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Ploughman's Lunch - What is a Ploughman's Lunch


Ploughman's lunch with pint of stout
Ian O'Leary/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Question: Ploughman's Lunch - What is a Ploughman's Lunch

Go into almost any British pub for a taste of British food and you are likely to see a Ploughman's Lunch on the menu, but what is a Ploughman's Lunch? Most certainly, it is not for the fainthearted as it can often contain cheese, meats, pickles, sometimes even a slice of meat pie as well as bread. Always ask what's on offer before ordering.

Answer: A ploughman's lunch does exactly what it says on the tin, it was a lunch packed for a ploughman to take out into the fields for his lunch. Just where the name or contents of a Ploughmans comes from has been lost in the mists of time though there are records of it mentioned in 18th century literature.

What is in a Ploughman's Lunch?
A basic Ploughman's is crusty bread, cheese plus pickled onions and chutney but this can vary considerably and it may also contain a selection of cold meats, ham, maybe a slice of pate and/or a slice of pork pie, sometimes slices of apple or other seasonal fruit. Traditionally the cheese, bread and pickles would be home-made by the ploughman's wife - making it a cheap and substantial lunch. Today, a good Ploughman's will be cheeses of the region and at the very least British; the same for the meats and other accompaniments. The bread must be a thick wedge of crusty bread or a baguette, anything less will not hold up when piled high with cheese, chutney and pickles.

And to drink ...in a pub it must be a pint of the local beer or cider.

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