Posted by: tabliope | December 14, 2008

hold the larks’ tongues

Henry VIII evidently enjoyed a meal of swan, goose, capon, duck, chicken and lark – each bird being stuffed into the larger one; over the last few days I've done this on a more leisurely basis – the only thing being stuffed was me.   Starting with goose on Wednesday evening, followed by duck on thursday evening, a pause on Friday and then onto turkey yesterday.  We had a slight detour from poultry with a invitation to brunch today but I'm topping it off with a chicken curry this evening.  Maybe it would have been easier to have eaten it all at once like Henry.

Wednesday evening's goose was served in the traditional german way with dumplings and red cabbage which felt wrong.  The dumplings aren't the ones we're used to eating in the UK – they're heavier, damper and are just the sort of thing that have served to give dumplings a bad name.  I'd have much preferred a roast potato and I suppose if you're going to go to the trouble of roasting a potato, why stop at one?  On duck evening, or thursday as some call it, I checked with my companions as to what would be accompanying my duck.  Dumplings, I was assured, because you can only serve dumplings with duck;  to do it any other way would be like toast without marmite, fish without chips, Marks without Spencer and would just be plain wrong.  Assembling my entire stock of courage and all my german language I faced down one german waiter and a tableful of my german friends and proceeded to order potatoes with my duck.  The world appears to still be turning and people are still speaking to me.  Sometimes you have to take a stand and arm yourself with a potato peeler.



  1. For a long time I used to idly wonder how they stuffed each bird into the next.  A lark up a chicken’s bottom is fair enough, but a chicken up a duck’s bum? No chance.
    I was quite disappointed when the obvious was pointed out to me.
    Well done on the spud front.

  2. I’m not sure how they did it either – is the obvious that they removed the bones?  

  3. I hope you start a trend. I’m sure there’s a time and a place for dumplings but I can’t quite think what it is.

  4. A good roast potato is sheer joy. Fluffycrispygoldencrunchymeltystarchy joy.

  5. I ate the best dumplings in my life in a cafe in Prague – they were golden, light, fluffy wonderful things.bobble -I couldn’t agree more.

  6. I’ve obviously only had bad dumplings. My apologies to good dumplings everywhere.

  7. A proper dumpling is a thing of wonder and joy (and very, very easy to make – so no excuse for the abominations you describe ..).  Damp, heavy balls of soggy, watery, lumpy suet should be called something else altogether, I reckon.  (Splunges?  Kersplats?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: