“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well, What Did We Eat Today?

I'm so glad you asked.

This morning I went for a troll round the shops with Sis, who had a few errands to run. She's organising a school reunion and we went around various places trying to get people to put up flyers. First place we stopped was the local neighbourhood store, where I bought two Drifter bars.
We put those in a safe place for later.
After going to various places we realised it was almost 12:00, so we went out to our old favourite, Planter's restaurant inside Tenterden Garden Centre. I indulged in the cold pork, applesauce and bubble & squeak special, while Sis had the Ham Ploughman's. I drank a peppermint tea while she had a Diet Coke.

Afterwards we headed up to Gibbet Oak Farm Shop and had a wander around in there, and nibbled a few samples. Their freshly picked black cherries were amazing. Sis bought some. She also purchased four lovely fruit scones.

There is a lot of debate about the proper pronunciation of the word 'scone'. Is it scone rhyming with gone or scone rhyming with phone? Well, I think the answer lies in this joke:
Q: What's the fastest cake in the world?
A: 'Scone!

See? Only works one way.
Later, at home, we had a mid-afternoon snack, consisting of our Drifter bars, a scone each, and some chilled Dandelion & Burdock.
Dande-hoo and Bur-what? you cry.

Dandelion and burdock is a traditional British soft drink, drunk in the British Isles since about 1265. Traditionally it is made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots, and is naturally fizzy.
There have been a small number of stories concerning its origin, most now widely considered to be apocryphal. One notable example has it that St. Thomas Aquinas, after praying for inspiration for a full night, walked from his place of prayer straight into the countryside and, "trusting in God to provide", concocted the drink from the first plants he encountered. It was this drink that aided his concentration when seeking to formulate his theological arguments that ultimately culminated in the Summa Theologica.
Dandelion and burdock shares a historical origin with a number of drinks originally made from lightly fermented root extracts, such as root beer and sarsaparilla. They were included for a supposed health benefit. The dominant flavour in these other drinks is usually sassafras or wintergreen, both now derived artificially rather than from the plant itself, in part because during the 1960s safrole, the major component of the volatile oil of sassafras, was found to be carcinogenic. All of these drinks, while tasting similar, do have their own distinct flavour. Dandelion and burdock is most similar in flavour to sarsaparilla. The drink has recently seen an increase in popularity after previously poor sales.
A dandelion and burdock drink is likely to contain several ingredients common to similar drinks including carbonated water, sugar (provided by high-fructose corn syrup in America), manloid colourings, possibly phosphoric acid, citric acid and Dandelion and Burdock extract natural flavouring.
The "dandelion and burdock" drink for sale in many retail outlets rarely contains either plant. The retail drink is often carbonated, containing artificial sweeteners and flavourings. However, the one we had was a Fentiman's, and theirs is naturally made from a traditional recipe. Here, from their website, is a list of the ingredients in the Dandelion and Burdock.

Pear Juice concentrate
Glucose Syrup
Dandelion & Burdock flavour
Dandelion Strong Infusion
Burdock Strong Infusion
Aniseed Flavour

You really get the aniseed in the aftertaste. Sis said 'ooh, there's a hint of liquorice in this'. It's lovely, a true taste of childhood. I remember in Bowketts, the bakery where my Grandma used to work, they sold this drink alongside the Cresta and Vimto.

Ah, memories.

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