ploughman's lunch pretty regularly. It's basically a deconstructed cheese sandwich: a hunk of cheese, a knob of rustic bread, sometimes some greens, sometimes some meat, a tangy pickle of sorts or some kind chutney-like condiment, and an apple. And a beer on the side. Imagine a kid's lunchbox, and it'd probably contain a lot of the same components. Well, except for the beverage. Here, four variations on a classic English ploughman's lunch. The English have been onto something for awhile: cheese and beer make superb partners in crime. But they're onto something else, too: the ability of simple cheese accompaniments to transform a group of disparate elements — a sweet (fruit), a sour (pickles, relish, or chutney), and a salty (cheese, meat)-- into a complete meal. Let us first deconstruct the standard components of what goes into this English pub staple:
- Cheese: Normally a hefty English cheese like a farmhouse cheddar, Caerphilly, Double Gloucester or Stilton.
- Bread: Crusty and rustic. Think not-sliced bread.
- Fruit: Typically an apple. Or sometimes a vegetable in the form of a simple salad.
- A Pickle of sorts: Pickles, something pickled, or a chutney.
- Meat: Nothing fancy, of the deli-sliced variety most usually, like ham. Or instead of meat, sometimes a hard-boiled egg for protein.
- Beer: English.