There comes a time in every young woman’s life when the ol’ blog well dries up, and blog posts veer into bottom-of-the-barrel territory.
This is not one of those moments. Because today, I am fully disclosing crumpets in all their British gastronomic glory! Certainly this warrants a resounding “Huzzah!” from the peanut gallery – that’s you, my faithful reader. And yes, I use “reader” (singular) on purpose.
Warmly described as jolly good tea party or brunch fare, the crumpet is a moist, rather doughy cousin of the American English Muffin. Please note that nary an English Muffin can be found in England or its Kingdom counterparts – a puzzling subject for another blog post altogether. Let’s not get too overwhelmed with our cultural breads here.
Crumpets are round, similar in texture to the English Muffin, but spongier and porous with bubbles. Wikipedia likes to compare their texture to North American pancakes, but I have my own beliefs. They are further explained as savory griddle cakes born of flour and yeast.
Preparing a crumpet is an elementary matter, and unless you have a sordid history with toasters, I can recommend the following procedure:
1. Select a crumpet or two from the bag by first removing the twisty tie or that hard plastic bit that serves the same purpose. If dealing with the latter, please note that it is physically impossible to do this without snapping the hard plastic bit in at least two pieces.
2. Insert crumpet(s) into toaster. Select the slightly-less-than-charred or corresponding numeric setting. Depress the lever. You know, the toaster lever.
3. Wait in slobbering anticipation. Beginners, wear a bib as a precautionary drool catcher.
4. After the toaster has launched the crumpets from its fiery coils, smear them liberally with Lurpak (that’s butter, y’all). The butter, by the way, is mandatory. I hate to cite Wikipedia again, but this just slays me:
“The butter may be omitted, but a phrase very commonly associated with crumpets is ‘dripping with butter’.”
I love the rather ominous undertones of that warning – that perhaps the omission of butter might upset the linguistic balance of British life as we know it.
Which it indeed might.
So don’t skip the butter.
You now have a glorious (dripping) buttered canvas for all sorts of sweet spreads. I recommend strawberry jam, but I hear Nutella is divine (but hey, Nutella is delicious even on Doritos).
According to modern British lore, a mysterious edible lubricant called Marmite is often used at this stage of crumpet prep. Again, I’ll save this 8th World Wonder for another blog post.
I hate to spoil all the thrilling build-up, but I keep circuiting back to one word describing the crumpet flavor experience: juicy.
Okay. Juicy isn’t exactly a flavor, but it’s a word central to the crumpet experience that sets it apart from any American breakfasty bread thing I can think of. Juicy.
And it tastes a bit like French Toast. Just a hint of it, but saltier.
And here’s some slang to share with your posse: the word “crumpet” is sometimes used to refer to an attractive woman, often as the phrase “a bit of crumpet.” Saucy, eh?
In the hopes that my single-reader fan base will one day explode exponentially, I can’t explicitly recommend using that term in your daily dialogue this week. I can’t have anyone issuing blog-suits on me for recommending saucy language. Or juicy language, even. But there you go.
*Crumpets enlarged to show texture.