With Christmas just around the corner here’s a handy gift option for all you fans of top quality British Fare. Battenberg Britain (by Nigel Cassidy and Philippa Lamb - Michael O'Mara Books) is a comprehensive guide to why the rest of the world looks perplexed when people say things like 'English nosh? Best in the bladdy world mate’, handily disguised as an ironic celebration of all things foody and nostalgic - so British people buy it.
The book takes its name from Battenberg Cake; a sickly sweet pink-and-yellow-sponge-wrapped-in-bright-yellow-almond-Playdoh-icing creation beloved of British grandmothers and people who prefer tea to coffee. I’m not a fan, but I do have some affection because a friend of mine had a ‘Battenberg or Ginger Cake?’ indie disco dance, so-called because his rotating hand twirling motion resembled a man offering sizeable portions of said weighty cakes to passers-by.
I’ll admit I haven’t read Battenburg Britain myself, but a casual look at the contents page on Amazon does read like a perfect shopping list for a very happy (though vitamin deprived) bad food-ophile like myself, which I suspect is the point… No mention of Mint Custard though which goes to show that some things are best done yourself.