Dandy’s Spread


This morning, I managed my umpteenth pheasant focussing failure.

Saying this is surely simpler.

For lunch, Jackie drove us to Elizabeth’s at West End, where we had been invited to join the Mothering Sunday party.Mum, Elizabeth and Jackie

Present were three mothers: Jean, Elizabeth, and Jackie.Elizabeth, Mum and Derrick

Jean, of course, is the mother of both me and my sister,Mum, Elizabeth and Danni

who is the mother of Danni, our Mum’s granddaughter.

Danni and her partner Andy, now affectionately known jointly as Dandy, had, for Mothers’ Day, spent a great deal of time and effort in preparing quite the most splendid succulent roast beef dinner the rest of us had ever enjoyed. I am confident that even Jackie, whose culinary expertise is well known to my readers, would agree with me.Dandy's roast beef dinner

The spread was laid out on the circular kitchen table from where we helped ourselves, filling up our capacious plates and trying to make steady enough progress into the dining room to avoid having to eat any of our food off the spotless newly painted wooden floor.

The roast beef, potatoes, and parsnips were just as I like them; the gravy was full of goodies; there were tasty pigs in blankets (small sausages wrapped in bacon); the carrots, brussels sprouts, green beans, and sweet potato were suitably crisp; small button onions and whole cloves of garlic had kept the potatoes company in their roasting dish and naturally joined them on our plates. If you think I could have overlooked any elements of this magnificent repast, I suggest you click on the image above, and examine it closely.

After this we enjoyed lemon tart and apricot flan with cream. Plentiful cheese and biscuits were on offer later, because no-one could contemplate eating anything else immediately after the first two courses. Knowing I prefer bread to biscuits, Elizabeth had bought a very special crusty white loaf just for me. I was unable to cut into it, settling simply for a small square of mature cheddar.

Red wine, fruit juice, and Peroni were variously imbibed, and coffee was to follow for those who had room for it.

Much of the inevitable reminiscing has already been recorded in previous posts, but as is often the case when we have shared a good meal together, we spoke of other foods, calories, and dieting; and, in particular, what we had enjoyed as children. Mum, of course, could go back much further to her own 1920s childhood. One of her father’s favourite meals was tripe and onions. Tripe is the edible offal from the stomach of a cow, a pig, a sheep, or an ox. Although I’ve never tried it, I don’t think it tastes of much, although that of an ox appears to have the most flavour.


This illustration is of what is called the honeycomb type which comes from the animal’s second stomach. The counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire have differing methods of cooking it, viz:

‘Original Receipt in Marjory Houlihan’s ‘Tripe – A most Excellent Dish‘ (2011);

2 Spanish Onions
½ Pint milk
1½ lb pre-cooked tripe
1 oz flour
pinch nutmeg
1 oz butter
Peel the onions and stew them with the tripe, just covered with water, until tender. Drain, reserving half the pourings. Cut the tripe into pieces; chop the onions.
Melt the butter in a heat-proof dish and mix in the flour, slowly add the tripe and onion pourings.
Stir until boiling, add the milk, seasoning, tripe and onions, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve with toast. For four people.

1 lg dressed tripe
1 oz butter
1 lb sliced onions
1 oz flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsp grated cheese
½ pint each milk and water
Cut the tripe into bite-sized pieces and put into a saucepan with the onions, milk and water; season to taste.
Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for an hour, or until the tripe is tender.
Mix the butter and flour together, and when all the flour is absorbed break into small pieces and put into the tripe, stirring all the time until the liquid thickens.
Transfer to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and brown, either in the oven or under a hot grill.’

In our family this could have been interesting, for Grandpa Hunter was from Yorkshire, and Grandma from Lancashire.

 P.S. Inevitably I forgot something. I am grateful to Kate Loveton for mentioning the Yorkshire pudding.


  1. Being a dessert lover, I have to admit that my eyes hungrily focused on the lemon tart and apricot flan with cream! Oh my! Just typing those words makes me salivate!

    My best pal is British and regales me with visions of Yorkshire pudding – sounds like the best kind of comfort food to this American caught in the last throes of a long, cold winter. 🙂

  2. My husband was from Yorkshire and he would have loved a meal like that, replete of course, with the ubiquitous Yorkshire Pudding – which I never mastered the correct production of and which I also never liked 🙂 And he liked tripe – but never had that provided by me!

    It is lovely to see a most handsome three generations of family.

  3. Yes, the family is beautiful and what a lovely spread of food. I don’t know that I would have the gumption to try tripe! My father often spoke of the blood sausage they made during the Depression. And, being German (His family pioneered Illinois in the 1850s.), his parents ate tongue and sweetbreads…but their wimpy grandchildren made sounds of gagging whenever it was mention.

  4. What a spread. No better place for reminiscing than around the table. Interesting, I thought tripe was only eaten in Nigeria! It’s usually cut in small pieces like in your photo, and added to stews and (thick) soups. It’s known locally as shaki. Small world 🙂

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