Back onto my hobbyhorse to have another gallop around championing British cooks, British food and British cuisine! The idea that Britain was a place where all food was terrible and badly cooked, uninteresting and boring only rescued by various sunny Mediterranean cooks who brought garlic to these shores is just wrong, plain wrong. My grandma who left school when she was thirteen, used garlic on her cooking, something she no doubt learned from her mum who was born in the 1860’s… the 1860’s, only fifteen or so years after Eliza Acton published her ‘Modern Cookery’ recipe book.

Eliza cooks with all sorts of ingredients we think of as modern, for example she extols the taste of what she calls chorissa but is obviously what we know as chorizo – “a peculiar kind of smoked sausage”. This is how she describes it: “an accompaniment to boiled poultry, &. It seems to be in great part composed of delicate pounded meat, intermingled with suet and with a small portion of some highly-cured preparation, and with herbs or spices which impart an agreeable flavour.”

Certainly we at home always have some chorizo in the fridge, it’s so useful in all sorts of ways, enhancing so many dishes! This is how Eliza directs the home cook to use it, with the sort of rice you would cook for a curry:

Drop the chorissa into warm water, heat it gently, boil it for about twenty minutes, and serve it surrounded with rice prepared as for currie. it will be found very good broiled in slices after the previous boiling; it should be cold before it is again laid to the fire. In all cases it will, we think, be found both more easy of digestion and more agreeable if half-boiled at least before it is broiled, toasted or warmed in the oven for table. It is good addition to forcemeat and pounded savoury preparations, if used in moderation.

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