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The Faggot

the faggots

Faggot you say? Ok, so that title might seem at worst rather offensive and at best clickbait, but this article is about the famous British dish known as faggots, not the rather offensive American English slur for a homosexual. I’m glad we cleared that up!

Table of Contents

What is a faggot?

Faggots are a kind of meat ball/meatloaf dish that originated in the UK in the 1700’s. It traditional uses offcuts and offal to make the meatballs, usually with pork, but with beef and other varieties available.

It is particularly popular in the south-west of England and south Wales. In Yorkshire and Lincolnshire they are inexplicably called ducks. Funnily enough in China duck is a euphemism for a male prostitute.

Why was it invented?

The faggot is another one of those traditional poor people foods. The main concept being eating everything from head to tail, ala waste nothing. This means they were particularly popular during times of rationing.

You will still see butchers throughout the UK serving up their own variations of the faggot.

What’s in a name?

Obviously the name draws sniggers and I can remember it causing mucho hilarity as a child, such as amusingly saying your classmates favourite food was “faggots”. It was the 80s don’t judge, I have honestly grown up since then. It is not known how it got the name, although it genuinely has no relation to the usage derived from American English. That being said British supermarket Sommerfields got into trouble for running an add with a guy saying he “has nothing against faggots, I just don;t fancy them”. They were fined.

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How to serve faggots?

They traditionally come with gravy and onions. Regional variations like to add peas to the mix. If you eat them at home they would come as a part of a meal, not the meal itself. I remember eating them with boiled potatoes and vegetables as kid.

In  fish and chip shops

I have previously written about how to eat Fish and Chips. One of the most interesting things about fish and chip shops is how they vary from region to region. They are often served with gravy and chips in the chippers of the south-west of England and south Wales. They are not very common in the south-east of England where I grew up.

Mr Brains Faggots

What actually reminded me of faggots was seeing Mt Brains Faggots at Angkor Market in Siem Reap. This is the main brand of mass produced beef faggots. I purchased some and duly cooked them up in the microwave. Anything done in the microwave doesn’t beat fresh, but it was good hearty food with gravy. Gravy makes everything better.

Will they change their name?

Uncle Ben’s famously had to change their name recently. There are arguments for and against this, arguments that I am very happy to stay out of. When it comes to this word though there is a really interesting episode of South Park that deals with the changing meaning of words, such as this one! Watch it if you get the chance.

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Whether this particular dish will be made to change its name, or not is hard to say. There are protests now about statues of people. Keep in mind we are not just talking about Confederate officers, but also people like Gandhi!

For now though at least, the faggot remains a popular dish in the UK, for now at least.

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