You may recall that in a previous post I alluded to an intriguingly titled dessert item which I spied on a restaurant menu. I may have told you how funny it sounded, but I don’t believe I gave you its name. Well, my friends, it’s now time to spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag and other assorted metaphors.
To recap, I am in a hotel recovering from yet another of my Aga and Rayburn demonstrations. I do love doing these demos, but I do realise that there is something inherently peculiar about them. Picture the scene: a large invited audience in an Aga Cook Shop, a painfully dapper and handsome fellow is talking customers through the different functions of the ovens he is demonstrating. He’s guldering in a half Norn Irish, half London accent with the same enthusiasm with which Barbara Streisand belts out a show tune. In a weird way, he looks and sounds like a trolley dolly explaining safety procedures to passengers.
“The heat indicator is located here, the Boiling Plate here, Roasting Oven here and, in the unlikely event of an emergency, exits are located here, here and here.”
Well, that’s me. Look out for me in your nearest Aga Cook Shop sometime soon.
So, I’m in the hotel which shall remain nameless. Oh, who am I kidding? It was the Holiday Inn, Junction 7, M6. I’m in the restaurant, perusing the menu when something takes me quite by surprise (right now I am desperately resisting the urge to make Carry On style innuendoes – a pretty impressive feat when you know what’s coming next). One of the offerings on the menu leaps out at me. It is nestling in the dessert section, somewhere between cheesecake, ice cream and all the other regulars.
Sticky Richard, it says.
Yes, Sticky Richard.
At first I laugh. I once had a flatmate called Richard (not he of mashed potatoes fame), and for some reason I immediately think of him. I have a mental image which makes me laugh out loud. Better be carefull, this Richard is a lawyer now.
But I’m puzzled. Bemused. Perplexed. Whichever term you prefer.
Whatever is Sticky Richard, I think to myself. I’ve been in the home economics game a fair while so I’ve been around the chopping board a few times, but I’ve never come across such a thing.
And then my business instinct kicks in. Whenever you run your own business you are constantly on the hunt for fresh ideas and, rightly or wrongly, new ways to make money. If Sticky Richard takes off, would I want to include the recipe in one of my cookbooks?
I can’t take any more of this. I call the waiter over to my table.
“Are you ready to order, sir?” he asks. I have to say that he is exceedingly polite.
“Oh yes, yes. But first of all, can I ask a question?”
“Of course, sir. How can I help?”
“Well, this might sound strange, but I’m curious about one of the items on the menu.”
I point to it. I’m not sure whether to say it out loud, lest I should accompany it with a glorious “Oooh Matron!” in my best Kenneth Williams voice.
“Ah yes sir, that’s our new name for Spotted Dick.”
Goodness only knows why they changed the name. If they were doing it because of the unpleasant connotations of the original title, then why did they plump for something just as vulgar?
Whilst I tucked into my Sticky Richard / Spotted Dick, I found myself thinking of how many other foodstuffs now have double meanings. It seems that if somebody wants to make an innuendo the first thing they reach for is the grocery basket.
Those of a more demure and sensitive disposition might want to turn away now…
So, if we can’t have Spotted Dick does this mean we will also have to do away with tarts (especially the French kind) and fairy cakes? We probably can’t have melons and we should veer away from stewed plums.
We most definitely cannot have toad in the hole and as for a knickerbocker glory, well…
As an aside, a few years ago, a family of four in England won a competition to promote a particular brand of faggots – that would certainly not fly in our sensitive modern age. They wore Miss World style sashes with “The Faggot Family” (ahem) written on them. The less said about that the better, I think.
And with that, it’s time for me to sign off. I’m off to wash my mouth out with soap.