Ploughman’s Tea

Cultural differences are funny. On a flight to Munich, the flight attendant asked me if I wanted a ploughman’s lunch or an afternoon tea. To me, tea is what you have with your lunch and ploughmen make no sense in the setup at all.

I chose ploughman’s because it sounded Ukrainian while tea was way too Russian. I couldn’t identify several ingredients of the ploughman’s but there was one thing there that was divine. It was called clotted cream. I detest it for being so good.

7 thoughts on “Ploughman’s Tea”

  1. Lol – these are common UK terms. The ploughmans lunch usually involves bread, cheese, chutney and an apple, a typical farm labourers portable midday meal. Slightly surprised you got clotted cream(delicious!)with it, as that normally accompanies a scone.
    Afternoon tea has more genteel roots, it starts from ladies with leisure time visiting each other to gossip, so the cakes and sandwiches would be small and pretty.


  2. Interesting you were going to Munich, both of those are traditional British meals. Ploughmans lunch is bread and cheese, pickles and other rural things. Able to be eaten outside, in your break from ploughing the fields. (Oddly, I associate clotted cream with tea – in Britain you have it on scones with jam.)

    Afternoon tea is rather more refined, and not very Ukrainian.


    1. I’m traveling from London on British Airways.

      They had this funny little thing that was a hard boiled egg in something meaty cut in half. Does anybody know what it is?


  3. Yup, that’s a scotch egg and it’s absolutely nothing to do with Scotland. The recipe originated either in Fortnum and Mason’s which is a very expensive and posh grocery store in London, or it came from India in the 19th century and somehow lost its spices on the voyage. It depends which fable you prefer.
    As for clotted cream, it’s real, whole, dairy cream from which has been very gently heated for many hours until it develops that unforgivably gorgeous texture. This originates from the English counties of Cornwall and/or Devon – I dare not state a preference for either county, battles between them have been waged over less! It is unusual for it to be served with ‘a Ploughmans’, as others have commented. The best way to eat it is with a warm scone (these probably did originate in Scotland) and sweet fruit jam, traditionally this should be made with whole strawberries, but my favourite is richer and slightly tart blackcurrant jam, which I make myself. This is known as a Cream Tea and has its own origins and etiquette –

    I’m sure this doesn’t help your slight confusion, the local food is a fascinating, complicated and contentious social issue in every county in the world! Do enjoy the Bavarian food, it’s certainly different from Berlin. x


    1. Oh yes, there was a scone and jam, too. I’m not into scones a lot because they are a bit too dry for me and I don’t like pastries anyway. The clotted cream was sweet. Is it supposed to be sweet? I thought it was more of a savory thing.

      There were also cheeses, cold cuts and smoked salmon. I guess these were what you’d call really posh ploughmen. :-)))


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