I didn't go to Great Britain with high hopes about the British cuisine. Was I expecting a wide array of Indian and other ethnic food? Yes. But good British food, not really. Well, for the most part, the Brits did some pretty good cookin', due much to the fact that they have warmly embraced fusion cooking (was it really a choice or more of a necessity?). However, a trip to a British restaurant or the grocery store will take you back to the old standby stereotypes.
Treacle and Spotted Dick.
A few days before this picture was taken Maria and I were eating at Wetherspoons, a popular UK pub chain. We weren't stuffed after our meal and thus, in the tradition of the trip, decided to get dessert to ensure we were adequately gorged. I ordered some chocolate ice cream concoction and Maria decided to be daring and order the Treacle Sponge. In retrospect, the name should have tipped us off to the badness of what was to come, but I guess it seemed intriguing at the time. At any rate, it turned out to be a big mistake and Maria suffered from 'treacle belly,' an ailment in which evil treacle releases its spongy rage on you, for the better part of the evening.
On my second to last day in the UK, we made a trip to the grocery store to stock up on Twinings tea, HP Sauce, and lemon marmalade. While strolling through the isle we saw the strange and disturbing pairing of treacle and spotted dick on the shelf. What does it all mean? Not really too sure. Luckily, Wikipedia has come to the rescue again and has informed me that spotted dick is "a steamed pudding, containing dried fruits, usually currants. The dessert is especially popular in the United Kingdom, usually served either with custard or with butter and brown sugar. Spotted refers to the currants (which resemble spots) and dick may be a corruption of the word dough. It is also known as spotted dog, plum duff, figgy dowdy, as well as plum bolster, and Spotted Richard." I'd say that the fact that it is also called 'Spotted Richard' kind of debunks their dough story, but what do I know. All I could learn about treacle is that it's just a word for molasses.
Moral of the story: don't eat treacle sponge and steer clear of spotted dick . . . although I'm guessing that won't be too much of a challenge.