A bowl of Eton mess
|Place of origin:|
|Strawberries, meringue, cream|
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Eton mess is a traditional English dessert consisting of a mixture of strawberries, pieces of meringue, and cream, which is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against the pupils of Harrow School. The dish has been known by this name since the 19th century. According to Recipes from the Dairy (1995) by Robin Weir, who spoke to Eton College's librarian, Eton mess was served in the 1930s in the school's "sock shop" (tuck shop), and was originally made with either strawberries or bananas mixed with ice-cream or cream. Meringue was a later addition, and may have been an innovation by Michael Smith, the author of Fine English Cookery (1973). An Eton mess can be made with many other types of summer fruit, but strawberries are regarded as more traditional. A similar dessert is the Lancing mess, served throughout the year at Lancing College in West Sussex, England.
The word mess may refer to the appearance of the dish, or may be used in the sense of "a quantity of food", particularly "a prepared dish of soft food" or "a mixture of ingredients cooked or eaten together". A recent myth is that Eton mess was first created when a meringue dessert was accidentally crushed by a dog while travelling to picnic at Eton College, but what could be salvaged was served as a crushed meringue with strawberries and cream.
- Arthur Henry Beavan (1896). Marlborough House and Its Occupants: Present and Past. p. 162
- Weir, Robin; Caroline Liddell & Peter C. D. Brears (1995). Recipes from the Dairy. London: National Trust. ISBN 0-7078-0243-1.
- Blumenthal, Heston (2005-02-05). "The appliance of science : Another fine mess". The Guardian.
- Blumenthal, Heston (2003-06-28). "No messing". The Guardian.
- Smith, Michael (1973). Fine English Cookery. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-10349-9. See Dupleix, Jill (2004-06-03). "Eton mess : Strawberries and cream make a superb summer pudding for lazy, hazy days". London: The Times.
- A recipe by Heston Blumenthal, for instance, uses bananas: see Blumenthal, Heston (2006-02-12). "Eton mess : Look, no berries – this Eton mess is a crispy, creamy, zingy heap of a treat". London: The Sunday Times.
- See, for instance, "Menu 3" (PDF). Lancing College. p. 3. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
- "mess". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-11-25. The Oxford English Dictionary defines mess as "[a] serving of food; a course; a meal; a prepared dish of a specified kind of food." or "[a] portion or serving of liquid or pulpy food such as milk, broth, porridge, boiled vegetables, etc.": Simpson, John, ed. (March 2002). "mess, n.". OED Online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
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