fun with british cuisine: the amazing adventures of bubble and squeak

don’t bubble and squeak sound like two adorable and mischievious muppet-like cartoon characters who gallivant about the english countryside and innocently find themselves stuck in amusingly entertaining situations? i’m making myself try every new dish i see on a menu here in london, which meant a heaping plate of faggots with bubble and squeak at a pub last sunday.

here’s what i learned. bubble and squeak is actually a sort of hash brown-like rectangularish patty of leftover mashed potatoes and myriad other vegetables. it’s thought that the origin of the name might be from the sounds made when one makes the dish. i kind of like this idea. what i REALLY like is the name of a similar dish of leftovers from the scottish borders called, no joke, rumbledethumps. i couldn’t make this stuff up if i tried.

rumbledethumps is obviously the mean, furry, 8 foot tall ogre living in a cave in bonny scotland that terrorizes poor bubble and squeak until they learn that the poor guy is just misunderstood and all he wants in life is friends to sit with him in his dark damp cave and share a cuppa tea.  perhaps on another adventure, the impetuous explorers bubble and squeak encounter the lovely but cursed swedish princess pyttipanna and save her from an unknown but obviously terrible fate.  in case you haven’t figured it out already, pyttipana is another virtually identical dish in sweden which literally translates to ‘leftovers in pan.’ whooo, new career as writer of children’s-books-based-on-bizarrely-named-european-dishes, here i come!

oh and in case you were wondering, faggots are meatballs. usually made out of offal, in this case made out of pork liver and belly. and in case you’re also wondering, the faggots will not make an appearance in the children’s story. here’s a visual of all of the above, plus peas.


speaking of peas, my first fish and chips dish in the UK came with a side of mushy minty peas. they tasted exactly as advertised.


served on newspaper? check. homemeade tartar sauce? check. a monstrous fried thingy that looked remarkably like fried cuy aka guinea pig? check. hot, greasy, and fantastically delicious? check, double check.


speaking of checking, kickass czech beer abounds in london. here’s me and my dave, a friend from nyc and new companion for edible excursions, downing some staropramen like champs.


thanks to dave we also sampled champagne truffles (wooo shot of alcohol), a bar of 100% cocoa (a complex taste sort of like coffee…and dirt) and a straight up all-out british breakfast. bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms, poached eggs, and surprise! fries! we were not informed of the presence of fries on the menu, but who doesn’t enjoy surprise fries?


NOM NOM NOM. well done so far, london. absolutely cracking. definitely the bees knees. more eating to come…

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7 thoughts on “fun with british cuisine: the amazing adventures of bubble and squeak

  1. Amit says:

    As soon as DFed takes you out for doner kebabs, it’s game over.

    “Doner.” lulz.

  2. annie says:

    mmmm. beans.

  3. DFed says:

    I do love the doner.

  4. canelvr says:

    Welcome to London! You’re doing well so far, although I’d say that chips served with breakfast technically makes it brunch, so you might want to have another go…

  5. Emily says:

    Wow. All looks fantastic esp the fish and chips

  6. doktorious says:

    WOW! I wish I was there downing chiggity czech beer with you. reading this makes me miss you soo much more!!! and hungry. i’ve turned my whole office onto this blog, so, you’re, like, huge in Albany. Hayo!

  7. ABrummieInLondon says:

    Ah, the only mistake here is the breakfast.
    Noone has fries with it. Occasionally hash browns but never fries.
    There is no cooked tomato.
    There is no black or white pudding.
    And personal preference dictates it has to be fried or scrambled egg. Poached egg is way too healthy for a full English.

    I hope at some point you managed to stumble across a TRUE Irish pub, though I am yet to find one in London. Birmingham has some amazing ones where they serve up Coddle (a sort of sausage stew), Skink (a type of broth) and potatoes any which way you can imagine.
    Some of the friendliest pubs you can find, noone in them will let you go hungry or thirsty. Generous people, generous portions. And they know how to pull a pint of Guinness properly.

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