ENGLISH TOAD IN THE HOLE: OLD WORLD PUB & COMFORT FOOD
Imitation Toad in the Hole
If you enjoyed a piece of toast with a hole in the middle and egg in the hole, you just had an American Toad in the Hole, which is nothing like the wonderful English comfort food that goes by the same name. The imitation makes a great quick breakfast, or even supper but any Old World pub owner would be appalled!
The Real Thing: English Toad in the Hole
A traditional English Toad in the Hole is a Yorkshire pudding batter with English sausages (bangers) peeking out of the batter like toads peeking out of a mire. Hey what is a mire, anyway? Much less a quagmire. Ooook….. well it’s a soft area of swamp, marsh, or bog. Seriously. Use your imagination. Can’t you see those toadies peeking up through all that? Lovely thought. The English seem to enjoy quirky names for traditional dishes: Bubble ‘n Squeak, Jellied Eels, Angels on Horseback, and the list goes on, in which the title has no bearing on the ingredients. So: No actual bubbles, eels or angels; and no toads here.
The Age of Perfection Over Comfort Food
Aaah but now we have the age of photo perfect food – if food is for comfort it is often more for picture perfect eye comfort rather than nostalgia and taste. Some want their Toad in the Hole to be the picture of perfection. But when it looks like that, now I can no longer imagine the toads, or their hole or their quagmire. (I kind of like that word. It grows on you.) But it DOES make a nicer picture. As long as it is just as delicious!
So what makes it delicious? The type of sausage is very important. English sausages, known as bangers, are long, plump, and distinctively different than anything we here in the U.S. have in our typical markets. But never fear. Balson Bangers is England’s oldest sausage butcher, turning out these succelent sausages since 1515 and they now sell their own brand at Costco. Check here for locations that sell them. Consequently, we “colonists” can now duplicate the old style English dish. With authentic sausages slightly pre-cooked, a preheated pan, no oven peeking, and an easy recipe like ours, you can turn out pub food with the best of them. Serve them with onion gravy and a side of peas, of course.
If you live in Lancaster county you might get a taste of a Yorkshire Pudding or an occasional Toad in the Hole at one of several local English pubs like Whip Tavern.
But we think you can do it yourself.
“Give it a go, mate.”