The “Ploughman’s lunch” has been referred to in text as early as 1394 and at this time, it referred to a meal that included bread, cheese and of course, beer.
More recently in 1950s England, The Cheese Bureau began to advertise the Ploughman’s in pubs. War-time rationing had ceased and they were looking for a way to increase cheese sales. Together with bread, cheese and beer, a pickle was ingeniously added to the mix.
I highly recommend the Tasmanian Blue Banner pickled onions, below left. Nowhere else have I ever tried a better pickled onion!
As the popularity of this meal gained traction, it saw the addition of a hard-boiled egg and cold sausage.
Everyone will have their own interpretation of the Ploughman’s but in its modern context, above all, it is a meal to be shared.
Choose fresh bread, a favourite cured meat, cheese, and your favourite selection of relishes and pickles… Then add some fruit. A colourful presentation on a platter, it’s the best kind of make-your-own meal.
As an aside… one of my personal heroes, Ford Prefect, an alien travel-writer/field-researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, even comments on the Ploughman’s lunch as an important human experience should you choose to travel to the planet Earth.