Those words do not describe a naughty predilection. It just means that I love England and never more than last month when I spent a few days on the moors of the Peak District, Derbyshire, hiking with my friend Graham and spending huge sums of money on memorable, if hearty food. The reason I spent huge sums of money is that there is no other way to spend American dollars in England. Pausing between wind-swept vistas, where the sheep were so plentiful they had to be nudged aside as we walked, Graham and I toured a few shrines of old world empire such as the monumental country estate of the Duke of Devonshire, known as Chatsworth.
After feasting our eyes on the plunder, uh… treasure from all over the world collected — and nicely displayed it must be said — at this glorious estate surrounded by the Duke’s 65,000 square acres of green, green, green rolling meadows, streams, hills and dales, Graham and I headed to Chatworth’s tasteful lunch room for salmon, tea and cakes.
The latter (seen here) involved a delectable tribute to English culinary wisdom — containing at least 600 or so calories — called a “Bakewell Pudding.” Now Bakewell is a nearby, impossibly quaint hamlet, centuries old and built of venerable grey stone cottages. And its gift to the world is, by all accounts, a variety of dessert involving custard tucked into a flaky, buttery crust, with a bit of jam spread along the bottom. This is dessert before there was panna cotta, before there was cheesecake or lemon meringue pie. Before donuts. This is dessert to make a grown woman weep. Given that I was never going to be able to afford to return to this neck of the woods, I said “yes!” when offered the extra cholesterol incentive of clotted cream (the voluptuous cousin of butter) atop my already richer-than-Bill-Gates “pudding.”
Some things do not need improving. Ever. By anyone. The Bakewell Pudding is one of them.