Marmite is the only product in the world that people either completely love or absolutely detest. Two phrases that have never been uttered in human history:
"Yes, I'd go for another evening of waterboarding."
"Marmite's ok - I can take it or leave it."
There is no middle ground on the black tar, which is made from the chamber pot scrapings of Sauran. Though technically "yeast extract", its supporters tend to be people without souls who use it marinade kittens.
Originally the inspiration for the eggs in James Cameron's film Aliens, haggis is proof that the Scots will waste nothing when push comes to shove.
Haggis has become a rumor that sheep tell their misbehaving children, and needless to say contains all the sheep parts you generally wouldn't want to eat shoved into the sheep's own stomach. The irony!
Although it sounds like a horror movie, haggis is quite pleasant - especially when drowned with a few shots of Oban or Talisker scotch.
Balancing the nation's penchant for sausages, potatoes and double entendres, Toad In The Hole is nothing more than battered sausages and gravy. Toads and holes are mysteriously absent, but give some allure to what is basically Pigs In a Blanket Go Wild.
Check out the gravy - yet more thick, questionable lumpy sauce hiding the food underneath. Believe it or not, when it's done well, it's better than you'd think. Not that you could eat it with haggis.
Bonus tip: serve with a good IPA or room-temperature ale.
Growing up in England, I became distrustful of thick, gravy-like lumpy sauces and dressings, usually because they contained unidentifiable animal parts or other culinary surprises.
Branston Pickle meets all the criteria for dubious food, arriving in a darkened jar so whatever goes on inside remains private. It's the sort of jar you might suspect of dealing drugs to other condiments in your refrigerator.
The great surprise is that it's delicious and makes all types of other food better - it's like the dressing version of bacon. Salads, sandwiches, meats.... oh hell, cereals - it's all better with Branston. And you can get it here at Cost Plus.
Best described by Wikipedia as "The dish consists of chopped eels boiled in a spiced stock that is allowed to cool and set, forming a jelly," the Wiki editors show their consummate professionalism by failing to add "THE MOST DISGUSTING FOOD EVER CREATED - WHAT THE HELL WERE THE BRITS THINKING?".
Jellied eels have a texture that's somewhere between the slop served in movie prisons and the bile that Bishop pukes up at the end of Aliens. And the texture is the best part since the taste is reminiscent of month-old mozzarella balls mixed with snot.
Does anyone really eat this anymore? Anyone? Apparently so.
To feature randomly in other dishes when you're out of vegetables
This was common knowledge until the Brits discovered a third use: try to recreate the green mess that Gremlins leave behind when they see sunlight.
Occasionally, you might hear some justification about how homemade mushy peas are the only authentic type, but I can assure you this is horse shit. And not the type of horse shit used in many of these other recipes.
Bonus tip: mushy peas are great for faking vomiting or diarrhea at school or work.
"The first time I had spotted dick, I was really quite concerned. But I showed it to several other people who said it looked perfectly normal and I should enjoy it while it was still hot. My girlfriend had other ideas and seemed almost enthusiastic about sharing my spotted dick. I always recommend that you get as much spotted dick as you can!"
Ha ha ha. Needless to say, this is the country that treated Benny Hill like high art. It's a sponge pudding for God's sake.
The classic English trifle is actually a work of culinary genius. Any other recipe would just look like "a pile of food" if you threw it all together, but the trifle successfully pretends to be that way by design.
Sponge, jelly, custard, canned fruit - there's all kind of shit in here, and if you're a true Brit you'll try to make it all float on a half-bottle of sherry. Or Drambuie. Or Scotch. In any case, it masquerades as a dessert without anyone suspecting the likely alcoholism of the cook.
Bonus tip: if you drop it on the floor, just spoon it back into the bowl - nobody will know the difference.
More of a cult than a recipe, Irn-Bru is a revolting Scottish drink that is more popular than Coke or Pepsi in certain parts of the country.
To explain how completely weird this situation is, the best US-based analogy is Dr Pepper. Dr P's sales were 104mm cans in the US in 2009, while foreign sales were 2 cans, both of which were returned with profane notes attached. Inexplicably, apparently only Americans drink Dr Pepper, leaving everyone else confused.
The same is true of Irn-Bru but in reverse. They are also renowned for their hilariously controversial ad campaigns.