Abigail Rogers Young who runs Picture Britain writes: This would be one of those snigger-behind-your-hand British/American language differences. I’m sure that you Brits simply live for the look on your American friends’ faces when you say, “Oh yes, we’re having faggots and mushy peas for lunch. Oh, some mash as well, and we’ll cover the whole thing in gravy!”
This traditional British dish (also known as “savoury ducks”) seems to have been concocted for the purpose of using up absolutely every part of a pig that you would never eat otherwise, and was especially popular with the rationing of World War II. The “good old-fashioned way” to make faggots is with a pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring, and sometimes bread crumbs. The mixture is shaped into balls, wrapped with caul fat (the omentum membrane from the pig’s abdomen), and baked. Tasty, innnit?
So, my non-British friends, if you want to impress your dinner guests with your expertise in international cuisine, really make them wonder, or just want to gross them out, here is the recipe for British faggots (and please don’t forget the marrowfat peas!).
I have eaten this dish for lunch at countless pubs all over the UK and can assure you that it’s infinitely more tasty than it sounds like. But I’m Norwegian and we eat a lot of strange things here as well
It has never been picked as much berries in Norway as during the German occupation during WWII. The cranberry traffic by trains, busses and lorries was legendary. It was strictly regulated by date and it resulted in regular migrations when the traffic took place. Inspectors, jokingly called “cranberry police” made sure that there were no false starts. And if you were caught red handed, your berries were ruthlessly confiscated and you were fined.
This is not just a story of hard times, rationing and food shortages. It is also a story about Norwegians’ deep love for cranberry jam. Whatever they managed to get hold of for Christmas dinner during the war, they would at least see to it that there was cranberry jam on the table.
A lorry about to take off for the cranberry picking and as you
can see from the pictures it was mainly a man’s job.
It was just Cranberry that were submitted to date regulation. you could pick all other berries when it suited you. Cloudberries were obviously the very jewel in the crown. It could not be date regulated because it matured at different times. But picking unmatured cloudberries was totally forbidden then as now. Stories sirculated about people that allegedly went out on the cloudberry marshes with a scythe cutting down the cloudberry bushes and cleaning them for unmatured cloudberries. It did hardly ever happen, but such stories were still told with horror and disgust.
All cloudberry pickers, then as now, amateurs as professionals pickers, know that there is no point in picking unmatured berries all you are left with are useless hard seeds.
Professional cloudberry pickers
Just as surely as autumn came, came stories about bears having been seen on the cloudberry marshes. As a rule, these storries were a pack of lies and merely intended to intimidate people from embarking on the marshes to pick cloudberries. Such fantasy animals was usually called “Cloudberry Bear”.