The Code of the Woosters, Ch. 3, Part I
Chapter 3 Menu
- Potted-meat sandwich
- Fish (type unspecified)
Good grief it’s been ages since I cooked up any Wodehousian delicacies! Food, alas, continues to be more of a battle than a delight, but I’m making some ground in the area of being able to eat small amounts of things I recently couldn’t eat at all (fat, fiber, and fructose). This bodes well for sinking my teeth (so to speak) in the remaining foodstuffs of The Code of the Woosters.
Crumpets are one of those British delights that are rather vague in my head. I know they are a bakery item that you eat with tea, but that’s as far as I usually get. Turns out, they are the old-world ancestors of our English muffins, which of course makes sense. Unlike English muffins, though, they have holes all over (instead of just inside) and you don’t slice them in half. I think they’re also a big spongier, the better to absorb butter.
I’ve seen crumpets for sale occasionally in shrink-wrapped plastic, but suspicious of their bona fides and unable to find a nearby bakery turning the things out freshly, I decided to make them from scratch.
I refer to this incident as (spoiler alert) My Great Crumpet Misadventure. This took place a while back, but the mangled tuna tubes hanging on my pot rack keep it fresh in my memory.
The key to making crumpets is a crumpet ring, or similar round metal ring,which looks a bit like a large round cookie cutter. The purpose-made things are pricey here, but I found a cool DIY tip online: cut the top and bottom off of a tuna can and voilà: a perfect, basically free crumpet ring.
What the tip didn’t say, is that US tuna cans and UK tuna cans are different species. Yes, our tuna can tops come off easily with a can opener, but the bottoms are a single, smoothly bent piece that’s nearly impossible to cut. As is so often the case, I was doing my baking late at night and in a manic fit of determination, refused to give in. Wielding all the sharp implements in my arsenal (a frighteningly large arsenal, now I come to think of it), I eventually wrested the tuna can bottoms from the sides. The rings had one lovely, smooth side and one mangled, sharp, bent-up side, but one good side is good enough for me. I put the rings good side down in a pan and cooked up some crumpets.
I waffled between several internet recipes, and the results were somewhat short of spectacular, so I’m still on the lookout for a bakery where I can buy the real thing. But hey, any bread product slathered in butter and jam is bound to be delicious, right?
Yup. Pass me another crumpet.