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The vice Guide To British Cuisine

When people come to visit me from America, I often take them to a place where there are these amazing standing stones. It's like Stonehenge, but bigger. This stone circle is so enormous that there's a village in the middle of it. It's called Avebury. I...
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Κείμενο Billy Bragg
1.12.05

When people come to visit me from America, I often take them to a place where there are these amazing standing stones. It’s like Stonehenge, but bigger. This stone circle is so enormous that there’s a village in the middle of it. It’s called Avebury. I always take American bands who came over to the UK there—everyone from Wilco to the Barenaked Ladies. Once an American friend of mine, his parents, and I went to Avebury. We stepped into the local pub there for dinner, and written right up on the specials board they had listed “faggots stewed in their own juice.” Then, under deserts, they had “spotted dick.” Two English favorites. My American friends were more impressed with the menu than anything the druids made. Maybe it will spoil it for all of you if I tell you what faggots really are, but I think it’s best to clear this up now. So tell me—would it spoil the joke for you if I told you that faggots are just meatballs? And actually, I’ve never even eaten them. I’ve had spotted dick though. It takes ages to clear up. No, no—spotted dick is just a pudding. Do you know what suet is? It’s kind of like a fatty pastry. Spotted dick is like that. One of the great things about living on this damp and cold island is that we have a real love of very stodgy puddings. They are a complete vice for us. The idea of a stodgy pudding with hot steaming custard on a winter’s night? Mate, nothing can be finer than that. And spotted dick is one of the greats. If there were a place you could go and just have spotted dick, I would be binging on it all the time. In Glasgow you can have a deep-fried pizza. They just fold it over and put it in the chip fryer. You can have a deep-fried haggis. Best of all, you can have a deep-fried Mars Bar. They just batter up a Mars Bar and fry it. Then you’ve got what they call “scrapes.” It’s a mess of leftover animal parts all fried up together. I was on tour once, going up the Mississippi Valley. We were on the tour bus, which is like being on a submarine: You never know where it’s going to surface. Whatever there is when you get out for a break, you’ve got to make the best of it. We ended up at a place in southern Illinois in the middle of the night. We walk in, there’s a guy standing behind the counter, and I ask him, “Have you got any hot food?” He takes the lid off of a steam tray in front of him and there it is—scrapes! He just points at it and says, “Them’s livers and them’s gizzards.” So to me there is a part of Illinois that is always Glasgow. Yep Roc just rereleased all of Billy’s early stuff. Get it from yeproc.com.