We’re governed by mice, aren’t we?

Spotted dick has long been a source of amusement for diners – but now seems to be so much so that waiters in the Houses of Parliament dare not say the name of the pudding out loud.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that staff working in Strangers’ Dining Room, the 19th-century restaurant used by MPs to entertain guests, have resorted to using the name “Spotted Richard” in order to spare the clientele their blushes.

Four staff waiting on tables in the restaurant confirmed the name change when approached last night. They were less forthcoming when asked for an explanation, stating only that “Richard” was less likely to cause a stir with guests.

However, the rebrand appears to have had the opposite of the desired effect, with Strangers’ regulars taking to social media yesterday to brand the change “very silly”.

That they’ve not risen up en masse and hanged the catering manager responsible from the clapper of Big Ben shows they are mice, not men.

20 comments on “We’re governed by mice, aren’t we?

  1. The pudding that dare not speak its name.

    Where is Peter Tatchell when you need him? In a Russian chokey. Typical.

  2. Was the person who complained that it was “very silly”, from the silly party, or the slightly silly party?

  3. What’s the problem. Why not call it what it is? Fruit suet pudding? Which is what I call it in Spanish for people who are clueless about both Richards & Dicks. Although “suet” tends to be a problem in a country, butchers chuck it in the bin, no-one knowing anything else to do with it. Gresa doesn’t quite cut it, does it?

  4. Incidentally, I’ve got some real fans of English cuisine, here. Cauliflower cheese, steak & kidney pud, toad-in-the-hole, cornish pasties, roast pork with apple sauce, sage & onion stuffing & of course, the full english. Granny’s recipe for bread pud’s a real favourite.
    Any other suggestions?

  5. In the original 1849 recipe, the alternative name given was ‘Plum Bolster’ I hear. That might work.

    I note that the staf didn’t explain the reason for the name change – the idea that it’s to spare blushes is pure speculation. It might alternatively been a joky way to present a ‘we’re so posh we call it spotted richard avec creme anglaise’ image. Or it might even have been a publicity stunt, to get people to go and ask for it because they’d heard about the fuss. It certainly got people talking. Who knows?

    And if we’re going to hang people just for using the wrong name for things…

  6. Will Cock-a-leekie be renamed to save the blushes of the urinary incontinent one wonders?

  7. A nation whose leaders(in reality the leaders CM infested menu-planning twats) haven’t got the balls to hear the word “dick” is a nation in real trouble.

  8. BIS

    “Incidentally, I’ve got some real fans of English cuisine, here. Cauliflower cheese, steak & kidney pud, toad-in-the-hole, cornish pasties, roast pork with apple sauce, sage & onion stuffing & of course, the full english. Granny’s recipe for bread pud’s a real favourite.
    Any other suggestions?”

    Lancashire hot pot, corned beef hash, bubble and squeak,bangers and mash, chicken tikka masala…….

  9. Am amazed, given the health police propaganda, that people eat spotted dick these days. Even I regard it (steak and kidney/treacle puddings) as a once a year treat.

  10. When I was a boy the word we all used was “cock”. When did “dick” replace it? I assume it’s the influence of those American dicks?

  11. BiS

    Shepherd’s Pie?

    (the French european equivalent really isn’t the same at all)

  12. @ dearieme
    The pudding was called “spotted dick” in my youth (which probably overlapped with yours), so it didn’t have the overtones that might have fitted “toad in the hole”..

  13. “Where is Peter Tatchell when you need him? In a Russian chokey.”

    Is “a Russian chokey” a place where Putin’s thugs lock people up, or a sexual position?

    Just asking, for a friend.

  14. Mr in Spain, pea and English ham* soup. Maybe with mint and a wodge of sour cream. Syllabub. Decent cheddar. Chicken pie, made with cream. Scones, cheese with mustard, or the sweet ones to be eaten with jam and clotted cream. Oxtail, stewed in beer with leeks, onions and carrots. Eton mess.

    * of the better variety.

  15. @bloke in spain, June 15, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I’m happy to send you Fray Bentos pies and HP Sauce if any takers.

    Cheers

  16. “Getting worried, NiV..?”

    Just noting the heavy irony.

    “When I was a boy the word we all used was “cock”. When did “dick” replace it? I assume it’s the influence of those American dicks?”

    As in “Wotcha, cock!”?

  17. “the 19th-century restaurant used by MPs to entertain guests,”

    Wouldn’t most of these guest be from the UK – and thus familiar (to the point of contempt) with ‘spotted dick’?

    I mean, as an American I might have a quiet snigger when its mentioned, but not to the point that I would need it renamed ‘to avoid embarrassment’ when ordering.

  18. “Wouldn’t most of these guest be from the UK – and thus familiar (to the point of contempt) with ‘spotted dick’?”

    Yes. English people enjoy the joke, and there has never been a problem with it that I know of. I doubt there’s a problem with it now. If someone started calling it “spotted richard” in front of me I’d automatically assume they intended that humorously. But it’s a complex joke operating on multiple levels, with a lot of English cultural references, and so quite hard to explain.

    The idea is that you only use euphemisms to replace something rude, and so by using a euphemism where none is needed, you draw attention towards the double entendre. You also draw attention to the fact that *you* spotted it (so you obviously have a dirty mind), and that you’re the sort of person who tries to hide it (and hence hypocritical).

    There’s an English stereotype of snobbish social climbers that they do this – go to ridiculous lengths to avoid using crude or lower-class language – and some comedy imitates the habit, exaggerating it. “He’s so posh he calls the gym, ‘the James’.” “My girlfriend’s father is so posh, he calls Roger Daltrey’s old band ‘The Whom’.” etc.

    People who work serving food in restaurants are rarely posh themselves, but in up-market venues they quite often pretend to be for the customers. Smart uniforms, rigid protocol, exquisitely correct table etiquette and exaggeratedly servile manner. It’s all part of the show. And I can well imagine some catering manager thinking it would make an amusing gimmick.

    But there are lots of people in the world who are totally incapable of spotting complex irony, so such humour used in a public setting can easily backfire.

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