Lardy Cake

Tis neither superstition not science, but it makes for a damn fine ghoulish story. Our beloved natural treasure, Sir David Attenboroug, he of Planet Earth fame, bought a piece of land that used to belong to the “Hole and Wall” pub adjacent to his London home with the intention of turning it into an orchard and garden. During the excavation, the builders discovered a skull that belonged to (or should I say was) Mrs Thomas, a widow in her 50’s who was murdered 132-years ago.

Mrs Thomas was murdered by Kate Webster who pushed her employer down the stairs, strangled her and chopped her body up and then boiled it down. That’s gruesome enough, but in true Sweeny Todd style, a few days after the murder, some boys said that Kate Webster had offered them some food and she said ‘ere you lads I’ve got some good pigs lard which you can have for free’. The boys ate two bowls of lard which was unfortunately Mrs Thomas. Eeeeuggh.

I recently tried Lardy Cake which originates from close by in Wiltshire. It is made from rendered lard, flour, sugar and spices. It was quite tasty but then I did not realize it was made with animal fat. Following the story of Mrs Thomas, I don’t think I will be eating it again.

6 Comments

Filed under In the News, Weird Story of the Week

6 responses to “Lardy Cake

  1. I did not take you for the squeamish type, Bruce! It would take a lot more than that story to put me off my lardy cake.

  2. brucehood

    Hmm. Human lard? That is beyond even my boundary

  3. Rox

    Lardy cake is delicious, and truly regional, while not being commercialised as a regional delicacy. Having lived in and near London, I discovered it in Wiltshire when I was 23, and found that it was somewhat different in Bath, and again (where found) in Oxfordshire. It is interesting to know that it presumably hasn’t spread much from Bath westwards, even now.

    You could argue that rendered fat is just made up of identical chemical molecules no matter where they come from. Not that I think most people would, in these circumstances. However, in Calne, Wiltshire, there used to be a company (now completely closed down) which had a byproducts department, which brought in intestines from the slaughterhouse in Salisbury (unrefrigerated) once a week. All this, including the contents of the intestines when the various animals died, and the maggots etc which had been feeding on them, was rendered (they might have said “purified”) to make a product for human consumption. As the company’s main products were made from pigs, the product was somewhat optimistically sold in little packages as “pork dripping”, in such a way that the strong implication was that your friendly local straw-hatted butcher had made it himself with loving care and so you knew what was in it. Needless to say perhaps, I was working there as a student, and I know very well what went on.

  4. Rox

    Incidentally (way off topic but amusing, delete it if you don’t like it) there was a packing department which had been given the rule “Everything sent to an island must go in a wooden crate”. I pointed out to the men that, although it is an island, Anglesey had very serviceable road and rail bridges so the precaution was not really necessary for Anglesey. Of course, they knew this perfectly well ….. But rules is rules .

  5. Had the remains of her body already been recovered?

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