Five Fascinating Nursery Rhyme Foods

Categories: Top Five

blackbirdpie.jpg
bloody marty mix
In the course of playing with several of my pint-size relatives this holiday season, it came to my attention how many children's nursery rhymes center around unusual, antiquated, or just plain bizarre foods. Here are my Top Five Fascinating Nursery Rhyme Foods.

5. Christmas Pie. I love the idea of a dessert that contains whole, intact plums (one of the most underused fruits in baked goods) just ripe for the pulling. I also love that Jack Horner was sticking bodily extremities into pies long before Jason Biggs.

4. Hot Cross Buns. When I was a kid, I thought hot cross buns were, well, a cross between sticky buns and cinnamons rolls: a dream breakfast treat dripping with cream cheese frosting and pecans. In reality, a hot cross bun is a far more staid sweet yeast roll flavored with currants that is traditionally served in England at Easter. And they cost more than a penny.

3. Blackbird Pie. Blackbirds encased in a buttery crust might not be so bad...if they were fully dead and cooked. Four and 20 singing fowl bursting out of my dinner, however, would scare the bejesus out of me and just might turn me off pie forever.

2. Pease Porridge. Pease porridge (a very thick pea soup flavored with ham) hot sounds good, but I'll probably skip the pease porridge cold and definitely any porridge nine days old.

1. Curds and Whey. This dish always sounds more glamorous than "cottage cheese," its nearest real-life equivalent. Little Miss Muffet's parents must have been particularly cruel cheese-mongers: Why else would a child have to consume slimy dairy solids separated from the stinky liquids while being preyed upon by hungry arachnids?

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trisch
trisch

On a recent transpacific flight, I watched a show where blackbird pie was on the menu. Wikipedia's synopsis is better than anything I can come up with: "British experimental chef Heston Blumenthal attempted to create the dish for episode 5 of his Channel 4 TV series "Heston's Medieval Feast". Upon discovering that blackbirds were a protected species in the UK, he switched the recipe to pigeon. The pie and pie lid were cooked separately and allowed to cool. The live pigeons were inserted only moments before presentation. Initial attempts resulted in the pigeons refusing to fly out. This was solved by using trained homing pigeons to fly to their cages suspended in the ceiling, whereupon they defecated on the celebrity diners beneath."

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