Writer reveals the classic dish that’s not really Lancashire

A food historian has written a book that might make you guess everything you know about county cuisine.

Emma Kay’s “Foots, Lonks and Wet Nellies: Lancashire Food and Drink” is a “historical odyssey” exploring traditional recipes and key culinary innovations that have emerged in Lancashire over the centuries.

While Emma is from Worcester, her husband has Lancashire ties.

Emma, ​​51, said: “My husband is from Lancashire and a large part of his large family live in the Fylde district which we visit regularly.

“I have become very fond of the county and think its diverse history and stunning landscapes are inspiring.”

The book rejoices in some of the foods and treats Lancashire has given the world, including Jelly Babies, Vimto, Foxes biscuits, Fisherman’s Friends, even Atora suet.

During her research, Emma discovered many interesting facts about Lancashire dishes and cuisine that locals may not know.

She said: ‘One of the oldest cookbooks in the country dating to the first half of the 1400s, better known as Liber Cure Cocorum or the Book of Culinary Arts, is attributed to Lancashire.

“The dialect of vocabulary was identified with that of the region during this period.”

Emma Kay, author of “Foots, Lonks and Wet Nellies: Lancashire Food and Drink”

She also said Blackpool rock may have been first invented just down the road in Morecambe.

She said: “Blackpool rock was probably first invented in Morecambe by a man named ‘Dynamite’ Dick Taylor, who sold his rock in the town in the early 1900s.

“He inserted the letters TNT (Taylor’s Noted Toffees) into the rock itself.

“Whiskey was also once made commercially on a large scale in Manchester, Bolton and Liverpool and the illicit county trade was rampant in the Haslingden and Blackburn areas.”

She also uncovered stories of “hidden gems” from history, including a royal connection to a Lancashire town famed for its gingerbread.

Emma said: ‘King Edward VII regularly bought gingerbread from Sally Fyles in Ormskirk, who came from a long line of gingerbread sellers in the town.

However, proud local foodies might also be put off by some of Emma’s research as she explores how some ‘classic’ dishes, such as the Lancashire hot pot, might not have originated in the county.

She said: “Some readers might be disappointed to learn that hot pot is a medieval dish, which was known across the country long before Lancashire adopted the phrase.

“In its early days, it was actually a hot brandy and sugar drink known to Londoners.

“The name ‘hotchpot’ appears frequently as a stew of meat and/or vegetables in many medieval cookbooks.

“It was not until the 17th century that fondue was first made with lamb or beef and the dish most likely became associated with Lancashire in the 19th century when ‘hot pots’ of food which were brought to parents working in the mills, to support them throughout the day.

“Those who think black pudding belongs to the county should also be prepared for the fact that it dates back to the Roman Empire which was famous for its blood sausages.”

Foots, Lonks and Wet Nellies: Lancashire Food and Drink is available for purchase from major booksellers and via Emma’s website at: www.museumofkitchenalia.com