Friday, August 15, 2008

Britain's Really Disgusting Food

Last night I watched Britain's Really Disgusting Foods on BBC3, wherein the host, Alex Riley, searches for the most disgusting thing he can eat - legally - in the UK. Personally, I think that's quite a challenge because there is a lot of fucking nasty British food out there.

The programme turned out to be more than just the presenter pointing at food and lamenting, "ewww"; it was quite political and discovered that manufacturers have ingenious ways of transforming horrible ingredients - such as "beef connective tissue" - into something that looks and tastes like food.

The winner was Scotland's own McKechnie Jess "bangers with beef" (i.e. sausages). To be fair though, who the hell doesn't already know that sausages are crammed full of everything but genuine meat?! Surely everyone knows by now that sausages and cheap meat byproducts consist more of grounded up bones and ligaments than they do edible and "healthy" meat, right?!

Suffice to say, it was one of the few times that I felt like a smug pescetarian (ugh, I hate political labels) and thought, "thank fuck I find meat repulsive".

While I agree with the programme that the actual ingredients are totally disgusting, most people who eat cheap sausages, actually like the taste. While the ingredients - in principle - are nasty, I would argue that there are more disgusting British foods out there. Namely: beans on toast.

I ate beans on toast once (when I was an exchange student at Glasgow University) against my better judgement, when I was persuaded that it tasted good. Even just looking at beans on toast put me off (it looks like puke). I don't care if you try to "posh them up" a la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (who shouldn't be trusted anyway because every weekend his recipes in the Guardian make me gag at the sheer thought of them), they are still gross. Probably even moreso.

So, forget cheap sausages, based on taste alone, I nominate beans on toast and custard (gross!) as my choice for Britain's most disgusting food.

And while we're on the subject, beans for breakfast is just weird.


David T. Macknet said...

Awww, feel sorry for the weggies: they just don't know how to make Boston Baked Beans properly. ;)

Anonymous said...

Haha, jesus Canada must have been chuffed to see the back of you.
Lighten up hen!

Squirmy Popple said...

I agree, beans do not belong in your breakfast.

David T. Macknet said...

I see you suffer from the 'Anonymous' blight as well. I usually just delete the bastard, under the understanding that he hasn't the balls to go public with who he is in making the snide comments, so I shouldn't have to give him any air-time on my blog. Schmuck.

Jennifer said...

Anonymous - really? seriously? You're going to go there? Are you that big a numpty to not get the tongue-in-cheek humour?

Katie - beans at breakfast is just plain weird.

Davimack - Meh, I just leave it for the rest of the readers to see how big am idiot he is; I'm not bothered in the least. Besides, I have their IP address and know that they are in Glasgow, use Firefox 2, and Windows XP and are a customer of Virgin Media.

David T. Macknet said...

Ahh, the power of tracking cookies and stat counters. ;)

We've got one from Glasgow, and one from somewhere down in England (have it written down, don't remember off-hand). For me, I delete them, primarily so that the family doesn't have to see them.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think what is really gross over here. Poutine is unusual, but I LOVE it, so that might be gross to others who have never tried it. :)

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one

Jennifer said...

JClapp75 - Poutine is DELICIOUS! I can't think of a gross Canadian food offhand either. Maybe Prairie Oysters (although I have never eaten them)?

And agreed - opinions are like assholes - I'll let you know when I want yours (anonymous)!

Anonymous said...

Poutine is indeed delicious. For a digusting North American food, along those highly-processed lines, I reckon you need look no further than "imitation cheese" and the products made with it. There must be many others, which as only an occasional visitor to Canada and the US I wouldn't be aware of.

"Disgusting" in the prairie oyster sense is something different, I think. They may no be your cup of tea, but they are what they are, and aren't masquerading as anything they're not.

It's not exactly "disgusting", but my Canadian mother-in-law eats a corn-syrup imitation of maple syrup on her breakfast pancakes. I've long thought of that as vaguely, you know, unpatriotic, especially given the breathtakingly delicious "real thing" she can pick up in rural Ontario.

Incidentally, for what it's worth, I reckon Hugh F-W's recipes are, for the meat-lover, about the best there are...

Jennifer said...

Wyatt Earp - not sure if this is imitation cheese, but I had soy cheese - that was pretty gross. Why not just eat the real thing?!

And I totally agree - "maple flavour" syrup is a bloody disgrace. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than the real thing though.

And Hugh Fearnly W's recipes (even the meat free ones) just make me angry.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Interesting to see what seems weird to one culture is the norm to others. I find eating smoked meat for breakfast grosse, but if I were in Germany I would simply say 'not for me, ta. pass the cornflakes' as a pose to effing my way towards expressing how disgusted I was about it.

I went on holiday to Tenerife who seemed to think that chips were a part of a full english breakfast!

As I said...'interesting'!

Oh and by the way....not bothered about people thinking I'm hiding behind the anonymous thing, I just don't wanna sign up to something only to be thanked by an inbox full of spam!

Anonymous said...

As an American, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes on a breakfast plate seems more like dinner food. We do like tomatoes and mushrooms in an omelette, but not by themselves. And those beans are not considered anything you'd want to eat often over here. They are out of a can, after all. If you went to dinner at someone's house and they served canned beans that would be weird-unless you were camping. Definitely a restaurant wouldn't have canned beans on the menu.
Also, the photos of all that fatty meat, big honkin' black mushrooms, and canned beans poured on top of it all; just not appetizing.
They way it's all arranged on the plate is not aesthetically pleasing-it's not even arranged, it's just dumped. Don't you want to at least slice those mushrooms? They're huge. And trim the fat off that ham...don't you want to do that? Are you going to eat all that fat-and wash it down with canned beans- (oh god, please)? You don't want to do that. How can you move after eating all that for breakfast? And where's your fruit? Is that hard to come by
over there? Re-think this, re-think this.

Jennifer said...

Oh my god, Anonymous. That made me laugh. And everything you said is true!