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Cooking, early-mid 20th Century


Bubble and squeak with that old-fashioned taste

Based on watching my older family cook in my childhood

The original 'Bubble and Squeak'

Bubble and squeak is the name given to a fry up of vegetables and other leftovers from a roast meal. In the past when British families had a large roast beef joint on Sundays, extra vegetables were always cooked so that the meal on Monday washday would be an easy one.

Vegetables, sausages and stuffing for bubble and squeak

Roast parsnips, roast sweet potato, sausages, stuffing and various vegetables cut up ready for frying into bubble and squeak.

The name 'Bubble and Squeak'

Presumably the name 'bubble and squeak' came from the noise that the vegetables made while they were frying.

Vegetables for bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak was generally regarded as delicious - but that was almost certainly because of the ingredients that went into it. I like to think that my bubble and squeak is just as good.

There is no recipe as such because it is largely a matter of using up leftovers - but read on for the best way of doing so.

The taste of cooked vegetables fried in vegetable oil is nothing like my bubble and squeak. My bubble and squeak has the following distinguishing features. For me, no bubble and squeak would be complete without left-over roast parsnips and roast sweet potatoes. There must of course be other vegetables, but it doesn't really matter which ones. Likely ones are any that go well with a roast meal, such carrots, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

You may be surprised that my list of vegetables does not include cold roast potatoes. Superb as they are when just roasted and accompanying a roast meal, I don't use them in bubble and squeak as the skins go rubbery when cold and do not fry well. Cold boiled potatoes do work well, although they do not form part of my roast meals.

Additions for a tastier bubble and squeak

Strictly speaking, bubble and squeak is only bubble and squeak if it contains only ready-cooked vegetables and the fat in which they are fried. I get a wonderful taste, though, with three and possibly four further ingredients, the first three cut up into bite-size pieces:

Tasty as my gravy is, I do not include it because the ingredients do not fry well if damp. There is no reason, though, why reheated gravy cannot be added at the end of the cooking, although, for me, the meal would then no longer be bubble and squeak.

How to cook the bubble and squeak

Bubble and squeak could not be simpler or quicker to cook because all the hard preparation was done previously for the roast meal. Just cut up the solid ingredients into bite-size pieces and fry in the dripping until crisp and hot, turning occasionally.

How to serve bubble and squeak

Serve piping hot when just crisping.

Let people add any gravy themselves as it is a matter of taste whether gravy enhances or spoils true bubble and squeak.

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