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Pork scratchings

557 of 1160 nominations


Pork scratchings

Is this an icon?


Pork scratchings

Rather like Marmite or Barry Manilow, pork scratchings are one of those commodities that tend to arouse strong opinions on either side of the debate. Known primarily as a salty snack sold in pubs, they consist of fragments of pork rind cooked until extremely hard and crunchy, and then salted. As our nominator states, they are considered by many to be the very best snack to accompany a pint of your favourite beer, a more sturdily sustaining mouthful than the flimsy potato crisp preferred by the Big Mac generation.

Pork scratchings seem to have originated somewhere in the Midlands (a Walsall theory has its supporters), although there are many different versions as to what was the original recipe. Variants on them were made in homes in the Victorian era, where they may have made a teatime treat served with bread and butter, but they only became a commercial product in the early part of the 20th century. They were initially sold by butchers, before becoming mass-produced in packets.

Tip: if you’re a scratchings fanatic, and you want to initiate a doubter into the taste for them, it helps to choose one that hasn’t still got the pig bristles attached to it. Those are only for the black belts among you.

Photo: Jason McAlister


Your comments

Still a pub favourite to go with a pint of beer.

Russell Hougham

Deep-fried pork-skin 'collops' are an ancient snack...they were carried by the archers of England and Wales during the 'French Wars' - we 'crunched' before Crecy, Poiteier and Agincourt! Unlike 'jerky' the 'scratchings' could not easily be reconstituted,unless slow-cooked; but they tasted much nicer and lasted for a long time if, kept dry. The word 'scratchings' refers to the remains, the bits left in the bag, that required some 'scrattin aboot' to get at them.
Johnathan Oswin

Whilst other countries have their pork-skin products, as shown on Pork Scratching World, there's nothing quite like the Midlands pork scratching. Increasingly available around the rest of the country, they are the low-carb alternative to crisps, whilst still being part of the beer-lover's diet, where 2 icons are brought together.
Mark Proctor

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

Ade Adeluwoye