Greatest recipes ever: W.M.W Fowler’s tatie pot

‘W.M.W. “Willie” Fowler was an RAF bomber pilot, POW, and all-round bounder and cad. His only cookery book comes from the 1960s-a lost era, gastronomically speaking. His writing style is at once charming and shocking in these politically correct times. As well as the banter, there are some excellent recipes. Willie’s tatie pot piece makes some observations about politics and politicians that are uncannily apt in 2010′

Charles Campion

Tatie Pot

Extract from W. M. W. Fowler’s Countryman’s Cooking

Published by Excellent Press, Ludlow in 2006 (first published in 1965)

Take one medium-sized sheep (preferably somebody else’s) and reduce it to handy-sized pieces. Peel the sack of spuds that a local farmer gave you after you had been wondering, out loud, who had torn half Edith Entwhistle’s frock off at the last hop.

Skin and chop those two straps of onions that you pinched off his pole when that Breton onion-seller was in the bar last week. Cut up the black pudding that your dog nicked out of the back while the butcher was tinkering with the engine of the ramshackle old banger he euphemistically calls a Mobile Shop. You are now, in the vernacular, fit up.

Into the largest containers that will fit into your oven, put alternating layers of sliced potato, mutton and black pud. And onion. Scatter plenty of salt and pepper in as you go along. After all, you aren’t in business for fun and you want the lads to ‘git suppin’ again after t’tatie pot! Fill up with boiling water and put in the oven. Allow to simmer away for hours. In fact, some tatie-pot whallopers insist that it be cooked the day before and re-simmered on the day of the binge.

The Lancashire Hot Pot’s another variation on the theme. It is, I think, usually made with beef and has additional layers of carrot and sometimes turnip put in. In fact, unless you are going to feed it to a reactionary bunch of bucolic connoisseurs, you can put anything you like
in it.

Charles Campion is a food critic. His new book, Eat Up! Seeking out the best of British home cooking, is published by Kyle Cathie at £16.99