Bubble and Squeak: Hearty Mashed Potato Done Proper

Bubble and squeak, the breakfast dish made from cabbage and mashed potato
Thanks to BBC Good Food for the image.

Continuing on our look at quirky British comfort foods, here’s this one. It’s a type of mashed potato, but a squeakier version. Groovy.

What’s Bubble and Squeak?

It’s a breakfast dish that consists of cabbage and mashed potatoes. Its name derives from the squeaking noise the cabbage makes as it fries.

Maria Eliza Rundell (1745-1828) documented the recipe in writing for the first time in 1806. That was in A New System of Domestic Cookery.

Traditionally, English folks serve some sort of meat with the food. Such as sausages or bacon. But bubble and squeak is perfectly fine by itself, thank you very much.

These days, folks often cobble together the dish from leftover Sunday roast recipes. Don’t let anything go to waste, eh?

You can get ready-made versions, of course, but this is a comfort food you really should rustle up yourself, like.

What’s with all these dialectical English food names, eh? Whether it’s spotted dick or scotch eggs, we go for the quirky titles.

How to Make Bubble and Squeak

Gorgeous man bloke Jamie Oliver is there to tell you how to cook the thing.

But what about the ingredients? Well, you’re going to need some vegetables to make sure the thing is good to go. Source:

1 onion (and finely slice it)
1 garlic clove (and chop it up!)
15 or so Brussels sprouts (slice it!)
Leftover cabbage (shred it up)
400 grams of mashed potato

It’s really just a case of merging that lot together and then frying it. Difficult? No, even a halfwit could manage that.

The Joys of Mashed Potato

Mashed potato has a long and storied history in England. If you were a kid in the late 1980s, hit BBC kid’s show Bodger and Badger was all about the mash.

Written by, and starring, Andy Cunningham (who sadly died in 2017) it’s about Simon Bodger and his pet Badger (who loves mashed potato).

Cunningham actually turned up at our university in Nottingham back in 2005. It was a guest appearance as a sort of nostalgia trip.

His show ran from 1989-1999 and there were nine series and 124 episodes (one more than 123 episodes).

That’s how important mashed potato is here. Although not on the same level of national adoration as fish and chips, it’s still a mighty common foodie staple.

Bangers and mash, for example, is a big deal here. That’s mashed potato with sausages (the bangers bit) and gravy.

All some people eat is a full English breakfast, followed by bangers and mash for lunch, and then fish and chips for tea.

9 comments

  1. I think ‘bubble and squeak’ is what Mr Toad was fed by the prison guard’s daughter in ‘The Wind In The Willows’. Must admit my variant on the recipe involves more cabbage, boiled, more onion (also boiled), and lima beans (boiled). To be eaten in a carefully closed room. After an hour, nobody is allowed to light matches.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Wright. I accept that to some extent, but your specious reasoning is obvious. Mr. Toad is in Super Mario (see. Captain Toad) and (also boiled) are cabbages. Lima beans? LOL! No carefully controlled rooms (other than by God) and… okay, that effectively summarises everything. There may be one “m” too many in verb back there. Otherwise… yes! Hope you’re all good, sir!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mmmmm, I dunno!
    I make a veggie potato pancake, once in a blue moon. (from leftover baked potatoes)
    Although, I do like potatoes occasionally.
    Do you have some kind of potatoes with pot noodles recipe?

    Liked by 1 person

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