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May 13, 2005

Pub food

Visitors to England should understand there is pub food and then there is pub food. My first ever visit to the Eagle and Child was a pleasant surprise in that they serve the latter. Pub food consists of gentrified, idealized roasts and a broad variety of ales and bitters - often marketed for their organic genesis - and is generally served at London prices. Pub food, by contrast, is more of a home cooked affair involving local vegetables and heated up pies and all sorts from the frozen food section. The latter is often a bit of a shock to people from abroad and may be part of the reason for lingering impressions of British cuisine and post-war rationing. Now, being of the champagne socialist disposition in many matters of taste and lifestyle I enjoy my foods gentrified and organic. But there is something indisputably authentic about finding real pub food even if it tends to the salty and not very nice. Hence my surprise at finding pub food at the Bird and Baby. I had assumed the place would be overrun with Inklings fans and legions of folks trying to channel Frodo and Co. at the Prancing Pony. Not a bit of it. It remains a local pub. Whatever the merits of the steak and ale pie the Old Hooky bitter was better than any skunky Canadian lager and would almost certainly have met with hobbitish approval. It comes in pints.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 13, 2005 07:24 PM

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