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Jam Roly-Poly

758 of 1160 nominations

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Jam Roly-Poly

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Jam Roly-Poly

One of those creations that has us all harking back to school dinners or family Sundays, jam roly-poly seems to be an early 19th-century invention. The phrase itself probably derives from nursery rhymes to denote a plump little figure, usually a child. As a pudding, it is mentioned by the novelist Thackeray, and appears in Isabella Beeton’s great cookery book of 1861, as Roly-Poly Jam Pudding. All you need, advises Mrs Beeton, is three-quarters of a pound each of suet pastry and jam, and good rolling technique.

The suet is what gives the pastry that pallid look and stodgy texture. For the true roly-poly experience, the pudding is served directly from the oven, while the jam is still almost radioactively hot, and draped with a blanket of custard. It’s warming winter food, not at all the sort of thing you’d want to eat in high summer, as it sinks on to the stomach like a comforting lead weight. According to the narrator of E Nesbit’s The Woodbegoods (1901), “Jam roly gives you a peaceful feeling and you do not at first care if you never play any runabout game ever any more.” Quite so.

NOMINATION 758 OF 1160

Your comments

It warms you up on a cold day, makes you feel better when you're hungover, and is as traditional as fish and chips!

Lisa Duffy


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I believe rice, peas and jerk chicken is an Icon of England.

Ade Adeluwoye

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