, hibernating and finding their way slowly into the new year. With that comes plenty of time to get in the kitchen, explore new recipes and churn out some delicious winter warmers. Here are a few to get you going:
- Thomasina Miers’ root gratin with anchovy cream and breadcrumbs
- Vegan Mushroom Wellington
- Fish and chips for two
It’s a pleasure to be back, so please do keep your thoughts and feedback coming long into the new year.
Until next week,
PS. Don’t want to wait a whole week for our next edition? Check us out on Instagram (@wednesdaysdomaine) for your daily tipple.