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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Ploughman's Lunch (or Dinner)

The only exotic travel my husband and I have ever taken was our honeymoon. We visited England and Scotland. The tickets for the flight were a wedding gift and my newly-minted spouse and I found cheap lodgings and meals for the trip.

In looking for inexpensive eats, we ventured into the pubs. The best deal was the Ploughman's Lunch. My husband and I would find a quiet corner of the pub to sit for a spell (we were sight-seeing for hours each day) and split a plate of ploughman's. In its most basic form, ploughman's lunch is bread, cheese, butter, pickled onions, and a piccallili relish or chutney. In our experience, the lunch was served with fresh apples in some pubs and fresh tomatoes in others. Boiled eggs or cold meat were also available as extras. In all pubs, the entire meal was served cold and sort of do-it-yourself style -- break off a bit of the hunk of bread, slice off a knob of cheese, dab on some relish and enjoy. 

I understand that now there's something called a Posh Ploughman's -- more along the lines of a bread, meat and cheese platter to put out for gatherings. Not at all what my husband and I enjoyed.

When I'm working, I often make myself a ploughman's style lunch -- slice some bread and cheese, add some butter, and wash an apple. 

Last night, dinner was very rushed. Time got away from me and I needed to throw together a quick meal. I sliced up homemade bread, cut up some cheese, made apple wedges, added butter and pickles, plus some leftover cooked greens and rhubarb gelatin. I called this  Ploughman's Dinner. It was not only fast to make but had virtually no clean-up except the cutting board and a knife. Dinner was tasty, made with simple, wholesome foods, and a heck of a lot cheaper than take-out. A winner all around.

I can see how this would make a good lunch for a workman, as it's quick to make, relatively balanced, highly portable, and depending on the quantity of cheese and bread, this could be quite filling. Have you enjoyed ploughman's lunch before? Anyone remember piccalilli relish?


  1. I really like this idea! All winter, my daughter and I have been eating all kinds of soups but now that the weather is warming up we need to move into something cooler to eat. This might just fit the bill. She won't eat grapes or dried fruits so I'll have to find something else to add to the plate. A nice crusty bread with butter and cheese, apples, maybe carrot sticks, hard salami or deli meat rolled up, pickles. The ideas are endless!

    1. Hi Alice,
      it makes a nice change from the usual and it's easy to pull together. I'm planning on doing something similar about once or twice per week through summer. I hope you find this a nice change of pace, too!

  2. Yes, years ago my friend and I went to Great Britain and one of my favorite meals was a Ploughman's Lunch. I've made various versions of it over the years but have never made it for supper. It would be perfect for, say, tonight at my house, but hubby came up with dinner instead, since it was a busy day at work for me. Did you find that the bread you had there is hard to duplicate in the US? I've never quite been able to make it the way I remember it tasting.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm thrilled that someone else has heard of this! Hmmm, I remember the bread being hard and crusty, like a roll. I don't recall any particular taste, but them again, that was a really long time ago. I wonder what tastes different to you? I also wonder if it's the yeast? A different variety?
      Anyways, my family was happy with my own ordinary bread. Sorry, I'm not much help on the bread.

  3. I love those types of meals. It seems exotic and satisfying. My hubs, on the other hand, prefers something hearty. Although, I have to say that the older we get, the less "hearty" he is eating. Your photo made me hungry!

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I love simple meals like these. You know, I feel like eating less of the super filling foods, myself as I grow older. Maybe it's because we've had years of casseroles and just want something lighter. Perhaps a Ploughman's lunch will work into your plans sometime soon.

    Quite similar to this, which I’ve been making versions of for a while. Excellent way to pull off a balanced meal in a pinch with minimal effort!

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      Thank you for that link. The Oslo Meal looks a lot like Ploughman's lunch. It goes to show that you don't need to make anything complicated to satisfy nutrition and hunger.

  5. The idea of ploughman's lunch being "exotic" really makes me laugh! (English, by the way).
    I love your blog.

    1. Yes, same here SallyC! that ploughman's is exotic, being English, and loving this blog!

    2. Hi Sally,
      It does sound funny, doesn't it? Like saying a pbj or tuna casserole is exotic. Better put -- just different from how many Americans think of dinner.
      Thank you for reading, here. I'm glad you enjoy my blog.

    3. Hi Mumfypat,
      Thank you for reading my blog. And I'm so glad that you find it appealing.


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