Ploughman’s Lunch is a a very British and extremely popular pub lunch item. A meal consisting of cold meats, cheese, bread, pickle and of course, beer. It’s like a picnic on plate.
All week I’ve been bringing you the recipes that make up the Ploughman’s lunch. First this week was English pickle relish, then English pickled onions. As you can see, there’s been a lot of pickling going on around here! Now, it’s time to learn about what makes a Ploughman’s lunch and where it came from…
What’s in a name?
First, a little history lesson. In typical British fashion, the origin has much been debated. Only dating back to the 1960’s (which is really new by British standards!), it is said that it was devised as a marketing tactic by the English Cheese and Milk Marketing Board to promote the sale of cheese in pubs. However, it was also mentioned in the 1837 book Memoirs of the life of Sir Walter Scott by John G. Lockhart, but it was a very vague reference as ‘a lunch for a ploughman.’ So nothing really ground-breaking for the history books, but historic nonetheless.
The necessary components
The components to the lunch are quite specific, there must be a couple of semi-hard cheeses, English of course. Bread, ham and some pickle elements like pickled relish and pickled onions. Secondary, optional items could be sausage rolls or a Scotch egg (a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, breaded and fried). Peppery radishes add a nice fresh crunch as well as celery and cherry tomatoes for a sweet colorful bite. You could also add English mustard. To drink? A nice, foamy ale or stout beer, of course. It is English after all.
The Ploughman’s lunch is a perfect meal to eat on a warm Summer day sitting outside of the pub on picnic benches enjoying the rare warm sun and drinking a nice cold (yes, we do drink it cold) beer to wash it all down. Cheers!
If you’ve tried this Ploughman’s Lunch or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from my readers!