Wednesday, 22 November 2006

(No) crouching Tiger, hidden dragon

In Laos recently I had to reassure nervous animal-loving tourists that Tiger Balm did not really contain any parts of tigers - but now I see that the UK's Trading Standards Office objects to spicy "Welsh Dragon sausages" because they don't contain dragons! Curiously they appear to think that vegetarians might believe these don't contain meat, which I find a bit odd, but their main concern is that the type of meat used should be specified - i.e. they aren't actually insisting the dragon designation be removed so much as that "pork" should be added.

Now people are wondering whether it will be necessary to rename "toad in the hole" (sausages in batter - no toads!), fairy cakes, "pigs in blankets", etc. and I can think of a number of Belgian/French dishes that would have to go, such as "oiseaux sans tĂȘte" (headless birds - or "paupiettes de veau", veal escalopes rolled up around a stuffing and secured with a toothpick") and "bras de gitane" (gipsy's arm), which in the UK is called a Swiss roll.

In fact, as I doubt that Swiss roll has anything to do with Switzerland, I am surprised the Trading Standards Office hasn't also addressed the accuracy of national designations like Danish pastry (also known as a Belgian bun!), which I believe is known as a Viennese pastry in Denmark and Wienerschnitzel/escalope Milanaise... French toast is an American dish, unknown in France, and is neither French nor toasted. "Filet américain", on the other hand, is a Belgian dish consisting of raw minced/ground beef (as used for hamburgers, hence the "American" designation - but should hamburgers be called after Hamburg anyway?) mixed with mayonnaise, herbs and spices. Similarly, "lait russe" or Russian milk is the Belgian name for what is essentially a caffe latte: I believe it is named after the type of glass it is served in, which is the sort used in Russia to serve TEA! At any rate, it is not made from Russian milk! So it would certainly not pass muster with the British trading standards people.


At 23/11/06 02:57, Blogger Stu said...

What an ace set of examples you have recalled! Had me tittering.

I remember as a young kid we went to France to meet our Dad's friend and his kids. We thought we'd play French Cricket since they obviously invented it... as you would by now expect, they'd never heard of it.

At 26/11/06 05:50, Blogger Mridula said...

I enjoyed your examples a lot!


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