NONE MORE BLACK... 10/28/2009
The Black Pudding slices are the three round black things on the plate here.
it's time to address the elephant in the room. i'm not sure why it's taken me so long to mention this small element of Britishness, but i'm ready to spread the word today. yes ladies and gents, i'm ready to talk about: Black Pudding.
here in England, "Black Pudding" is a standard element of a hot breakfast meal (see first photo above). it's served the same way as, say, links of sausage might be served: with eggs, toast, bacon - whatever - on a plate, usually presented in round slices cut from a much larger "sausage".
it may be surprising, for those of you who've read my older posts, that i actually have no problem with the fact that Black Pudding is neither "pudding" in the American sense of the word, NOR in the British sense of the word (in Britain a "pudding" is a generic term for dessert, like you'd see at the top of a list of desserts available on a restaurant menu)... rather, my issue is with the ingredient list, which i have included above in the second photo. if you can't see the photo clearly, the ingredient list is:
Water, Cooked Pork Rind, Oatmeal, Pearl Barley, Dried Blood, Rusk, Flour, Pork Fat, Onion, Salt, Mixed Herbs, Pepper, and Yeast Extract.
there's only one ingredient that i didn't recognize, and that was rusk. i looked it up, and "rusk" is basically just hard, dry biscuit ground up. it's commonly used as a binding agent in sausages. of course i didn't have to look up "dried blood" to understand that item, but it led me to wonder:
what is Dried Blood bringing to the flavor party? why did it have to be dried before being added? also, isn't dried blood really more of a scab? and if blood generally tastes so good, why isn't it a key ingredient in more of our traditional foods?
after the ingredient list, the product label screams (in all caps) that the product CONTAINS GLUTEN. i would think that perhaps they may also want to put the "dried blood" part in all caps - but that's just me.
i bought Black Pudding for my British significant other because he loves the stuff - possibly even more than the bacon or egg part of breakfast. when i cooked the Black Pudding slices in the skillet, something just smelled wrong. it didn't smell like i was cooking food at all... and definitely not like anything suitable for human consumption. it was kinda like playing "Let's-throw-this-random-object-in-the-pan-and-see-what-heat-does-to-it."
far more disturbing was when my husband said: "Ahh, that smells SO good!"
i'll be the first to say "To each his own," but i definitely felt a little wave of nausea when he tried to give me a thank-you kiss after eating it.
kudos to the first person who gets my title reference ;)